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Healthcare Employers Beware: Are Late Career Practitioner Policies Discriminatory?

As members of the healthcare industry, some of you may be aware of a situation where an aging physician whose physical or cognitive impairments (that went unnoticed or simply ignored) led to an unfavorable, or possibly catastrophic, patient outcome, such as a misdiagnosis, unnecessary surgery, or the even the death of a patient. This is not a new concern. The question of when a physician should retire, especially surgeons, has been a subject of debate for decades. As more and more practitioners work past the traditional retirement age, healthcare providers are faced with conflicting interests: keeping valuable late career practitioners content while maintaining patient safety.

Population Of Older Practitioners Is Growing

The United States currently has a large population of older physicians that is only expected to increase over time. According to a 2017 survey from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), physicians between the ages of 65 and 75 accounted for 10% of the country’s workforce and those between the ages of 55 and 64 accounted for 26% of the workforce. The AAMC concluded that more than one-third of all active physicians will be 65 or older during the next 10 years. So what should you do […]

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