Tag Archives: physician recruitment

SpineSearch at NASS 2011

SpineSearch at NASS 2011
SpineSearch was on hand last week at the North American Spine Society’s 26th Annual Meeting in Chicago. Nicola Hawkinson, CEO, moderated two discussions: Allied Health Track Session—Healthcare Reform and Beyond, and PA/NP Track Breakout Session—Failed Back and cervical Spine. I was able to take in the Young Spine Surgeons forum for a short time while manning our booth. Thank you to the fellows and attending surgeons who stopped by to meet with me to discuss the job market and practice opportunities. We would also like to thank our clients, and industry colleagues for all of their feedback. We look forward to working with you in the future, and to the NASS meeting in Dallas next year.

Have a Retention Plan in Place Before Recruitment Begins!

Have a Retention Plan in Place Before Recruitment Begins

You’ve spent thousands of dollars to recruit a physician for your practice, invited the doctor for site visits, paid advertising costs, legal and agency fees, and a slew of other expenses; but, after the honeymoon is over, and the contract is up, the physician decides to move on. Annually, about 10% of them do seek opportunities elsewhere. Not only have you lost the money you have invested to recruit, credential and on-board the physician, but now the loss of potential revenue looms—which can be in the high 6 to 7 figures respectively.

Among the physicians who leave a group, nearly half do so within the first 3 years. Why do they leave? There are common reasons. Often, job expectations are not made clear during the recruitment process. Typically these include: the amount of patients seen on a given day, call schedule, in-patient responsibilities, and the expectation to work on weekends and evenings. The most common reason, however, is that they may feel as though they are just not the right ‘fit’ with the other physicians in the group.

One way to insure that a recruit would be a good fit with the group, is to establish what the common values of the group are, and convey those to the candidate during the recruitment process. Also, involve other physicians in the practice in the interview process to determine if the candidate would be a good fit. Some may say that the best retention strategy is to hire the right physician in the first place.
Some issues are more challenging: feeling unappreciated, no involvement in the decision making process, no opportunity for partnership. And some things can’t be avoided, like the desire to be closer to family. But turnover is costly; therefore have a retention plan in place before recruitment begins. There are many success stories out there, but develop a plan that is unique for your practice; one size does not fit all. Have a plan that is at least a three year process. Start by providing enough startup resources, a mentor, and feedback which is crucial in the early stages.

Q & A on How to ensure your practice can compete in the competitive physician recruiting landscape

Hiring a new physician for your practice is more complicated than it used to be

How does the current physician shortage affect medical practices?

Currently employed physicians are working longer hours and have to cover call more frequently — This all equates to higher compensation for recruited physicians, both senior and new.

How many calls does the average graduating resident receive and how does a hiring group compete for those new graduates?

According to MGMA over half of graduating residents receive between 51-100 solicitations. If you work with a hiring firm such as SpineSearch it will bring your practice more attention. SpineSearch attends many national events geared at Residents & Fellows and when they are looking for candidates with a retained job in hand your practice has very good exposure in this competitive, physician, hiring landscape.

Who can a medical group partner with to help cover recruitment costs?

The recruitment arrangement exception allows practices to seek assistance from a hospital under the Stark Laws prohibiting physician self-referral. This allows your medical group to seek assistance, when hiring physicians and offering competitive packages which may include medical school debt repayment assistance, guaranteed salary, paying recruitment firm fees, or continuing education allowances.

What are some ways to separate yourself from all the others competing for the tight physician pool?

New Physicians are not only looking for a job but also to see the total package that will help them succeed in their new practice

1. Offer guidance in new methods of patient acquisition such as social media (FaceBook, Twitter, Patient Blogs….)

2. Offer guidance in new methods to work with referring physicians using new media (LinkedIn, Physician facing Blogs, writing for online patient facing websites & peer review websites …)

3. Provide some assistance with the groups general marketing practices….One of the scariest things to new physicians is how to gain a patient base that will substantiate their pay

Keep in mind when hiring new physicians
It’s not always easy

Selecting the right physician candidate for your practice is never easy, and there’s always an element of the surprise. Taking this into consideration you can increase your odds for success by carefully evaluating each candidate in relationship to the needs of the practice and the specific position you have to offer.

One example: Work-life balance has been cited numerous times, by many publications, as one of the most important considerations among young physicians. According to multiple surveys the number of physicians who choose to work part-time and or flex time has increased dramatically in recent years. More doctors are likely to be women who, historically and statistically, will be more likely to seek part-time or flex-time working environments. These women are talented doctors and just because they are looking for flex time shouldn’t mean to ignore them. This actually presents a very interesting hiring tool when trying to effecentiely and economically staff your practice. The industry has an ever increasing gender shift and medical practices have to remember new physicians are planning families.

The Signing Bonus in Physician Recruitment

The Signing Bonus in Physician Recruitment

What once was an incentive offered to a physician, on occasion, for hard-to-fill jobs – signing bonuses for new physician hires have become not only the norm, but are expected (AMMED News 6-9-11). Not having a signing bonus in place is often looked upon, by a candidate, as an extreme negative. How does an employer stand out from the crowd to land a recruit in this highly competitive environment?

In addition to the cash bonus, which averages about $23,000, other incentives include relocation costs, CME expenses, housing allowances, and student loan forgiveness.

Can a facility that has only a few, or no such incentives in place to land a recruit, actually compete with the ones who are stacked with benefits and bonuses to offer? Unequivocally, yes.

Although it is becoming increasingly more difficult in this market, we must keep in mind that not all candidates are motivated by monetary rewards. Work-life balance, community, and meaningful employment opportunities for spouses and family members are examples of other factors that ultimately lead to a successful hire, and retainable physician. If money is the principle motivator, beware! Who is to say that candidates will stay, when deeper pockets start calling on them?

As recruiters we must look at the total package that a facility and community can offer; compensation is only part of the landscape.

Tom Sullivan
Vice President of Recruitment
SpineSearch LLC
tom.sullivan@spine-search.com

Physician Employment Trends – 2011

Physician Employment Trends- 2011
More Physicians Seek Hospital Employed Model
According to a new survey from Accenture (NYSE:ACN), more physicians will continue to leave their private practices to seek hospital employed positions this year. Their survey shows the rate of independent physicians employed by health systems will increase 5% over the next three years, and by 2013 less than 1/3 of physicians will remain truly independent (NY Business Wire).
As a physician recruiter I speak with more and more physicians seeking hospital employed positions after their practices have suffered due to the economic downturn. Further, many do not want to deal with the administrative headaches that running a private practice can bring, any longer.
For some candidates, a hospital employed position can provide greater stability in a fragile economic environment, offer the latest in technology and equipment and provide a better work-life balance.
There are many innovative ways for hospitals to recruit and retain these candidates in this environment. One is to employ a specialist firm to network and source candidates from this expanding talent pool. As an education, consulting and recruitment company, SpineSearch has a unique place in the fields of Orthopedics, Neurosurgery , Neurology and Pain Management; offering industry leading expertise to hospital clients seeking new talent, and providing opportunities for those physicians seeking new challenges.

Tom Sullivan
Vice President of Recruitment
SpineSearch LLC
tom.sullivan@spine-search.com