Primary Care Slated for Potential Boost in 2021 Physician Compensation

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The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has proven to be the ultimate test of the strength and resilience of the American healthcare system, and the backbone of highly skilled physicians and clinicians upon which it is based. And when it comes to physician compensation, the challenges created by the pandemic may have many physicians wondering what to expect in 2021, when the global and local impact of the pandemic hopefully begins to wane. The social distancing, quarantining and telehealth precautions and procedures adopted almost instantaneously, nationwide, in March of 2020, meant that elective surgeries came to a standstill and office visits dwindled to a trickle.

As a result, American healthcare systems saw furloughs, layoffs and staff reductions to an extent we couldn’t have predicted. According to the American Hospital Association, health systems and facilities in the U.S. lost more than $200 billion in the first quarter of 2020; MGMA research suggests that physician-practice income fell by as much as 55%, as clinics closed or patients chose to delay their visits.

The pandemic has surfaced questions about the efficacy of some of the existing compensation models and their ability to react to major systemic disruptions, while still providing physicians with the income they have come to depend on.

Major Issues in Primary Care

Primary care providers – family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and OB/GYN – were hit hard by 2020’s first round of clinic closures and service disruptions, especially those operating on a fee-for-service schedule.

A study conducted by Healthaffairs.org suggests that over the course of the year, primary care practices are expected to lose almost $68,000 in gross revenue, per provider, due to pandemic issues – leading to total systemic losses of more than $15 billion. And the number could be double that, they say, if CMS policies fast-tracking payment for telemedicine are only a short-lived fix.

Adding to the issues is the reality that primary care continues to experience a shortage of qualified physicians, for a variety of reasons. Even at the medical school level, some students are actively steered away from pursuing a career in primary care as medical specialists can and do, on average, earn twice as much as their primary care counterparts. And given the huge burden created by medical student loan debt, which has come to exceed $200,000 per physician on average, the incentive to pursue primary care after medical school has dwindled considerably.

According to Kaiser Health News, of 8,116 internal medicine residency positions offered to graduates in 2019, only 41.5% were filled by American medical students – and many of those may elect to ultimately pursue a fellowship in another specialty. As a result, the American Association of Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of 21,400 to 55,200 primary care practitioners by the year 2033.

CMS Proposes Long-due Changes that Increase Reimbursement for Primary Care

One particularly bright spot has appeared that might help to ease the financial burdens and ultimately entice more physicians to choose primary care. The 2021 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Physician Fee Schedule, set to be finalized December 1 and put into effect in 2021, proposes an array of changes aimed at addressing primary care issues, including higher reimbursement rates for evaluation and management (E/M) services such as office visits and care management services, as well as a renewed emphasis on telehealth procedures.

Primary care procedures and treatments ranging from electronic home visits to outpatient or prolonged virtual office visits have all been permanently added to Medicare’s lists; rest home visits, emergency visits and even psychological testing are also covered during the duration of the Covid-19 public health emergency.

Further, streamlined EMR documentation requirements for primary care doctors also mean more face-to-face time with Medicare-covered patients, lightening the bureaucratic burden and upping patient numbers. According to the American Association of Family Physicians, the increase in total allowed charges for primary care doctors is now slated for 13%. Given that Medicare spending grew by 6.4% in 2018 to $750.2 billion and Medicaid also grew by 3.0% to $597.4 billion – some 37% of national health expenditures in the entire country – the CMS changes represent a significant reinvestment in primary care.

Admittedly, other specialty areas are less enthused by the CMS’s proposed changes in priority. In order to pay primary care providers more, cuts in payments to surgery and other specialists have been made, in an effort to maintain budget neutrality. The proposed ruling calls for a 9% cut to cardiac surgery, 7% to vascular surgery, 7% for general surgery and 6% to ophthalmology procedures, versus 2020 rates.

Organizations such as the American Medical Association are urging the CMS to treat all physicians fairly, and are upset that radiologists, pathologists and anesthesiologists could be impacted by the realignment of fees, with further delays in treatment, compounding the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Other Compensation Trends in 2021

With so many specialists facing the reality of lower incomes in 2020 as a result of lower patient volumes, both physicians and facilities have also used this year’s rollercoaster ride to reexamine the fee-for-service model. According to the National Law Review, the long-term fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to prompt a greater move toward value-based metrics as part of physician compensation.

“The new approach to physician compensation will mimic what we have seen in recent Medicare models, such as accountable care organizations. Outcomes-based, quality-based and population-based compensation arrangements will become more common,” the magazine notes.

Other Financial Benefits and Perks are on the Table

Primary care physicians looking for a new practice opportunity should also keep in mind that salary is just one component of a larger compensation package, as employers look to remain competitive and build long-term relationships to encourage physician retention.

Add-on features ranging from student loan forgiveness and housing allowances to sign-on bonuses are now part of the perks offered to help attract and retain the right physician candidates. Low-interest loans, deferred compensation, personal financial advisors or even time for sabbaticals and research projects are all on the table, as healthcare employers seek to build a happier and more productive workplace for their physician employees.

