Strong Leadership and a Supportive Culture are Key to Recruiting and Retaining Physicians in a Post-Pandemic World

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The psychological impact of COVID-19 on frontline healthcare workers, including physicians, is yet to be fully realized and understood. From initial worries about having enough PPE to working endless hours treating those afflicted with the virus, the past several months has taken a toll.

To bring more awareness to the issue, MGMA hosted a webinar, “Hiring Physicians in the ‘New Normal’: Addressing the Psychological Dimensions of COVID-19.”  Jackson Physician Search president Tony Stajduhar presented and was joined by Kathy Cooperman, President of KC Leadership Consulting, and Dr. Russell Livingston, Psychiatric Physician and President of Livingston Consulting.

In addition to touching on the psychological impact of handling patient care during these unprecedented times, they discussed how hospitals and healthcare administrators could adjust their recruiting, hiring, and retention practices, with an eye toward understanding and mitigating concerns that physicians may have regarding COVID-19.

To view the MGMA Webinar in its entirety, click here.

During the webinar, participants were asked to use one word to describe the mental health of their frontline healthcare providers.  Unsurprisingly, the results pointed to providers being overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed.  How these stressors are going to impact physician recruitment and retention is yet unclear. Still, it is essential to consider that physicians will seek new opportunities. Tony Stajduhar highlighted the market dynamics of physician job seekers by pointing out that 50,000 physicians will accept new positions in 2020, and summer is the prime time for them to make a move.

Recruiting Physicians in the New Normal

Studies clearly show that physicians are much more likely to accept a position with an organization whose culture and values are aligned with the physician’s own. Hiring for fit has never been more critical than it is today because of the costs associated with a competitive recruitment environment.

Some physicians are seeking out new positions because of their experiences dealing with COVID-19, or they just find themselves ready to explore new opportunities.  Your understanding of how the pandemic may have impacted them should be reflected in how you recruit and interview potential candidates. For example:

  • Don’t shy away from talking about the pandemic and the steps your organization took to support the physicians and other staff.
  • Let the candidate know that you understand the anxiety and trauma experienced by your physicians as they tried to balance patient care with their own safety and by extension the safety of their families.
  • Highlight the ways that your leadership team addressed the trauma and the steps that were taken to help mitigate the stress and feelings of being overwhelmed.

It is essential to have actual examples of how the culture within your organization helped your staff cope with the uncertainty caused by the events unfolding around them. It could be as simple as how the executive team held town hall meetings to share information and provide staff with an opportunity to express their concerns. In other cases, it is providing each employee extra time each day to find a quiet room for meditation or yoga.

“During times of crisis, people fall back on their core values when making decisions.”

~Kathy Cooperman

Physicians spend their days caring for others and, likewise, want to feel like they are in an environment where everyone cares for each other. When interviewing physician candidates in the post-pandemic world, it is critical to sell them on the organizational culture that they would be joining. Consider that they may be coming from an organization where they didn’t feel supported during their most trying times. Counter this by explaining how your organization found ways to proactively support the staff.  Share the positive work experiences that occurred during even the most difficult times.  Recounting these real-world actions will resonate with a candidate and help them to envision what they can expect during times of crisis in the future.

Keep a Steady Hand on Physician Retention Strategies

We have acknowledged the fact that physicians are feeling significant psychological stress and trauma from trying to manage patient care throughout the pandemic. Administrators everywhere need to step forward and provide critical leadership at this time as part of their overall physician retention strategy.

During the webinar, Kathy Cooperman described the challenges involved with leading through times of change. While physicians are scrambling to provide care under uncertain conditions, healthcare leaders need to take on a more active and visible role for their staff.  It is critical to provide as much clarity about what is known and unknown, to support, and even nurture their teams through encouragement and reassurance.  This is a time where healthcare systems that have put time and effort into building an open, honest, and supportive culture will see the results.

Dr. Livingston advises administrators to encourage staff members to express their feelings and concerns in a structured environment. While it may need to be professionally facilitated, it is important for physicians and other care providers to feel that they are being heard.  Statistically, a pandemic situation exacerbates the risk of burnout, and the trauma caused by feeling overwhelmed leads to an increase in PTSD symptoms. Much like a typical trauma ER environment, leadership needs to have a plan to mitigate the trauma symptoms being experienced by staff.

