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New survey reveals physician priorities for health care in California

March 20, 2019
Area(s) of Interest: Health Care Reform Public Health 


A new statewide survey* conducted by the California Medical Association (CMA) – which proudly represents over 44,000 physicians across all modes of practice and specialty – found compelling new synergy around the future of health care.

Nearly 900 California physicians participated in the survey, and many of their opinions were aligned with CMA’s long-standing priorities. For example, participating physicians said the most important challenges facing California’s health care system included increasing costs and affordability (32 percent), access to quality care (24 percent) and lack of universal coverage (18 percent).

CMA members cited legislative advocacy (48 percent) and communication with its members (11 percent) as the top two reasons to join the 163-year-old association. And a majority believed CMA was doing a good job keeping them updated about policy issues affecting them (59 percent) and educating elected officials about how proposed legislation impact physicians and their practices (53 percent). Indeed, CMA’s biggest strengths were identified as acting as the voice of physicians (21 percent) and overall advocacy efforts (12 percent).

Key findings included:

Top five most important challenges facing California’s health care system today:

  • Increased cost and affordability (32 percent)
  • Access to quality care (24 percent)
  • Lack of universal coverage (18 percent)
  • Serving low-income, uninsured and homeless populations (11 percent)
  • Regulatory interference with the practice of medicine (11 percent)

Top five public policy issues most identified with CMA: 

  • Health care reform / Medi-Cal (15 percent)
  • Advocating for physicians (12 percent)
  • Monitoring state policies related to medical care (12 percent)
  • Assisting with reimbursement efforts (8 percent)
  • Access to quality care (7 percent)

Among CMA’s top 20 advocacy issues, the following five were most important:

  • Working to limit abusive insurance company practices (61 percent)
  • Increasing Medi-Cal and Medicare reimbursement rates (52 percent)
  • Supporting MICRA to decrease malpractice lawsuits and reduce insurance rates (50 percent)
  • Reducing physician burnout (43 percent)
  • Addressing the increase in patient prescription pharmaceutical costs (35 percent)

CMA’s top five greatest strengths: 

  • Acting as the voice of physicians (21 percent)
  • Advocacy (12 percent)
  • Size of membership (9 percent)
  • Lobbying efforts (7 percent)
  • Communication / Keeping members informed (7 percent)

CMA was ranked as doing a “good” job on the following top five services:

  • Updating physicians about key public policy issues affecting them (59 percent)
  • Educating elected officials about how proposed legislation changes and reforms affect physicians and their practices (53 percent)
  • Educating media about issues and challenges facing California doctors (42 percent)
  • Providing physicians with best practice data, tools and publications (39 percent)
  • Helping physicians navigate quality reporting and other regulatory requirements (33 percent)

Top five reasons physicians joined CMA:

  • Legislative advocacy (48 percent)
  • Communication with its members (11 percent)
  • Educational opportunities (8 percent)
  • Member discounts (8 percent)
  • Opportunity to connect with colleagues (7 percent)

While 33 percent of physicians said they didn’t participate on social media, the 67 percent who are active online reported the following usage:

  • Facebook: 41 percent
  • LinkedIn: 36 percent
  • Doximity: 35 percent
  • Twitter: 15 percent
  • Instagram: 15 percent
  • DocBook MD: 2 percent

To learn how CMA can help your patients and strengthen your medical practice, visit https://www.cmadocs.org/why-join, and stay updated on the latest news and developments. 

*Survey method: CMA’s survey was conducted from November 26 through December 9, 2018, with 882 physician participants (398 CMA members and 484 non-members). The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.28 percent.

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