The Only Thing That is Certain is Change

 2020 has definitely been a challenging year, in so many different ways. Doctors are not only saving the world, quite literally, but many are making less money as a result of the pandemic, and working incredibly long, stressful hours. At the end of the day, you have to decide what you want for yourself and your family. Does that require a relocation to be closer to loved ones? A move away from a role as a self-employed practitioner, or decision to strike out on your own or become a medical practice partner? Reimbursement rates and compensation models will continue to change as the industry searches for a solution to the financial complexities that is healthcare.

If you’re looking for a new position, things are picking up in terms of physician recruitment after a six-month lull in the market. This means you have more access to positions that are a better fit your career, and your lifestyle. To connect with a nationally recognized physician recruitment firm, reach out to the healthcare industry professionals at Jackson Physician Search today. You can also search our open positions here.

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The Three R’s of Physician Staffing: Recruitment, Retention, and Retirement

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Jackson Physician Search President Tony Stajduhar discussed the current state of physician staffing and what healthcare organizations can do to succeed in the competitive physician hiring marketplace at the recent MGMA Medical Practice Excellence Conference (MPEC20). In his presentation, Tony broke it down into three distinct categories: Recruitment, Retention, and Retirement. We’ll dive into each of these over the next three weeks, empowering your organization to be well-prepared to meet patient demand now and into the future.

Current State of Physician Staffing

Even though much of the world’s attention has been appropriately focused on battling COVID-19, the healthcare industry continues to face challenges that existed prior to the pandemic. The physician shortage has long been a topic of great concern, and while the pandemic has led to a temporary reduction in new physician searches, it won’t erase the problem. According to American Association of Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) research, the U.S. is facing shortages of anywhere between 54,000 and 139,000 physicians by 2033 and few would be surprised if next year’s projections are even worse.

Exacerbating the physician shortage projections is the reality that almost 30% of all physicians are at or near retirement age. Some reports even suggest that COVID-19 may influence near-retiring physicians to accelerate their plans once the pandemic is behind us.

Question asked by MGMA MPEC20 attendee: Are you seeing an increase in the number of physicians moving away from areas that are prone to natural disasters, or crisis situations?

Tony’s response: Yes, we are seeing an increase in physicians being interested in relocating – about 10%. Crisis leads some people to re-evaluate their choices and there has been an increase in the number of physicians who want to move closer to their families.

Additionally, increasing the number of practicing physicians has proven to be a significant challenge. For years, Congress has put forth legislation to increase the number of residency slots to train tomorrow’s doctors. Each time, the legislation has stalled. So, while more physicians are enrolling in medical school than ever before (up 31% since 2002), residency slots haven’t kept pace (up only 1% a year).

For a time, it appeared that the physician shortfall could be filled by foreign-born doctors, but even that has proven to be an uphill climb. Especially in today’s post-COVID world, the United States is experiencing greater than normal Visa processing backlogs, in addition to travel restrictions that are impacting the numbers of foreign doctors that want to practice here.

Read 5 Ways to Move the Needle on the Physician Shortage

With the physician shortage here to stay, the healthcare industry is forced to do more with less. This highlights the importance of ensuring that every aspect of an organization’s physician staffing strategy is operating at peak efficiency. Let’s dive in.

The First R: Recruitment

The current state of physician staffing may sound discouraging, but there are always ways to overcome a challenging environment. Considering the restrictions of the past year, it is essential for healthcare organizations to continually upgrade their physician sourcing strategies to meet today’s technological advantages.

Doing it the way you have always done it, is not going to cut it in today’s competitive physician marketplace. This means fully embracing a digital strategy that is faster, more cost-effective, and designed to help you connect with physicians in the digital realm where they are already active.

One of the biggest challenges is identifying the right candidate when only 11% of physicians are actively seeking new opportunities. The good news is that 76% of doctors might be interested in a new position, but they aren’t really looking. Those passive candidates are where your efforts should be directed. The key is to capture their attention by standing out from the crowd.

With so much competition for quality candidates, “How do you rise above the noise?”  Simply put, like the rest of us, 94% of physicians use their smartphones for both personal and professional needs. Plus, 87% of your target audience aged 36 to 55 years old are active on social media. Even 65% of physicians over age 55 are using social media, making a sound social media approach vital to your digital sourcing strategy.

Another approach that is gathering steam is the utilization of mass text messaging to reach candidates.

Traditionally, 95% of physicians point to email as the preferred means of contact regarding job opportunities. However, even with email being a preference, it doesn’t mean they want to be bombarded with emails that are not relevant to their interests. Sending mass emails, often referred to as the “spray and pray” method, only succeeds in creating noise in your candidates’ inbox. The smarter approach is to take the time to understand and segment your target audience to ensure that your message reaches those that are the most relevant to your search.

A creative, agile, digital recruitment strategy will always include content that physicians find relevant. This means capturing their attention by highlighting the work/life benefits, organizational and workplace culture, as well as compensation and career opportunities.

Question asked by MGMA MPEC20 attendee: Is LinkedIn a good place to recruit physicians?

