Objective: To provide a more detailed evaluation of the attitudes and opinions of Connecticut's primary-care physicians, the practice environment in which care is provided, and how the evolving practice environment might affect the availability and quality of medical care in the state.
Methods: Primary-care physicians affiliated with the Connecticut Chapter of the American College of Physicians (n = 1088), the Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (n = 699), and the Connecticut Academy of Family Physicians (n = 376) were invited to participate in a brief online survey. Participation was limited to physicians who were actively engaged in primary-care medicine.
Results: Four hundred ninety-eight primary-care physicians practicing in Connecticut completed the survey resulting in an overall response rate of 23%. Primary-care physicians in Connecticut were generally satisfied with their careers in medicine, although 20% of respondents reported contemplating a career change because of the practice environment in the state. Statistically significant differences in satisfaction among primary-care specialists were observed, with pediatricians expressing greater satisfaction relative to family physicians and internists with hours worked, the Connecticut malpractice environment, level of administrative burden, income, and overall satisfaction. Analyses seeking to account for the greater levels of satisfaction among pediatricians relative to family physicians and internists identified income as a key explanatory factor. Problems related to access to care were also identified, with 23% of primary-care physicians reporting that they were not accepting new patients, and wait time for routine office visits for existing patients averaged 13.4 days.
Conclusion: These data, combined with information from the US Census Bureau and the state licensure database, indicate that the potential new patient load tied to expanded insurance coverage under health reform may place a significant burden on primary-care physicians in Connecticut's urban areas and could overwhelm physicians in rural communities.