“PTSD-like symptoms adversely affect the level of care. This is why it is imperative for administrators to have a plan in place to help mitigate the effects of trauma being experienced by their physicians.”

~Dr. Russell Livingston

Staff morale is a critical component of any healthy work environment.  In a crisis situation, all employees are going to seek to find certainty amid the chaos, and this is where strong leaders find ways to be consistent in their message and cultivate a sense of support and stability.

The COVID-19 pandemic has likely altered the ways that healthcare organizations will attract, hire, and retain physicians going forward. Clearly, one of the takeaways is that strong leadership and supportive culture will help sell an organization in this highly competitive hiring environment.

Jackson Physician Search has the healthcare industry experience and nationwide reach to be your partner in physician recruitment and retention.  Contact our recruitment professionals and discover how partnering with Jackson Physician Search can make a difference for you today.

 

[Infographic Guide] The Do’s and Don’ts of Virtual Interviews

Virtual interviews will likely have a permanent place in the recruitment process.

Overcoming COVID-19 Recruitment Challenges Through Collaboration and Creativity

It’s human nature to look for positive outcomes in even the most challenging of situations, and in spite of our current reality, these times are no different.

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.

Overcoming COVID-19 Recruitment Challenges Through Collaboration and Creativity

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It’s human nature to look for positive outcomes in even the most challenging of situations, and in spite of our current reality, these times are no different. So, when a healthcare facility in Alabama came to us in the middle of COVID-19 after losing two Ear, Nose, and Throat physicians to retirement and relocation, Helen Falkner, a Senior Director of Recruiting at Jackson Physician Search, knew she had her work cut out for her.

Recruiting an ENT physician in Alabama can be a challenge under the best of circumstances for two reasons. First, Alabama falls in the top 10 states experiencing the worst physician shortages. Second, ENTs fall in the top 20 specialties in the highest demand.

Fortunately, the facility’s Director of Physician Relations/Recruitment & Service Line Development was undeterred by the less-than-ideal circumstances and well aware that delaying the search would only extend the costly vacancy. Working hand-in-hand with Helen, they immediately launched the search.

As with every new search, Helen wrote a compelling job overview and posted it on multiple job boards, launched a targeted email campaign to an extensive database of opted-in ENTs, and began contacting physicians directly within 48 hours. Excited about the opportunity, she knew the right physician would be open to a virtual interview process.

When One Door Closes, Another Opens

Dr. R was working on his fellowship and would complete his training at the end of June. He had already secured a position with a private practice and was scheduled to start at the end of the summer. Unfortunately, his contract with his soon-to-be employer was canceled as a result of financial hardships the practice faced due to COVID-19. Born, raised and educated in the South – specifically Louisiana – he was ready to return to his southern roots. So, when Helen contacted him about this new opportunity in Alabama, travel bans and virtual interviews were simply hurdles for both of them to overcome.

Helen and Hannah worked quickly to keep the momentum alive with Dr. R. They worked to quickly schedule a virtual interview that included several members of the physician and support staff, as well as a Facetime call where Dr. R. virtually “walked” around the facility so he could see the clinic with his own eyes.

Dr. R was then introduced to a local realtor who sent him information about the schools, neighborhoods and restaurants. She also sent him links to online videos with community information. Between Dr. R’s conversations with Helen, Hannah, and the Realtor he was able to gain a clear picture of the family oriented and vibrancy of the community. With a wife and two young children, finding a community where they felt comfortable and were close to other physicians was important.

In spite of the pandemic, recruitment was moving full speed ahead.

Recognizing that Dr. R was a great fit culturally, the facility didn’t want to lose him to another opportunity. Within a week of the virtual interview, they received a signed offer of employment from the candidate. And shortly afterwards, Dr. R even put in an offer on a new home!

With a typical ENT search taking six months or longer, this story is a testament to how effective a digital sourcing process combined with a virtual interview can be. Just imagine how long it would have taken to find suitable physician candidates if a direct mail piece had to be designed, printed and mailed.

While every successful recruitment story is unique, there is always a common thread between them. And, that’s the strong relationship a recruiter develops with a healthcare administrator. When it’s built on trust and everyone agrees on what it will take to fill the physician vacancy, there are few outside circumstances that can derail the search.

If your facility is looking to find a trusted recruitment partner, Jackson Physician Search has a team of experienced healthcare industry professionals who are ready to help you. Contact our team today.