Tony’s response: It can be and we’ve had some success, but more than 80% of physicians belong to Doximity. It remains the best social site to invest your time and dollars into when you are recruiting via social media. We believe in it so much that every one of our recruiters has a license, which is something no other firm can say.

Another way to set your organization apart from the masses is by cultivating a brand that lets candidates know who you are and what you believe in. Raise brand awareness by associating your brand with industry thought leaders. Sharing relevant content and articles through social media channels effectively creates a network of candidates drawn to your brand and messaging.

Why Fit and Culture is Important

In their own words, physicians express their desire to work for an organization that shares their beliefs and values.  Employees in any line of work tend to stay in a job where they feel connected to the organizational mission and values. And this leads us to the second ‘R’ in successful physician staffing, Retention.

In the next article of our three-part series, we are going to take a deep dive into the importance of focusing on physicians who ‘Fit’ and the role ‘Culture’ plays in successful retention. We will also provide you with strategies for assessing, understanding, and clearly communicating your workplace culture, so you can make stronger physician hiring decisions.

If you need a strategic recruitment partner to help you navigate physician recruiting during the pandemic and beyond, 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.

Missed the MGMA MPEC20 Conference?

Watch Mastering the Three R’s of Physician Staffing

 

How to Drive Retention by Creating an Inclusive Workplace

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Physician Recruitment Amid Coronavirus - Keeping Your 2021 Staffing Plan on Track

Physician Recruitment Amid the Pandemic – Keeping Your 2021 Staffing Plan on Track

For administrators who are understandably stretched thin during the pandemic, taking their eyes off physician recruitment could put their 2021 staffing plan at risk. Let’s take a deeper dive…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

[Case Study] How One Medical Group Secured a Family Medicine Physician in Two Weeks

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Challenge

A 330-bed acute care hospital located in a south Texas community of more than 100,000 people was finding it a challenge to attract physician candidates who were both a clinical and cultural fit. The leadership team recognized how the growing physician shortage coupled with a seemingly endless supply of open positions, required multiple resources and a structured approach. And, since the group no longer employed an in-house physician recruiter, a search was initiated for a recruitment partner.

Solution

The leadership team interviewed Jackson Physician Search Divisional Vice President Brent Barnacle and quickly understood why our 100% digital sourcing strategy was superior in attracting candidates. With only 11% of candidates actively looking for new opportunities, recruitment success today relies on reaching passive candidates.

Scroll down to continue reading or download the Case Study.

JPS-2020-case-study-Citizens

Solution Continued

The physician shortage itself makes recruitment a complicated endeavor, but the difficulty is multiplied for those located in smaller communities due to a continuing provider maldistribution. Data shows that 20% of the population lives in these areas, yet only 8% of physicians are practicing there.

In addition to meeting patient demand, the financial toll of an unplanned or lengthy physician vacancy is steep. A facility can face over $1 Million per physician in lost revenue, while the cost to recruit is upwards of $250,000 (search expenses, sign-on bonus, relocation costs, etc.)

The leadership team interviewed Jackson Physician Search Divisional Vice President Brent Barnacle and quickly understood why our 100% digital sourcing strategy was superior in attracting candidates. With only 11% of candidates actively looking for new opportunities, recruitment success today relies on reaching passive candidates.

Direct mail has become an inefficient sourcing strategy, because it doesn’t build a pathway for immediate engagement of passive candidates. Brent demonstrated that our opted-in database of more than 400,000 physicians provided the talent pool it needed to reach. And, by sending job opportunities via targeted emails, social media (including Doximity, a network that engages more than 80% of all physicians), and national job boards, we have the resources and proven process to attract and deliver candidates.

Result

The speed in which Search Consultant Dan Rixon was able to source candidates impressed the medical group. But more importantly, the first placement was made in just two weeks, seven months faster than the national average. This drastically reduced time-to-fill potentially saved the medical group more than $500,000 in lost revenue.

Having gained the medical group’s confidence in our digital sourcing and recruitment process and trust in our transparent fee structure, we have since been retained for multiple searches and have already made an additional three placements – with more to come.

About Jackson Physician Search

Jackson Physician Search is an established industry leader in physician recruitment and pioneered the recruitment methodologies standard in the industry today. The firm specializes in the permanent recruitment of physicians, physician leaders and advanced practice providers for hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers and medical groups across the United States. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., the company is recognized for its track record of results built on client trust and transparency of processes and fees. Jackson Physician Search is part of the Jackson Healthcare® family of companies.

To speak further about your physician and advanced practice provider recruitment needs, please contact Jackson Physician Search.

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Tony Stajduhar Published in MGMA Connection – Tight Physician Market in a Post-COVID-19 World Calls for Competitive Compensation

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The year 2020 has been a remarkably challenging period for the healthcare industry, with intense pressure on physicians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors have learned to cope with new safety protocols, while much of the industry has absorbed the financial impact of reduced elective procedures and patient volumes. And those providers on the frontlines of acute care have worked tirelessly helping patients in need, risking their health in the process.

