68% of California county physicians aim to leave public employment: survey

Physicians serving medical facilities in Santa Clara County, Calif., are speaking out against county management for the second time this year.

In April, San Jose-based Valley Medical Center asked county administrators to create a mental health and wellness plan for employees. Physicians said they were suffering from short staffing and high caseloads, leading to burnout. The county's report, released in August, was criticized as inadequate by the Valley Physicians Group, which represents more than 450 publicly-employed physicians in Santa Clara County. 

Recently, the Valley Physicians Group surveyed more than 72 percent of its physicians about their attitudes toward county employment, and the results were shared with Becker's on Oct. 3. Here are three key takeaways:

Ninety percent of surveyed physicians said the county's resources and staffing measures are insufficient. 

Sixty-eight percent plan to leave county employment in the next three years, including 10 percent who plan to leave within the next year. 

Seventy-three percent noted a drop in personal satisfaction over the past year, and 70 percent classify their mental health as "average to poor." 

When asked how the county can improve these metrics, physicians said it would be beneficial to increase support staff (91 percent), adjust conditions for better work-life balance (87 percent) and increase physician staff (84 percent). 

In a statement shared with Becker's, the physician group said its findings contradict county Executive Jeff Smith, who said in an Aug. 3 San Jose Spotlight article, "There's no problem with [the county health system's] quality. There’s no problem with retention. There’s no problem with recruitment." 

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