Ross Hegenwald Placement Success Story

Teamwork Makes the Placement Work

Not much about life in the United States at the present moment resembles our usual definition of normal, but still life goes on and so does physician recruitment.

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Planning to Keep Telehealth Post-COVID-19? Four Skills to Look for When Recruiting Physicians.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that people will always find ways to adapt to meet their needs. The same can be said for patients seeking healthcare, as evidenced by the 4,347% increase in telehealth insurance claims nationally. In March 2019, telehealth insurance claims comprised 0.17% of medical claims compared to March 2020 totals of 7.52%. Clearly, as patients become more comfortable with telehealth for non-emergent health matters, providers are beginning to plan for continued telehealth services for life beyond the pandemic.

A recent article in Forbes magazine cited research that stated 59% of consumers reported that they are more likely to use telehealth services now than previously. Plus, a surprising 33% indicated that they would be willing to leave their current physician for a provider who offered telehealth access.

Some states are currently working on legislation that would make the temporary payment increases for telehealth services permanent and CMS administrator Seema Verma recently discussed extending the pay rates.

With so many consumers willingly adopting new technologies, healthcare providers should be considering telehealth experience when recruiting physicians to fill vacancies. Telehealth has proven to be a benefit for patients during the pandemic allowing them to receive care without the need for travel. Any time you can remove a barrier to accessing healthcare it is a benefit to physicians and patients. Let’s look at the characteristics of a physician that is well-suited to be successful in providing telehealth services.

  1. Recruit tech-savvy physicians. For anyone working throughout the pandemic via telecommuting, technical skills are critical. From troubleshooting video-conference call snafus to resetting your home router or Wi-Fi adapter, for many of us, the transition has been a challenge. Now, consider those issues if you were trying to consult with a patient about a medical matter. The only way to engender confidence and a feeling of assurance is to have a physician who can seamlessly handle the technical aspects of a telehealth consultation. Doctors do not need a minor in computer science to accompany their medical degree but having a comfort level with evolving telehealth services is crucial for their success.
  2. Look for physicians with outstanding communication skills. Technical skills are important, but the most critical aspect of a successful telehealth physician is the ability to communicate effectively with the patient. Screen for physicians who demonstrate superior listening skills. The telehealth provider must glean as much information from the patient as possible, without having the ability to perform a physical exam. Listening skills and an ability to ask appropriate questions are critical to a successful virtual visit.
  3. Don’t overlook the importance of being organized and thorough. Back in the days of the written prescription pad, many jokes were made about the quality of a physician’s handwriting. In the emerging world of telehealth, the ability to compose documentation is even more critical than in a typical outpatient situation but it’s done electronically. Telehealth physicians have to be able to articulate, almost verbatim, what the patient is saying. This requires an ability to construct clear and concise notes of the patient visit, as the documentation serves as a diagnostic tool and an audit trail. This is even more critical if the physician is working remotely and is away from the traditional doctor’s office. With no day-to-day administrative support, the physician will need to be able to handle some extra responsibilities.
  4. Experience matters.When recruiting a physician that is going to be providing telehealth services, the type of post-residency background he or she has will make a difference. A physician conducting telehealth visits will not have an abundance of resources at his or her disposal, and a physician who has had extensive experience may have a better understanding of what it takes to perform with limited resources. The physician must be comfortable making a diagnosis without the support of a team. Experience in a variety of settings can be an important consideration when recruiting your next physician.

It is safe to assume that life after the COVID-19 pandemic is going to be permanently altered. Healthcare administrators are quickly learning to adapt to the new normal, including adjusting their physician recruitment strategies and planning for the continued evolution of telehealth technologies and services.

If you need a strategic recruitment partner to help you navigate the post-pandemic healthcare world, Jackson Physician Search is ready to help every step of the way.  Contact our experienced recruitment professionals today to learn more about how we can make a difference.

