PCP Turnover Contributes $979 Million In Excess Health Care Costs In The United States

PCP Turnover Contributes $979 Million In Costs: A study published on February 26, 2022 entitled “Health Care Expenditures Attributable to Primary Care Physician Overall and Burnout-Related Turnover: A Cross-sectional Analysis” reported: “Turnover of PCPs results in approximately $979 million in excess health care expenditures for public and private payers annually, with $260 million attributable to PCP burnout-related turnover.”

The researchers used published data for Medicare patients, they calculated estimates for non-Medicare patients, and they also used data from the American Medical Association Masterfile. The published data was from a cross-sectional survey of US physicians conducted between October 12, 2017 and March 15, 2018 regarding physician burnout and their intention to leave their current practice within two years. The researchers used a “conservative” estimate from published literature to determine actual turnover based on their intention to leave their practices. The researchers used publicly available data to estimate the average PCP panel size and the composition of Medicare and non-Medicare patients within a PCP’s panel.

Based on published literature, the researchers found an average PCP panel size ranging from 1,000 to 1,400 patients in Veterans Affairs Patient Aligned Care Teams, to more than 2,300 patients in nonconcierge practices. The researchers calculated the average number of Medicare patients per PCP (196) by dividing the total number of Medicare patients in the United States (62.0 million in 2020) by the number of PCPs in the AMA Physician Masterfile (316,471). The US Census estimate of the US population as of July 18, 2021, was 332.5 million, which would mean an average panel size of 1,050 if every member of the US population was empaneled. The researchers used a conservative primary estimate of 1,000 patients for their analyses to conform with these data, acknowledging that this is a lower panel size estimate than in most published literature. To determine the average number of non-Medicare patients per PCP (804), the researchers subtracted the estimated number of Medicare patients per PCP (196) from the total estimated panel size (1,000).

The researchers concluded: “Of the 316,471 total PCPs, 152,205 are expected to experience burnout on the basis of national studies reporting the prevalence of burnout by primary care discipline. As noted before, 11,339 PCPs are expected to leave their current practice per year … we estimate that each instance of a PCP’s leaving current practice results in $86,336 in excess health care expenditures during the following year. We estimate that PCP turnover results in $979 million in annual excess health care costs across Medicare and non-Medicare patients, of which $260 million (27%) is attributable to burnout. Physician burnout is therefore costly to public and private payers, who bear most of these excess health care costs … The $260 million per year in excess health care expenses that is attributable to PCP turnover due to burnout identified in this study is distinct from the estimated $4.6 billion borne annually by health care organizations in costs attributable to burnout related to reduced productivity from vacant positions and the costs associated with replacing physicians. Collectively, these costs would translate to a nearly $5 billion increase in health care expenditures each year due to burnout-related turnover costs.”


If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury (or worse) as a result of PCP medical negligence in the United States,  you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your primary care physician  malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a PCP medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys in your state who may assist you.

Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 12th, 2022 at 5:26 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


Easy Free Consultation

Fill out the form below for a free consultation or contact us directly at 800.295.3959.
  • Please enter the correct answer to this math problem.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    Easy Free Consultation

    Fill out the form below for a free consultation or contact us directly at 800.295.3959