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Policy, Autonomy, and Physician Satisfaction


It is important to understand how policy influences physician satisfaction, which in turn affects access to and quality of care. Two Mississippi policy crises in the past decade indirectly jeopardized its primary health care supply. During a volatile malpractice climate in 2002, physician groups claimed physicians would retire or relocate or quit medicine entirely. The second crisis in 2005 temporarily shut down Medicaid reimbursement. Both crises had the capacity to undermine physician satisfaction, a predictor of physician retention. We used data from two cross-sectional Mississippi physician surveys to test how malpractice experiences and Medicaid reimbursement influenced physician satisfaction. The Medicaid shutdown had no measurable effect on physician satisfaction, while the immediate effects of a litigious malpractice climate dampened physician satisfaction. However, the data indicate that the effects of malpractice experiences may be quite short-lived.