 

[Infographic Guide] The Do’s and Don’ts of Virtual Interviews

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[Infographic Guide] The Do’s and Don’ts of Virtual Interviews

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Virtual interviews will likely have a permanent place in the recruitment process. If you’ve decided to incorporate video interviews into your physician recruitment process, first learn the Do’s and Don’ts.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Virtual Interviews

8 Do’s

  1. Do confirm the video interview in advance with both parties
  2. Do send a detailed itinerary
  3. Do send detailed instructions
  4. Do test your audio and video set-up
  5. Do choose a well-lit room
  6. Do dress in professional attire for the interview
  7. Do be prepared and take notes
  8. Do use nonverbal communication and hand gestures as you normally would

7 Don’ts

  1. Don’t assume all parties are familiar with eCalendar invites
  2. Don’t allow distractions – close out any other programs and silence your phone
  3. Don’t be late
  4. Don’t swivel or rock in your chair, use a stationary chair instead
  5. Don’t watch the screen, instead maintain eye contact with the camera
  6. Don’t forget to smile
  7. Don’t remain logged into the platform after the interview is complete

Visit our thought leadership page for more helpful presentations, case studies, and infographics.

Successful Culture Assessment

[Infographic Guide] 10 Steps for a Successful Culture Assessment

A good company culture can be the difference between recruiting and keeping the best healthcare professionals and a constant recruiting struggle.

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A slow return to a new normal means some of the 20+ million displaced Americans will begin returning to work, and financially hard-hit medical groups…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.

Telehealth Continues to Grow in Popularity – Is it Time to Add it to Your Skill Set?

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One of the things that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us is that patients are willing to adapt in order to continue receiving medical care.  According to a report on CNBC, virtual healthcare interactions could top one billion by the end of 2020. The impact of the current pandemic has driven the rapid adoption of telehealth services to unforeseen heights, easily overcoming the original barriers of cost, availability, and the relationship factor.

In addition, as most healthcare providers are now well aware of, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services paved the way by providing waivers for the duration of the current emergency. These waivers have allowed physicians to offer more than 80 additional healthcare services through telehealth and to bill for them at the same rate as in-person visits versus the previous lower rates.

As reported in a recent article in Healthcare Finance, Atlanta-based Emory healthcare went from offering no telemedicine appointments to over 4,000 each day, and now 91% of Emory’s providers are telehealth-trained. In addition to providing excellent preventative care and other services, Emory approves because it reduces hefty overhead and keeps revenue flowing.

Now, there is widespread talk that telehealth is here to stay, and it should be made permanently available to Americans coast-to-coast and not just in rural areas where access to care is limited. Congress will need to pass several regulatory changes once the pandemic passes, and many believe it will.

These developments open up a viable new career option for many physicians, with primary care and behavioral health the two areas with the greatest demand. Outside of your typical medical school and residency training, there are no other training requirements to inhibit your ability to practice medicine virtually as a full-time or part-time option.  Let’s look at a few things to consider if you’re planning to add telehealth to your physician skill set.

  1. Meet NCQA Standards. The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recommends that physicians have a minimum of four years practicing in a typical practice setting before jumping into telehealth services. While individual state requirements may vary, a physician looking for the best telehealth opportunities should ensure that they meet the minimum NCQA standards of four years’ experience.
  2. Telemedicine Providers are not Created Equal. As you would with any job opportunity, a physician who is considering telehealth options should do some homework on the various providers of telehealth services. Basics to consider include Volume, Pay Structure, Work Shifts, Malpractice Support, and Credentialing Support. Another key component in your decision to credential with a particular telemedicine provider is their approach to technology support. The last thing a physician needs is to be experiencing an issue with the virtual platform, and attempts to reach technical support are met with automated email responses. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions about a provider’s technical support process before signing on with them.
  3. Are You Tech-Savvy and Comfortable Caring for Patients Simultaneously? Considering the fact that you will be conducting your patient visits virtually, if you don’t enjoy or struggle to navigate various software applications, telehealth may not be your best career choice just yet. It is never too late to take a couple of courses online to build up your skills. You will quickly master any telehealth interface.
  4. Develop Your Virtual Bedside Manner. One of the biggest learning curves for physicians who begin adding telehealth services to their repertoire is mastering the doctor-patient relationship virtually. When you sit down with your patient face-to-face, it is much easier to cultivate that vital relationship. When conducting a telehealth visit, it is critical for the physician to hyper-focus on listening and observing as much as possible. Instead of a physical examination, you are relying on what the patient is telling you. This means you have to listen carefully and ask the right questions to narrow down the medical issue at hand.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over, but millions of people have grown accustomed to working from home.  Once we are on the other side of this crisis, it will be interesting to see how many industries expand their telecommuting options.  The situation is not much different for physicians who have been working from home and want to continue to do so in a more permanent manner.  Patients that have adapted to virtual medical visits will continue to do so even after the pandemic threat has dissipated.  Now is a perfect time for physicians who want to plan for a full- or even part-time career change to telemedicine.

