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Doctors Find Managed Care Frustrating

Almost all doctors participate in at least one managed care plan, and many have concerns about their ability to offer high-quality care, a survey indicates.

“Although the goals of managed care - providing quality of care and preventive services at reasonable costs - remain promising, the survey finds a high level of frustration among physicians,” the Commonwealth Fund said in a statement this week releasing the results of the 1995 survey.

About 87 percent of doctors surveyed were in at least one health maintenance organization or other managed care plan. HMOs and other plans pay doctors less money but guarantee them a patient base, and they provide care for three of four Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance.

The survey found:

38 percent of doctors said they had less control over making decisions for patients than they did three years earlier.

41 percent said they were spending less time with patients than they did three years ago. Seven percent said they spent more time.

One in 10 said he or she had a financial incentive not to refer patients to specialists.

The survey also found that about 38 percent of doctors with at least half their patients in managed care were not satisfied with the amount of time they had with patients. Eighteen percent of those with no managed care patients said the same.

Researchers noted that only about half of the doctors contacted for the survey participated, which may have skewed the results.


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