CHICAGO — Nearly one billion dollars in annual excess health care expenditure are due to turnover of primary care physicians, and work-related burnout is a significant driver of those costs, according to a new AMA-led study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The new analysis found that job turnover in the primary care physician workforce leads to an additional $979 million in annual excess health care costs across the U.S. population, with $260 million (27%) attributable to burnout. The cost analysis is based on a pre-pandemic annual turnover estimate of 11,339 primary care physicians. Out of the total annual estimate, burnout-related turnover was estimated to impact 3006 primary care physicians.

“Turnover of primary care physicians is costly to public and private payers, yet there is an opportunity to decrease unnecessary health care expenditures by reducing burnout-related turnover,” said Christine Sinsky, M.D., the study’s lead author and AMA vice president of professional satisfaction. “Physician burnout is preventable and payers, health care organizations, and others have a vested interest in making meaningful changes to reduce physician burnout.”

Wide-spanning change in the health care delivery system needs to emphasize physician well-being as essential to achieving national health goals. The AMA’s ongoing work to reduce physician burnout is striving to attack the dysfunction in health care by removing the obstacles and burdens that interfere with patient care. The AMA offers physicians and health systems a choice of cutting-edge tools, information and resources to help rekindle a joy in medicine, including:

  • AMA STEPS Forward™ -- The AMA offers a collection of more than 70 award‐winning online toolkit that help physicians and medical teams make transformative changes to their practices and covers everything from managing stress and preventing burnout to improving practice workflow.
  • Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program – The AMA distinction, now in its third year, recognizes health systems with a demonstrated commitment to reducing work-related burnout among care teams.
  • Institutional Assessments — The AMA assesses burnout levels within medical organizations to provide a baseline metric for implementing solutions and interventions that reduce system-level burnout rates and improve physician well-being.
  • International Conference on Physician Health — The AMA, in collaboration with the Canadian Medical Association and British Medical Association, will host a unique conference Oct.13-15 in Orlando, Fla. to promote health and well-being in the ranks of physicians.
  • EHRSeeWhatWeMean.org — A collaboration between the AMA and MedStar Health to demonstrate the risks and challenges caused by poor usability in electronic health record technology that reduce time available for physicians to care for patients.

The AMA continues to work on every front to address the physician burnout crisis. Through our research, collaborations, advocacy and leadership, the AMA is working to make the patient‐physician relationship more valued than paperwork, preventive care the focus of the future, technology an asset and not a burden, and physician burnout a thing of the past.

Media Contact:

Robert J. Mills

ph: (312) 464-5970

[email protected]

About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.

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