In an average year, approximately 6% to 7% of the physician workforce changes jobs or location, meaning approximately 50,000 physicians will accept new positions in 2020 alone.1 Even in today’s softer recruitment environment in which more doctors are temporarily available, hiring remains a sizeable investment — up to $250,000 for a single candidate when you factor marketing, sign-on bonus, relocation stipend and other expenses.2 Interview costs alone can total approximately $30,000 per candidate.3

It’s also a time-consuming ordeal, requiring 7.3 months on average to fill a family medicine role and 7.9 months for a surgical specialist such as a cardiologist, according to Jackson Physician Search’s Recruitment ROI Calculator. Respectively, those vacancies can lead to $503,000 and $1,607,000 in lost revenue for a medical group.

Demographic trends are contributing to a growing doctor shortage: Some estimates suggest that 30% of the physician population is at or near retirement age. Combine that with the prohibitively large costs involved in training to be a doctor and decades of student loan debt, and we are seeing an ever-increasing void in the specialist community.

As the business of healthcare returns to relative normal, it is the ideal time to resuscitate your physician recruitment process. Searches have decreased as much as 25% to 50% for some healthcare organizations and medical groups. Operational cutbacks and mandates to cancel or delay elective surgeries have meant that overall revenues are down, making recruiting of non-essential employees a lower priority. But essential physicians remain in high demand.

(cont. on MGMA.com)

Read the Entire Article on MGMA.com

Need Help Recruiting Physicians, Physician Leaders, and Advanced Practice Providers? Learn about Jackson Physician Search’s Executive Partnership with MGMA.

Jackson Physician Search is an established industry leader in physician recruitment and pioneered the recruitment methodologies standard in the industry today. The firm specializes in the permanent recruitment of physicians, physician leaders and advanced practice providers for hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers and medical groups across the United States. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., the company is recognized for its track record of results built on client trust and transparency of processes and fees. Jackson Physician Search is part of the Jackson Healthcare® family of companies. For more information, visit www.jacksonphysiciansearch.com.

Sound Emergency Preparedness Plans Consider the Impact of Physician Vacancies

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The pandemic has given hospital administrators the unwanted experience of activating their emergency operations plans or emergency preparedness plans. With no immediate end in sight, preparing for the next spike in infections or, alternatively, the next natural disaster is top of mind throughout healthcare organizations.

Granted, no emergency preparedness plan can cover every conceivable situation as well as a hospital would like, especially since it can be difficult to maintain ideal physician staffing levels due to the growing physician shortage. But the more scenarios your healthcare facility is prepared for, the more effective your response will be when crisis strikes.

A formal Emergency Operations Plan outlines how a healthcare facility will respond to and manage an emergency. It includes the following six categories:

  • Communications
  • Resources and assets
  • Safety and security
  • Staff responsibilities
  • Utilities
  • Clinical support activities

By taking an “all hazards” approach, hospitals are well-equipped to address a crisis, just as they continue to do with COVID-19. But no matter how well prepared a facility is for an unexpected emergency, physician vacancies can cause derailment.

First, Consider Your Physician Community Needs Assessment

It’s customary for hospitals to partake in a periodic physician community needs assessment to determine proper staffing levels by specialty. This staffing plan also serves to lay the groundwork for physician recruitment.

In addition to identifying physician specialties that need to be added to your current staff to meet demand, you need to plan for physician retirements. With two out of five doctors reaching retirement age this year, now is the time to initiate retirement discussions with your senior staff so you can build in sufficient time to recruit.

Our recent retirement survey showed physicians feel six months is plenty of retirement notice, while administrators want one to three years notice. Clearly there is a disconnect, which could expose risks to your staffing plan.

-> Download The Realities of Physician Retirement Whitepaper

Normal physician turnover will also affect your staffing plan. Up to 7% or 50,000 physicians relocate for a new position each year. Practicing continuous physician recruitment can help to minimize the downside of turnover by keeping your physician pipeline full. Fostering a positive relationship with candidates now ensures that you will have physicians ready to join your organization when you have an opportunity.

Next, Identify Emergencies Your Facility May Face

As with any plan, there is no one-size-fits-all solution because your organization may have to react differently based on the type of emergency. In general, your team should discuss the “big three” when deciding on how to develop your emergency plans. The most common emergencies will be related to medical, environmental, and violence or civil disturbance. Over the past eight months, the U.S. has sadly experienced all three of these.

It is essential that for each type of emergency, you have identified the primary threats to the safety of patients and staff, as well as any threats that impair the functionality and capacity of your operations. Different emergencies will contain various threats meaning you may need different protocols.

Develop Emergency Protocols

Thorough, well-defined protocols allow your providers and staff to act with efficiency and confidence, rather than getting caught up in the chaos of trying to figure out what to do next. Local emergency response officials can be valuable resources for planning and developing your response protocols. Whether they are directly involved in the preparation or if they are used as a resource to provide input or assess what you have in place, they will have access to state and federal information that may not be readily available.

Another critical aspect of your emergency protocols is that they are not created as person-specific responsibilities but should be position-centric. Anytime someone is covering a job for another staff member who is on vacation or otherwise unavailable, that person should be aware of any emergency protocols that are included with those job responsibilities.