No matter what direction you envision your physician career path taking you, Jackson Physician Search can help you find an opportunity that best suits your skill set and your lifestyle needs.  Contact one of our experienced physician recruitment professionals today and see how we can help you achieve your career goals.

 

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2020 AAPPR Physician Recruitment Workplace Satisfaction Report

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Sponsored by Jackson Physician Search, the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment (AAPPR) conducted a survey about in-house physician recruitment workplace satisfaction.

In-house recruiters face the tough challenge of recruiting physicians where there are often more roles than candidates available. In this survey, you’ll find how their job satisfaction and plans to remain in their current position may be influenced by the physician shortage, overall workload, leadership concerns, and more. Key findings include:

  • Finding candidates was the #1 most challenging aspect of a recruiter’s job, with leadership cited as #2.
  • 75% reported a high degree of stress and heavy workload.
  • 41% plan on leaving their current organization within three years.

Go to the AAPPR website to download the full Physician Recruitment Workplace Satisfaction Report.

Psychiatry Career Outlook: How the ‘New Normal’ Could Impact Your Job Search

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A recent APA poll revealed that 36% of Americans feel coronavirus is having a serious impact on their mental health and 59% feel it is having a serious impact on their day-to-day lives. As we progress towards the new normal, it appears already high levels of anxiety may increase the need for mental health professionals and that could exacerbate the psychiatry shortage.

A steady increase in demand means that psychiatrists have more options to find a practice opportunity that fits their career and personal life than ever before. Here are a few ways psychiatry professionals can ensure they are maximizing their career opportunities.

Pursue an In-demand Sub-specialty

If a psychiatrist is willing to pursue additional training, there are a variety of sub-specialties to consider. Aside from child, adolescent, and geriatric psychiatry, there are also opportunities for forensic (legal) psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, administrative psychiatry, public health, military, and psychiatric research. Other highly specialized training includes psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic institutes.

Choose a Setting that Fits Your Lifestyle

Like many physician specialties, psychiatrists can practice in a diverse array of clinical settings. Many (almost half) choose private practice, but beyond hanging out your own shingle, psychiatrists work in general and psychiatric hospitals, university medical centers, prison systems, nursing homes, and military settings.  Others choose rehabilitation centers, community clinics, educational settings, and hospice.

Another benefit of working in a high-demand specialty, psychiatrists can choose to expand the diversity and variety of settings and combine various practice settings.

Embrace Telepsychiatry

With no easy answers available for solving the ongoing shortage of psychiatric specialists, the federal government has eased restrictions on out-of-state licensure requirements to expand access to telepsychiatry treatment.  Overall, COVID-19 has driven an increased adoption of telemedicine services, which many industry experts predict will continue even after the pandemic is over. One of the largest telemedicine service providers, TeleDoc, is reporting more than 100,000 virtual appointments per week.  Telepsychiatry has been shown to be an effective way to maintain continuity and quality of care for patients, and previous studies have concluded that telepsychiatry assessments are a dependable method of assessment.

Take Advantage of the Demand

You’ve chosen a medical career that has been increasing in demand for the past twenty years, and now that you are established, you should feel free to find an opportunity that matches your aspirations.  With medical systems across the country clamoring for your services, take a moment to assess where you are at in your desired career path.

For example, if your goal is to retire in the country with some land and outdoor activities to fill your free time, you may be able to take a few steps in that direction today.  Rural health systems are some of the hardest hit for psychiatric care shortages, and now is the perfect time to prepare for what comes next. Or, if your current practice setting is not affording you the proper work/life balance that you desire, you should have little trouble finding a setting that works for your family and lifestyle needs.

Another aspect of a career as a psychiatric physician is a wide range of salaries from state to state and whether you will be practicing in a rural or urban location. To learn more about what compensation you can expect, visit the Jackson Physician Search salary calculator to access the most accurate compensation data.

The bottom line is that your psychiatry career is providing you with more options than you may have had in the past. Now is the time to take advantage of the demand your specialty is giving you.  Also, you don’t have to invest your own time to find the next opportunity, consider establishing a relationship with an experienced recruitment firm. A good recruiter will have a network of connections and the industry experience to help you land an opportunity that makes the most sense for you and your family.

