Efforts Continue To Encourage Doctors To Stay In Michigan

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

June 13, 2007

LANSING-More than a quarter of Michigan physicians in training say they plan to stay in Michigan, while another 42 percent remain undecided, according to the most recent results of the 2006 Michigan Department of Community Health's (MDCH) Survey of Physicians.

The survey-conducted annually-also contains new information on resident physicians who are recent medical school graduates completing their medical specialty training.

Physicians in residency programs were asked about their plans following completion of their residency and responded as follows:

- Approximately 26 percent said they plan to stay in Michigan; 30 percent plan to move to another state; and 42 percent have not yet decided.

- 69 percent say they have not yet started their job search.

- 55 percent say they plan to enter a partnership or group practice; 20 percent plan to do further subspecialty training.

For those planning to move away from Michigan, a "desire to be closer to family" and "weather" are the factors reported most often as contributing to this decision, followed by "entertainment/recreational opportunities," "job opportunities for spouse/partner," and "economic outlook of the state", the survey indicates.

"We know from the survey data that about 66 percent of physicians in graduate medical training programs did not grow up in Michigan," said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. "We also know that 26 percent of them attended a medical school in Michigan. It is important that we continue to educate medical students and residents about the benefits of practicing in Michigan."

Keeping those physicians in Michigan is a priority, according to AppaRao Mukkamala, M.D., president of the Michigan State Medical Society, a professional association representing 15,000 physicians.

"Physicians in medical training programs play a critical role in the current delivery of patient care," Mukkamala said, "and they are key to meeting the demand for physicians in Michigan in the future." MSMS has predicted a 6,000 physician shortage by 2020, according to its 2005 survey.

The 69 percent of interns and residents who have not started their job search yet present an enormous opportunity," said Anne Rosewarne, President of the Michigan Health Council and Director of the Michigan Center for Health Professions.

"We know that physicians are likely to set up practice in the geographic area where they do their residency," Rosewarne added. Survey results show that 56 percent of our active physicians did a residency in Michigan. We want to make sure we encourage our current medical residents to stay in Michigan, as well."

The MDCH survey data provide a snapshot of where physicians practice and also what they practice, asserts Dr. Susan Sevensma, D.O., president of the Michigan Osteopathic Association.

"Comparing survey data from 2005 and 2006, the percent of active physicians indicating that they practice in a primary care specialty decreased by six percent," Sevensma said. "The average of both years' data falls below the minimum percentage of primary care physicians that health care planners say is necessary to operate an efficient health care delivery system. These data can help us determine where Michigan is non-competitive and where changes need to be made."

Earlier this year, the Practice Michigan Advisory Council was formed to promote Michigan as a great place to live and practice for physicians and those considering medical school as a vocation.

The Council includes the four Michigan medical schools, regional graduate medical education consortiums, the Michigan State Medical Society, the Michigan Osteopathic Association, the Michigan Recruitment and Retention Network, the Michigan Health Council and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The first initiative will familiarize residents with Michigan from coast to coast and help them get involved with activities outside of their training. The group also holds regional resident receptions to highlight local communities and job opportunities.

Another career resource for residents is Medical Opportunities in Michigan (MOM), a website listing medical positions within Michigan. MOM (www.mimom.org) was developed by the Michigan Health Council for Michigan hospitals and practices to promote their opportunities. Currently MOM lists more than 500 physician opportunities.

The Michigan Department of Community Health Survey of Physicians 2006 also includes data on Michigan physicians' employment characteristics, practice specialty, time spent providing patient care, practice capacity, plans to continue practice, education background, professional activities, use of computer technology, gender, and racial/ethnic background. For the first time, the annual survey also collected information from physicians entering their second or third year of a residency in Michigan. Other key findings include:

- 66 percent (about 24,500) of physicians fully licensed in Michigan are providing patient care services in Michigan. Another three percent are working as a physician in Michigan but spend no time in patient care. The remaining 31 percent are retired or working outside of Michigan.

- Residents spend 66 hours per week providing patient care; but 25 percent of these physicians spend more than 80 hours per week providing direct patient care.

- 47 percent of fully licensed physicians who are providing patient care report that their practice is nearly full and they can accept only a few new patients; another 16 percent report that their practice is full.

- 34 percent of active physicians indicate that they plan to practice medicine for only one to 10 more years.

Additional details on the physician workforce are contained in the full report, Michigan Department of Community Health Survey of Physicians 2006, available online at www.michigan.gov/healthcareworkforcecenter under Licensee Surveys.