Conduct Training and Simulations

If your facility has experienced a surge in COVID-19 patients, you already have a clear indication of how well your emergency response plan supported the actions that needed to be taken. You also know how familiar your staff was with the established protocols. Whether your assessment is that everything went smoothly or that the plan was lacking, the experience should be used as a learning tool for improvement.

The current crisis has taught us that emergency preparedness plans are something that should not only be revisited at periodic intervals but discussed and revised in earnest. Further, training should be scheduled and mandatory for all staff at regular intervals to ensure that the concepts are clear and understood.

Maintaining Emergency Supplies

Nobody could have predicted the scale of the PPE shortage when COVID-19 hit, but it’s a reminder that having protocols in place to routinely inventory emergency medications and supplies is important. It is also good practice to ensure none of the products or packaging are compromised, expirations are regularly checked, and that the supplies are separated from everyday supplies so they are not mistakenly used.

An Ounce of Prevention

While the steps above are not inclusive of every aspect of an emergency preparedness plan, hopefully they serve as prompters to initiate a discussion about areas where improvement could be needed. We have also included some helpful links below.

As you review your emergency preparedness plan, reflect on the status of your current physician openings. If you’re located in a rural area, need a specialist that is historically tough to recruit, or haven’t been attracting a steady pipeline of physician candidates to meet your staffing plan goals, reach out to Jackson Physician Search. Our recruitment team has access to a deep pool of physician candidates and an established nationwide network to help you fill even the most challenging vacancies.

Emergency Preparedness Resources

 

Strong leadership and a Supportive Culture are Key to Recruiting and Retaining Physicians in the New Normal

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Physician Recruitment Amid Coronavirus - Keeping Your 2021 Staffing Plan on Track

Physician Recruitment Amid the Pandemic – Keeping Your 2021 Staffing Plan on Track

For administrators who are understandably stretched thin during the pandemic, taking their eyes off physician recruitment could put their 2021 staffing plan at risk. Let’s take a deeper dive…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

Take Stock of Physician Burnout, Well-being on World Mental Health Day

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World Mental Health Day falls this year on Saturday, October 10th, and organizations worldwide are raising awareness about mental illness and removing the stigma of seeking mental health treatment. World Mental Health Day was first recognized in 1992, and with the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting communities across the globe, this year’s events seem more relevant than ever.

Considering the chaos and challenges of the past eight months, a critical aspect to consider is how the pandemic has impacted the physician burnout rates, well-being, and mental health of our healthcare heroes, including physicians, nurses, and other providers serving on the frontlines.

In the United States – pre-COVID-19 – 45% of our physicians reported experiencing feelings of burnout at least weekly, and some studies show the rate is actually much higher. Also, an article reported that 20% of medical residents struggled with depression, further supporting the troubling trend of physicians having the highest rate of suicide compared to other professions. In fact, it’s estimated that 300 physicians die by suicide each year in the U.S.

Sadly, physicians rarely seek treatment, or they opt to self-medicate. A 2019 paper in Missouri Medicine, The Journal of the Missouri State Medical Association and published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information site explains that a little over 27% of medical students showed symptoms of depression but only 15.7% reached out for professional treatment.

While a mental health illness and physician burnout aren’t one in the same, both have devastating effects on physicians, their patients, and their families. And with 7.5+ million COVID cases and 210,000+ deaths to date, the lasting effects on physicians and other healthcare workers will not be known for some time. From providing care to wave upon wave of those infected, to worrying about having adequate PPE, to being concerned about exposing loved ones, physicians are at risk of experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Take Stock of Your Mental Health Through a Self-assessment

During this week leading up to World Mental Health Day, it is an important time for all physicians to do a self-assessment and seek appropriate treatment if you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, suicide ideation, other stress disorders, or PTSD. Symptoms may include:

  • Recurring dreams, flashbacks, thoughts, or constant reminders of traumatic experiences.
  • Not being able to share your thoughts or feelings about the trauma, or avoiding situations that remind you of it.
  • Noticeable negative thoughts about yourself or the world around you. Feelings of irritability, hopelessness, and being emotionally numb.
  • Having feelings of detachment, memory lapses, and a lack of interest in activities you would typically enjoy.

An Ounce of Prevention May Stave Off Feelings of Depression

With so much about the COVID-19 crisis still unknown, and with no clear end in sight, physicians should continue to monitor levels of depression and stress – even if you’re currently coping well. Additionally, consider the following pro-active steps to counteract the negative impact the pandemic may have on your mental health and overall well-being.