Jackson Physician Search has a nationwide reach and a team of recruitment professionals with decades of healthcare industry experience. Contact our team today and let us work on finding the opportunity that meets your needs.

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Demand for Psychiatric Specialties Continues to Grow

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A December 2018 report from the University of Michigan concluded that the passage of the Affordable Care Act fueled the ever-increasing demand for Psychiatrists.  Upon its passage, the ACA expanded access to behavioral healthcare to more individuals, and current projections are that the shortage of psychiatric professionals is expected to worsen by 2025. To illustrate this shortage from a national perspective, the National Council for Behavioral Health noted that 77% of U.S. counties are considered to be underserved. The largest increase in demand might be around the corner still.  In an article from the JAMA network about the impact COVID-19 has on the mental health of healthcare workers, Dr. Perlis writes, “Across the world, physicians, nurses, and other frontline health care workers do heroic and lifesaving work in stressful settings on a daily basis.  However, the toll that providing such care takes must also be recognized: sooner or later, every clinician is also a patient.”

Given the demand for psychiatric specialties, healthcare administrators are finding it increasingly difficult to fill vacancies. Currently, the average time to fill for a psychiatry vacancy is almost eight and a half months forcing healthcare administrators to be more creative and proactive in their recruitment efforts.  The average monthly gross revenue generated by a physician is more than $81,000 making an extended vacancy quite costly. You can see the impact reducing time-to-fill on your practice’s revenue by using our Physician Recruitment ROI Calculator.  Below is a snapshot of how healthcare administrators can effectively recruit psychiatry professionals.

Be Proactive

Administrators have to plan ahead for vacancies.  To avoid being caught off guard, it is critical to maintain good relationships and open communication with your psychiatry staff.  This is the easiest way to stay informed about potential retirements or impending vacancies.  Maintaining strong relationships with your physician staff also helps when it comes time to recruit. Having physicians that are willing to reach out to their personal network of colleagues is always helpful to your recruitment efforts.

Cast a Wide Net

Given the increased demand we have already referred to, hospitals and health systems have a lot of competition for psychiatry specialists. Being creative in sourcing candidates is crucial to attracting a Psychiatrist to fill your vacancy.  In many cases, your search has to be nationwide in order to increase your candidate pool.  Another way to expand the candidate pool is to establish relationships with university residency programs and ask your current staff for recommendations from their professional network.  Lastly, an often overlooked way to keep your brand top of mind is to take as many opportunities as possible to present at physician and other healthcare-related conventions.

Guaranteed Salaries and Incentives

In addition to inequities in Medicare reimbursements for psychiatric services, cancellations and missed appointments are much higher for psychiatry appointments than other specialties.  Complicated salary structures for psychiatry professionals can be a deterrent when trying to fill a vacancy. As they have with other hard to fill specialties, healthcare administrators are turning to better compensation packages as a way to attract and hire candidates. These packages include signing bonuses, loan forgiveness, generous relocation reimbursements, and other incentives.

Work-life Balance

Psychiatrists are no different than other physicians when it comes to their desire to achieve a better work-life balance.  As part of any employment offer, administrators are becoming more creative in designing schedules and offering increased vacation and personal time to attract candidates. Another way that administrators can help their psychiatrists reduce the amount of time they are spending in the office is by expanding their commitment to virtual office hours. Expanding virtual services allows the physician to “see” patients at times that are better suited to their home life.

Find a Search Partner

No matter how effective a healthcare system’s in-house recruitment team is, for hard-to-fill vacancies, finding a trusted recruitment partner can help reduce fill times.  For example, having a partner such as Jackson Physician Search will give you access to a larger candidate pool and deploy digital recruitment tools to find the qualified candidates you need.  Also, having a trusted search partner allows your in-house team to focus on other staffing needs, coordinating site visits, onboarding, and other critical components of a successful hire.

There is no single approach that can solve hard-to-fill physician vacancies.  Instead, a full-spectrum approach where you are employing many different strategies, including finding outside help, is the most effective means to successfully recruit psychiatric professionals.

Jackson Physician Search has decades of physician recruitment experience. Contact us today to find out how we can help you meet your physician recruitment challenges.

 

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Offering a competitive and well-rounded compensation and benefits package is important to win over physician candidates, even more so in rural areas.

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When you consider that 58% of the U.S. civilian workforce is female, it stands to reason that a similar percentage of female physicians in our country might exist.

