Military Physicians' Views on Factors Which Influence Their Career Decisions

T-HRD-89-10: Published: Mar 16, 1989. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 1989.

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GAO discussed the results of its survey of 1500 active-duty military physicians' attitudes and opinions on military medicine, focusing on: (1) the extent to which physicians planned to leave military service; (2) military physicians' views on the adequacy of their compensation; and (3) factors affecting physicians' decisions to continue or leave military service. GAO found that: (1) about 70 percent of active-duty physicians indicated that they would leave service before the end of fiscal year 1991; (2) about 575 unobligated physicians would retire from the service during the same period; (3) the Department of Defense has experienced a 45-percent physician turnover rate within the past three years; (4) Air Force and Navy physicians were more likely to leave service than Army physicians; (5) generally, military physicians cited dissatisfaction with their pay, and inadequate health and administrative support as reasons for their decisions to leave; (6) about 62 percent of military physicians indicated a high probability of remaining in the service, if their pay were comparable with the private sector; and (7) military physicians cited the opportunity to practice their specialties as an inducement to remain in the service.

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