  1. Talk about your feelings. One of the simplest, but most often ignored ways to relieve stress and anxiety is to talk about it. Whether you sit down with a mental health professional, a trusted colleague, a professional physician coach, or a loved one, speaking freely about how you are feeling can be a release from your internal struggles.
  2. Practice what you preach. In the past, how many times have you counseled a patient to find ways to get more rest, employ a healthier diet, and engage in regular physical activity? Now, more than ever, these basic coping strategies should be implemented into your daily routine as much as practical.
  3. Turn off social media. Just as you might tell your teenager to cut back on screen time, you should follow suit yourself. Today’s political and social environment means that just spending a few minutes scrolling through social media sites can be enough to raise your stress levels. If you have a few minutes of downtime, use your smartphone to read a chapter of your favorite book or listen to music.
  4. Take a break. If possible, take your scheduled vacation, even if it means a staycation. Reconnecting with loved ones and relishing in your hobbies can bring feelings of much-needed normalcy.
  5. Take solace in the importance of your work. While the past eight months may feel like more than you signed up for, you were called to medicine for a reason. Through the frustrations, challenges, and worries, the practice of medicine is a noble and worthy pursuit. Take a moment to remind yourself of the importance of your work and recognize that the sacrifices being made by yourself and your colleagues are invaluable.
  6. Finally, do not self-medicate. Trust a healthcare professional to assess your symptoms and prescribe a course of treatment. Getting past the fear of judgment or negative stigma associated with mental illness may be difficult, but it has been documented that non-depressed physicians make fewer errors – and you’ll feel better.

While World Mental Health Day is a good reminder to highlight the mental health of physicians during this pandemic and have empathy for those who are struggling, the feelings of depression, burnout, stress, and fatigue are not going to magically disappear once COVID-19 becomes a historical discussion, much like H1N1 and SARS. Physicians will be dealing with the aftereffects of this crisis well beyond, making it vitally important to take appropriate actions now. Practice self-care and also be mindful of the mental illness warning signs in your colleagues. Sometimes it takes an uncomfortable – but brave – conversation to save a life or a career.

Resources for Anonymous Help

Remember that you are not alone, and there are resources available to help you through these troubling times. Physicians can call the Physicians Support Line at (888) 409-0141 for free, anonymous counseling. Another free resource providing peer-to-peer programs designed to provide support, connection, encouragement, and skill-building to help physicians combat burnout, is PeerRxMed. Finally, physicians and others in crisis can always contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.

If, upon reflection, you decide now is the right time to explore new career opportunities, Jackson Physician Search has a team of healthcare industry experts who can guide you every step of the way. We have the experience, network, and nationwide reach to work with you in finding a practice setting that gets you closer to achieving your career and life goals. Contact our team of physician recruitment professionals today and find out how we can make a difference for you.

physicians doing yoga

Now More Than Ever, Physicians Should Practice Self-Care

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Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

[Recruitment Guide] How to Deliver an Exceptional On-site Physician Interview

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Physicians continue to express interest in new job opportunities despite the continuing pandemic. With an annual turnover rate of 6-7%, two out of five physicians reaching retirement age, and a physician shortage now projected at 139,000 by 2033 per the AAMC, strategic physician recruitment must carry on.

Wired for adaptability, hospital and medical group administrators and physician recruiters have found creative ways to continue recruiting knowing 2021 staffing plan goals must be achieved. But for those physicians who are interested in a particular role and deemed a strong clinical and cultural fit, the on-site interview may bring a wave of anxiety not previously experienced.

The “new normal” means air travel is more stressful, mandatory quarantines in some circumstances make it difficult for a physician from one state to interview in another within a reasonable time frame, and the opportunity for a community tour may be limited. Additionally, gone are the days when you can expect a physician to return for a second interview. Now, you have to nail the physician interview experience the first time and give the candidate that “wow” experience.

To help, we’ve assembled a step-by-step recruitment guide on how to deliver an exceptional on-site interview experience. Download it to put your organization in the best position to reduce your time-to-fill, increase your interview-to-hire ratio, and maximize your recruitment ROI.

 

Why is it so Important to Nail the First Interview?

It comes down to the power of the first impression. It may seem counterintuitive, but follow-up interviews do not necessarily increase the likelihood that a physician will accept your offer. Plus, multiple interviews drive up your cost per hire, as well as impact your ability to meet patient care demands and revenue goals.

No two physician are alike, and neither are their needs when considering a new position, especially when it includes a relocation. A highly customized experience is essential. Every on-site interview should include two parts:

  1. Interviews with all key stakeholders.
  2. A personalized community tour.

After you’ve done everything in your power to identify a physician who will fit in your culture and is interested in the opportunity, you’ll want to create a welcoming interview experience that reflects your organization’s unique strengths.

Start by planning the interview for greatest impact. Structure a comprehensive, well-organized interview that leaves no questions unanswered, and have your A-players demonstrate alignment with organizational mission and values.

Healthcare administrators and recruiters who coordinate a well-planned, efficiently delivered, on-site interview experience will be more successful in influencing a candidate’s decision to accept the job offer. You’ll also position your organization to:

  • Rise above the competition.
  • Earn the trust of the physician and spouse.
  • Become their number one choice.

Also, most organizations understand the high costs of conducting multiple interviews with a candidate. But since only 27% of candidates we surveyed as part of our 2020 Physician Interview Experience White Paper decided to accept the position on the way home from the first interview, it appears that few deliver an interview experience that will improve speedy offer acceptance.

