NEW MEDICAL RESIDENT EXIT SURVEY REVEALS ALARMING DECLINE IN TH0SE CHOOSING NEW JERSEY
Data Shows Projected Physician Shortage May be Worse Than
Workforce Study Unveiled in January Indicated
TRENTON – The 2009 report of the “Resident Exit Survey” prepared annually by the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals (NJCTH) shows a precipitous decline in the number of graduating medical residents who are choosing to practice in New Jersey. The new data would seem to further erode New Jersey’s physician pool and underscores a projected shortfall of 2,800 physician shortage predicted by a 2-year study released earlier this year by the Council. The Council is now projecting a shortfall of 3,250 physicians.
“This year’s exit survey is alarming,” said J. Richard Goldstein, MD, President and CEO of the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals. “Previous exit surveys have consistently shown that New Jersey’s resident retention rate is lower than many states, hovering around 50% for graduating residents that intend to go into private practice. When the 2008 rate slipped to 47%, we were concerned, but last year we reached an alarming point where only 32%, less than one in every three residents, intend to establish a practice in New Jersey. Hopefully this will serve as clarion call for collaborative action by public policy makers and the leadership of our medical schools and teaching hospitals.”
The 2009 Resident Exit Survey showed that New Jersey “took a significant step backwards in its efforts to retain physicians post graduation as they make choices on where they will establish their medical practice.” The report revealed that 62 percent of the respondents planned to leave New Jersey upon completion of training to establish their medical practice in another state. This represents a 15 percent decline in the state’s retention efforts in just one year.
The new survey indicates that over the next ten years, the 15 percent decline will translate into 450 fewer physicians in the New Jersey physician workforce than projected in the 2009 New Jersey Physician Workforce Report, the landmark report which demonstrated New Jersey is facing significant future shortages in both primary care and several specialty areas. The shortfall had been projected to be over 2,800, however this was based on a 47 percent retention rate. The 15 percent drop now translates into a 3,250 physician shortfall if the trend is not reversed.
“The primary driving force responsible for the dramatic decline in New Jersey is that other states are now stepping up their recruitment efforts to deal with their own shortages,” explained Dr. Goldstein. “To put it simply: Their offers are better than ours. Richer loan repayment programs, better Medicaid rates, caps on pain and suffering, lower tax burdens, prompter pay laws for HMOs, less red tape. Other states have rolled out the welcome carpet. This slippage is ominous.”
The NJCTH, with the assistance of its Academic Affairs Council and the cooperative efforts of teaching hospitals in the state, conducted a survey of all physicians in New Jersey completing a residency or fellowship training program in early 2009. The goal was to provide the medical education community and health policy stakeholders with useful information on the demand for new physicians and the outcomes of training. The survey instrument was developed by the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University of Albany, State University of New York.
Other findings in the 2009 Resident Exit Survey included:
Overall, the job market for new physicians in New Jersey still appears to be good.
✓ In 2009, only 3 percent of the respondents who had actively searched for a practice position had not received any job offers at the time the survey was completed.
✓ While just over one-fourth (27 percent) of the respondents reported some difficulty finding a satisfactory practice position, only 4 respondents attributed their difficulty to an overall lack of jobs. About one-third (34 percent) attributed their difficulty to a lack of jobs in desired locations.
✓ Fifty-seven percent (57 percent) of the respondents expected their base salary during the first year of practice to be $160,000 or more, and residents generally report being satisfied with their anticipated salary/compensation.
New Jersey relies heavily on other states and countries to train needed physicians.
✓ One-third of respondents lived in another state upon graduation from high school.
✓ Forty-four percent (44 percent) of respondents indicated they graduated high school in another country.
✓ Twenty-seven percent (27 percent) of survey respondents attended medical school in another state and 59 percent attended medical school in another country.