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Three Things to Know Before Deciding if a Medical Practice is the Right Career Path for You

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Choosing the type of organization in which you want to practice is a big decision for all physicians. Despite the financial hit many medical practices incurred during COVID-19, you might have dreams of starting your own practice. Or, you might see yourself working in a hospital where the business burden of healthcare is on someone else’s shoulders, not yours.

Medical practices often offer unique benefits that those two options cannot. For example, partnership tracks offer enhanced income, profit sharing and other perks for physicians in established medical practices. And unlike starting out on your own where you’ll need time to build your patient load, working with an established practice means you’ll be up and running quickly with your own patient panel.

Still, medical practice work isn’t for everyone. Here are some tips on evaluating whether it is the right choice for you.

 

  1. Research the compensation median and bonus structures available for the specialty and region.

We offer an online physician salary calculator to help you easily access physician compensation data customized by specialty, state and type of location. Other resources are helpful, too. The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) sells a DataDrive Provider Compensation report with valuable information on the compensation differences among physician-owned, hospital-owned and academic practices for a variety of regions, practice sizes and provider experience levels.

For example, the 2019 report shows that median compensation for established providers increased 3.4% for primary care physicians from 2017-2018. Specialty physicians had a 4.4% increase.

The report also shows how median total compensation for primary care physicians varied greatly by state from 2017-2018. The District of Columbia was the lowest paying, with $205,776 in median total compensation. Nevada was the highest paying state with $309,431. States that saw much larger increases in median total compensation compared to the national rate were Wyoming, Maryland, Louisiana, Missouri and Mississippi. Two states—Alabama and New York—saw decreases in median total compensation for primary care physicians.

 

  1. Understand the different employment models available (employed, partnership track)

There are five basic employment models used by physician practices.

Straight Salary
The physician has a sense of security and a guaranteed level of income. The con aspect is that a straight salary model does not encourage innovation or cost reduction efforts.

Salary Plus Bonus
As a means of encouraging physicians to increase practice income, reduce costs or achieve other predefined performance metrics, a salary plus bonus payment model provides physicians with a guaranteed salary while also having an opportunity to earn a bonus.

Equal Shares
Divides revenue equally among the group of physicians after expenses are covered.  One of the pros of an equal shares model is that there is a natural aversion to the overutilization of resources. A downside of this payment model is that there is no incentive for creating efficiencies or higher productivity.

Pay-for-Performance
More physicians are finding that systems are implementing variations of a pay-for-performance model as a way to tie financial incentives to the achievement of predetermined performance goals.  Physicians are being encouraged to innovate.

Productivity-based
In this model, physicians receive a percentage of their billings, or are paid according to a scale that is based on procedures being performed or the type of patient visit. An advantage of productivity-based models is that physicians are rewarded for extra effort, and they are also encouraged to be mindful of excessive overhead costs.

According to MGMA, a 50% or more salary-based compensation plan with added incentive payments is the most common plan, with productivity-based compensation a close second. Which plan is right for you? With a myriad of factors and choices, we can help you ask the right questions to negotiate a package that is fair and aligned with your goals.

There are three basics:
Ask about the structure, how the model works, specifically what production, quality and patient satisfaction metrics you must achieve to earn an incentive bonus.

Ask about incentives, such as a stipend while still in training and student loan repayment options.

Ask about transparency, including a review of the practice financials, how much current physicians are making and how long it took them to ramp up to that level.

You can find additional advice from our experts on the most important questions to ask here.

 

  1. Partner or employee?

The idea of becoming a partner in a medical practice was once the dream of many young doctors. The advantages are many: an equal vote on practice issues, due process protections, a culture of partnership. But there are risks involved when medical practices offer partnership tracks, including the burden of extra administrative duties and a buy-in process that can lower initial salary payments.

If you’re interviewing with a medical practice that offers a partnership track, be sure to discuss the length of the buy-in period and how the process works. Before accepting any offer, consult your own legal and financial advisers to be sure your bases are covered.

 

Make sure it’s a cultural fit

There are some simple questions you can ask yourself to see if the culture of the practice will be conducive to your happiness and success.

  • Do you feel there is a shared mission that is clearly defined and followed at every level of the organization?
  • Are behaviors and corporate decisions aligned with your own personal values?
  • Is communication transparent from top to bottom?
  • Does the organization value things like work/life balance and demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of the employees?