Candidates who decided to accept on the way home reported:

  • 89% had all questions answered.
  • 61% received a written offer within a week.
  • 80% felt excited and 82% felt welcomed.
  • Ranked alignment with the organization’s mission and values at a 9.2/10.

Download the Recruitment Guide to learn more about the two parts of an exceptional on-site interview experience and to review a helpful interview checklist.

To speak further about your interview process or for help with your physician and advanced practice provider recruitment needs, contact Jackson Physician Search.

[White Paper] 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey

President of Jackson Physician Search, Tony Stajduhar, reviews the results of our recent Physician Interview Experience survey and provides a best-in-class recruitment and interview process…

How an Act of Kindness Helped a Rural Medical Group Recruit Its Newest Physician

Find out how a Women’s Health Center in a community of 30,000 people in western North Dakota recruited an OB/GYN by ‘wowing’ the candidate with an act of kindness and a customized community tour…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

How an Act of Kindness Helped a Rural Medical Group Recruit Its Newest Physician

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Healthcare facilities in rural or “less popular” locations face an uphill climb in physician recruitment due to the growing physician shortage and maldistribution of providers. So, when a physician candidate shows genuine interest in the opportunity and appears to be both a clinical and cultural fit, a well-organized, on-site physician interview that includes a customized community tour is your best opportunity to seal the deal.

A Women’s Health Center in a community of 30,000 people in western North Dakota needed to recruit an OB/GYN to join its practice and came to Jackson Physician Search for help. Located close to the borders of Montana and Canada, the leadership team knew it needed a targeted and agile recruitment strategy that would identify physician candidates who would be a great fit overall with the group and who wouldn’t be turned off by long, windy winters in a remote location.

Since the Women’s Health Center had already received notice from the departing physician, identifying candidates quickly was a big concern. To alleviate that, Jackson Physician Search Divisional Vice-President Brent Barnacle shared with the leadership team that our 100% digital sourcing strategy allows for real-time adjustments to improve physician targeting and messaging strategy, often resulting in reduced time-to-fill.

Highlight the Strengths, Minimize the Weaknesses

While it is not always possible – especially during COVID-19 – a key component of successful recruitment is developing a comprehensive profile for the physician vacancy by traveling to the facility, meeting with key stakeholders and staff, and touring the community. As the health center’s ambassador, Jackson Physician Search Regional Vice-President of Recruiting Tara Osseck began the search by making the effort to fully understand the location, workplace culture, leadership philosophy, and staff. During the profile visit, she was also able to spend valuable time with the departing physician, who provided further insight about short- and long-term opportunities available to the right physician.

This first-hand knowledge is how Tara was able to look beyond the CV and identify candidates who were an ideal fit. By focusing on the many strengths of the opportunity, Tara connected with Dr. W and immediately had a sense that she would be an excellent fit. Originally from Toronto, Canada and currently in residency at the University of Buffalo, in New York State, Dr. W was not opposed to North Dakota winters but did have concerns about the remote location making travel to visit family difficult.

A strong match clinically and culturally, the candidate was open to considering the opportunity. Tara and the leadership team worked together to create a “red carpet” interview experience tailored to the physician’s individual needs. While at the facility, Dr. W met with all key stakeholders, physicians, and staff.

It was also crucial for Dr. W to spend time socially with leadership and her colleagues so that she would feel welcomed as part of the team and excited about the opportunity – two key factors physicians consider when deciding to accept or reject a job offer as noted in the 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey. Additionally, she received a full community tour and was able to see for herself that everything she enjoyed outside of her career was readily available.

“This client mastered the art of the client/recruiter relationship and adopted recommended best-practices to provide presented candidates with a “red carpet” experience during the entire recruitment, negotiation and onboarding process. It made all the difference!”  

– Tara Osseck, Regional Vice-President of Recruiting

Small – but Meaningful Gestures – Helped the Physician Recognize Just How Much Her New Practice Cared.

The leadership team was very impressed with the physician from the moment Tara presented her. They felt she had the perfect interpersonal dynamics and practice approach that would mesh perfectly within the physician group. In such a competitive market, one small way that they were able to set themselves apart for Dr. W was the effort they put into learning about and understanding her.

To start, they helped Dr. W tap into North Dakota’s sponsored grant program to offset her medical student loan debt – a relief to a physician coming out of residency.

And knowing that she had family living in Canada, they routed her flight home from the on-site interview and community tour through Toronto. This not only allowed her to spend time with loved ones as she considered a major career decision, but also showed her how easy it would be to visit once she was living in North Dakota.

This small act of kindness left an impression on Dr. W and demonstrated just how aligned and connected she already felt with the leadership team and staff. Delighted, she received an offer and signed her contract shortly afterwards.

