Why Addressing Physician Burnout Is Key to Increasing Pennsylvania’s Health Care Workforce

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2019

Powers-public-hearingThe Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) believes in improving the practice environment for physicians in Pennsylvania. State legislators can help by recognizing the factors that often lead to “physician burnout” and work to resolve them, or at the very least, lessen their impact.

On March 12, 2019, PAMED President Danae Powers, MD, shared this message with state Representatives at a House Health Committee hearing on barriers to employment in the health care field.

What Is Causing Physician Burnout in Pennsylvania?

Some of the factors contributing to physician burnout include increasing bureaucratic tasks and regulations, time constraints, restrictive contracts, and the endless battle with health insurers on behalf of physicians’ patients, just to name a few.

Dr. Powers talked about how:

  • Pennsylvania has 10 medical schools and trains thousands of residents, yet loses physicians to other states
  • The demands of technology and EHR systems are diverting physicians’ attention away from patient care and onto a computer screen
  • Health insurers make life difficult for patients and physicians, such as the arduous prior authorization process (Prior authorization reform is one of PAMED’s advocacy priorities)

“Every time we enter an exam room, we are faced with two challenges,” she said. “The first, and most important, is to help the patient. That’s often the easiest part of the encounter and the one that gives physicians immense satisfaction. The second challenge is more daunting…doing battle with health insurers.” 

PAMED Offers to Work with Legislators to Find Solutions

In her testimony, Dr. Powers encouraged policymakers to learn what happens behind the scenes in physician offices, hospitals, and operating rooms, working with physicians to better understand some of the barriers that make practicing medicine difficult. 

She asked lawmakers to support legislative proposals that seek to return clinical autonomy to physicians so that they can do what is right for patients rather than what’s in the best interest of insurers. 

“While enhancing workforce development in the medical arena may seem daunting, the Pennsylvania Medical Society is more than happy to help,” said Dr. Powers. 

Read Dr. Powers’ written testimony.

Physician wellness is one of PAMED’s 2019 advocacy priorities. Find out more about our priority issues at www.pamedsoc.org/advocacy

1 comment

Leave a comment
  1. Eric Pennock | Mar 19, 2019

    Thank you, PAMED for addressing this a problem. This video by Dr. Zubin Damania (ZDogg MD) is a must-watch. It has been circulating the web for the last week. 

    "It's Not Burnout, It's Moral Injury"





    Leave a comment