The Doctors Have Left The Building…


The network My9NJ reported from Neptune, New Jersey and said, “New Jersey is experiencing a shortage of doctors.” It’s no mild shortage, either. It’s projected that by 2020 the state will be short about 3,000 primary care physicians.

So where are all the doctors?
According to Deborah Briggs, the President and CEO of the Council of Teaching Hospitals, 70% of the doctors that New Jersey educates leave to work in other states. This is a serious outlier given the national average of a 48% retention rate.

Why are docs fleeing the Garden State?
The Council of Teaching Hospitals, as well as a nationwide study done by Merritt Hawkins, conclude that New Jersey isn’t competitive when it comes to retaining doctors in state. The top five reasons for their departure are:

– Better salary offers outside of New Jersey
– High cost of living in New Jersey
– Better job/practice opportunities in desired locations outside of New Jersey
– Taxes in New Jersey
– Affordable Housing

Assemblywoman Amy Handlin and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande held a meeting and invited doctors, residents, hospital managers, and specialists to gather at Jersey Shore Medical Center. They discussed New Jersey’s doctor drain. The room also added to the list malpractice insurance issues as a reason for the doc shortage, explaining that it’s too expensive to start a practice in New Jersey, and that it’s not worth the risk if patients can sue a doctor personally for $10-$20 million.

How does this shortage compare nationwide?
According to AAMC findings, projections indicate the U.S. will be short 90,000 physicians, in ANY SPECIALTY, not just primary care. And according to Health News, “Fewer than 25 percent of new doctors in the United States go into primary care, and only about 5 percent open offices in rural areas…” Overall, the U.S. as a whole is going to face shortages of docs even if the doctors stayed put. The fact that New Jersey PRIMARY CARE physicians are fleeing doesn’t bode well for the state.

Any docs practicing direct care in New Jersey?
We’re looking for insight into the policies affecting direct care in the state of New Jersey. Given these predictions, we’re wondering if this will create an opportunity for direct care to thrive in the state. Let us know.