From Search Initiation to Placement in Under 90 Days

The leadership team and Tara partnered seamlessly to achieve a time-to-fill that is half of the national average. Some highlights that contributed to this success include:

  • Excellent communication. From the profile visit to weekly recruitment updates, the leadership team was readily available, pulled in partners for pertinent discussions, and provided timely feedback about presented candidates.
  • Market-competitive compensation and benefits package. The leadership team was open to adjusting the compensation package to meeting the needs of the candidate. Younger physicians often have different priorities than late careerists.
  • Designed a well-planned, on-site interview experience. Included all key stakeholders in the interview process and tailored the community tour to the candidate’s interests and needs.
  • Left no questions unanswered. The leadership team knew the practice from the inside out, including schedule and call requirements, patient volumes, equipment and ensured that every clinical and business question was answered.

“Recruiting an OB/GYN Physician to a smaller community in North Dakota in under 90 days is almost unheard of. It’s a testament to our recruitment methodology, by combining both the art of and science of candidate sourcing, Tara was able to match the right candidate to the right job.

– Brent Barnacle, Divisional Vice-President

Brent, Tara, and the rest of the Jackson Physician Search recruitment team are well-versed in helping healthcare organizations find, recruit, and retain physicians who are a clinical and cultural fit. Contact us today to learn how our track record is built on trust and transparency.

Key Takeaway From the 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey: Six Steps to Delivering an On-Site Interview that Wins Over Physicians

  1. Commit to a single, comprehensive on-site interview that is customized for the candidate and leave no questions unanswered.
  2. Designate key players in the interview process.
  3. Generate feelings of collegiality, excitement, and a sense of being welcome.
  4. Clearly communicate the shared values and mission of your organization.
  5. Tailor the community tour to the candidate and their family.

 

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. So, when a healthcare facility in Alabama came to us in the middle of COVID-19…

 

[White Paper] 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey

President of Jackson Physician Search, Tony Stajduhar, reviews the results of our recent Physician Interview Experience survey and provides a best-in-class recruitment and interview process…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

Guide to Keeping Your Staffing and Recruitment Plans on Track During the Pandemic

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Jackson Physician Search Senior Consultant Kyle Knox was recently invited by the New Hampshire Hospital Association and the Maine Hospital Association to present “Keeping Your Staffing/Recruitment Plans on Track in Today’s Reality” via webinar.

As COVID-19 continues to usher in a new normal for hospitals and medical groups, healthcare providers are focused on the daily blocking and tackling of the situation, including the primary goal of saving the lives of patients who fall ill, while healthcare administrators are forced to keep a watchful eye on the resulting financial realities.

With the updated physician shortage projections by AAMC showing an increasingly competitive physician recruitment environment, healthcare administrators and in-house physician recruiters are closely re-evaluating their staffing plan needs and recruitment strategies. Physician recruitment often requires upwards of 6-12 months to source, interview, and hire a candidate and comes at a cost of near $250K for recruitment, relocation, salary, and incentives. Additionally, a single physician vacancy can result in lost revenue of $1M or more per year, and it interrupts patient care.

In today’s new reality, hospitals and medical groups are demanding a more effective and efficient recruitment strategy, whether recruitment happens in-house or in tandem with a recruitment partner like Jackson Physician Search. While the revenue that providers bring to a hospital pales in comparison, staffing costs are estimated at 60% or more of a healthcare organization’s financial expenditures, making this a critical priority. Review the presentation below for tips and strategies you can implement in your physician recruitment and retention plan.

From this Presentation, You Will Learn:

  1. How the pandemic has changed the face of physician and provider recruitment.
  2. The motivations and personal needs of providers who are considering new roles, as well as how to align your cultural strengths with their expectations.
  3. Best-practice methodologies to effectively attract physician candidates who are a clinical fit and who are interested in the role, and how to retain them long-term.

Please feel free to reach out to Kyle Knox at kknox@jacksonphysiciansearch.com with any questions.

 

If you need a strategic recruitment partner to help you navigate physician recruiting during the pandemic and beyond, 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.

Strong Leadership and a Supportive Culture are Key to Recruiting and Retaining Physicians in the New Normal

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….

Overcoming COVID-19 Recruitment Challenages Through Collaboration and Creativity

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…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

[Infographic Guide] Physician Do’s and Don’ts for the On-Site Interview and Community Tour

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Congrats! You’ve landed the coveted on-site interview and community tour. To make the most of this important part of the process, learn the Physician Do’s and Don’ts.

 

Physician Do’s and Don’ts for the On-Site Visit

5 Do’s:

  1. Do Have a Game Plan and Conduct a Background Check
  2. Do Prepare Questions
  3. Do Make the Best Impression
  4. Do Research the Community
  5. Do Establish a Strong Relationship with a Recruiter

5 Don’ts:

  1. Don’t Spend Too Much Time on Compensation
  2. Don’t Leave Your Family Out
  3. Don’t Forget to Have Fun
  4. Don’t Hesistate to Chat With a Neighbor or Someone at the Local Coffee Shop
  5. Don’t Overlook the Details

The Physician Interview: Looking Beyond the On-Campus Meetings

When considering a new position, physicians should evaluate the opportunity though two lenses: career and lifestyle…..

Nail the Physician Interview to Land the Job – Preparation is Key to Success

The on-site physician interview is a pivotal moment for physicians seeking a new job opportunity, and it signifies that you’re one step closer to receiving a job offer….

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