Managed care and primary physician satisfaction

David Grembowski, Cornelia M Ulrich, David Paschane, Paula Diehr, Wayne Katon, Diane Martin, Donald L Patrick, Christine Velicer
Journal of the American Board of Family Practice 2003, 16 (5): 383-93

BACKGROUND: We examined whether physician compensation, financial incentives, and care management tools were associated with primary physician job and referral satisfaction. Our study was guided by a conceptual model of physician satisfaction derived from published evidence.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was performed of 495 primary physicians (family practitioners, general practitioners, general internists) in the Seattle metropolitan area in 1997.

RESULTS: Bivariate analyses revealed that salary compensation, productivity bonuses, and withholds for referrals were associated with job and referral dissatisfaction. However, after controlling for physician, practice, and office characteristics, only the association between salary payment and job dissatisfaction remained significant. Practice in offices with more physicians had the strongest association with physician job dissatisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS: Although managed care features are correlated with physician job and referral dissatisfaction, the source of dissatisfaction may originate from being an employed physician in a large medical group with more physicians, which may be more likely to impose bureaucratic controls that limit physician autonomy.

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