Notice how none of these questions involves compensation. Sure, you want to do your due diligence in finding a practice with a compensation plan that suits your needs, but you also want to be sure it feels good, too. Getting answers to these questions during the initial interview can make the difference between a successful experience and burnout.

Contact us if you’d like additional insight into working with a medical practice.

 

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Going Beyond Compensation: 3 Tips to Win Top Physician Candidates

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The volume of physicians who are looking for their next opportunity is surging right now. And with many states moving well into the re-opening phase, these physicians are accepting new roles. To win them over, it’s important to offer a competitive and well-rounded compensation and benefits package. But money alone isn’t likely to provide you with a steady stream of high-quality candidates who fit the culture and will succeed in the role.

To recruit and retain your ideal candidates in today’s crowded recruitment environment, it’s time to get creative. Here are three tips for success.

Know your ideal candidate’s needs and tailor the compensation/benefits package to that physician.

If you’re looking at early careerists, offer a student loan repayment or signing bonus. If you’re looking for a mid- or late-stage careerist, offer a retention bonus as a reward for staying put over a certain period of service, or a broader insurance package that might include long-term care insurance.

Offer a flexible work schedule, especially if you know the candidate has child rearing or parental responsibilities. Knowing your candidate also means knowing if he or she has reservations about the business obligations of working in a practice versus a hospital.

Be prepared to proudly show your investment in software and support staff to ease the burden of practice management. Consider the benefits of recruiting a “clinical scribe” from within the local community to enter EMR data, giving physicians more time to focus on their patients. Show your dedication to the value-based practice model and your commitment to preventing burnout on staff.

You might also impress candidates by being on the cutting-edge of the revival of the physicians’ lounge as a place for doctors to come together, gain a respite from the action of work and share ideas. Out of fashion for a time, the physicians’ lounge is making a comeback as a powerful deterrent against burnout, as described in a 2019 Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) article.

 

Solidify your recruitment process and marketing plan to attract your ideal candidate.

The new generation of physicians are savvy – and that goes beyond their preference for communicating via text, email, and social media. Many of them tell us that most mass-produced marketing materials go in the trash without a second look.

They know a canned sales pitch when they see or hear one, and they resent the intrusion on their personal and professional lives. What they appreciate most is personalized communication tailored specifically to them—illustrating an intricate understanding of their skills and background.

That doesn’t mean you should throw out social media and other digital forms of recruitment. Quite the opposite, in fact – physicians prefer to receive job opportunities via email. Also, check out a candidate’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages to get to know him or her early in the recruiting process. Some recruits even have their own blogs that provide keen insight into their interests, work ethic, and career goals. If you’ve developed a successful candidate persona—and you should have one—it’s a good way to see which candidates will be the best fit.

In addition, your recruiting firm can help you narrow your choices to those candidates who are native to your state, who grew up or went to school there, so you can emphasize that connection when you communicate with them.

As an executive partner with the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), we share best practices with the organization on the unique challenges of recruiting specifically to medical practices. Writes David N. Gans of MGMA’s industry affairs team, ideal candidates might be fully capable of starting their own private practice. Why would they want to sign up with an existing one? One reason is the ability to see nearly a full patient load from the start without taking the time to build their own patient panel. “That is a boon that sometimes you may not think about,” Gans says.

It’s a message well worth remembering in your communications with the candidates you want.

Ensure your interview process and candidate site visit is candidate- and family-focused.

Include key stakeholders, a tour of the community when travel is more practical again and be prepared to offer a sample contract if the candidate is your ideal fit. Remember that physicians and advanced practice providers are people, not numbers. They have families, friends, hobbies and interests that are important to them. Their individual needs, motivations, values and work styles significantly influence how and where they will choose to practice medicine. The more you can learn and adapt to these factors, the greater the opportunity to hire physicians who will fit, succeed and stay.

Invite key stakeholders to coffee or dinner to share their perspective on living and working in your area—what the schools are like, what elder care options are available if the candidate has aging parents, favorite recreational, social and cultural activities. Especially if your practice is in a rural community, it’s much easier for a candidate to imagine a transition to country life if he or she hears firsthand the stories of those who have already made it.

Contact us if you’d like additional insight into your own recruitment strategy as well as recommendations on ways to meet demand and attract the right physicians to your healthcare organization.

 

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