Solving the Physician Shortage: Making Licensing Waivers Permanent

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The ongoing COVID-19 crisis in America has been a real test of the scope and resolve of our healthcare community, with physicians, nurses and support staff stepping up in even the most dangerous circumstances to help save patients’ lives.

It has also offered a unique opportunity for physicians to do what is often a tremendously difficult proposition – that is, to practice medicine in other states, without going through the often laborious process of re-licensing for each jurisdiction.

Temporary national licensing waivers allowed thousands of doctors to travel to virus hotspots like New York City and join the fight against coronavirus, not to mention scores of other physicians volunteering their services, far away from their homes. The pandemic has also relaxed rules to let out-of-state physicians provide much-needed telehealth visits to patients across the country, while their patients may be a thousand miles away, safely sheltered at home. And considering that telehealth usage jumped as much as 4,300% at one New York hospital in a six-week period, patients definitely appreciated the extra resources.

A Massive Doctor Shortage Lies Ahead

While these waivers certainly seem like easy ways to offer Americans care in a time of extreme need, they represent quite revolutionary changes for physician licensure. In a way, COVID-19 has led the industry to adopt a practical solution to one important aspect of our looming physician shortage, a massive demographic issue in the United States. One in three American physicians is currently over the age of 65 and approaching retirement, feeding into a shortage that could grow up to 139,00 doctors by 2033, in a study done by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

As noted by Tony Stajduhar, President of Jackson Physician Search, in his paper, Five Ways to Move the Needle on the Physician Shortage, making these licensing waivers a permanent solution might be a simple way to expand opportunities for international medical graduates to more easily practice where needs exist. Often, without getting caught up in endless regulatory red tape, or the sheer cost of applying for licenses in different jurisdictions.

-> Download Five Ways to Move the Needle on the Physician Shortage Paper

According to the Federation of State Medical Boards, 49 states at the time of this writing have temporarily modified their requirements for licensing, issuing waivers to allow physicians to perform in-person services or more easily obtain temporary license renewals, while 47 states have approved short-term measures allowing out-of-state physicians to perform telehealth visits.

A further 39 states have expedited licensing for inactive or retired physicians, allowing them to quickly rejoin the fight against COVID-19. Some 27 states have also modified their Continuing Medical Education requirements, allowing doctors to focus squarely on medicine, for the time being. In Arizona, for instance, a six-month deferral was issued for some medical license renewals in certain date ranges; as infection and hospitalization rates multiply there and in other states, it’s likely these waivers may be extended.

Simplifying the Path for New Doctors – and Some Bipartisan Agreement

Any movement to simplify the steps necessary for qualified doctors to more easily practice anywhere in the United States is welcome news, given other disruptions to the path for new doctors. Consider that thousands of medical students had been unable to complete the U.S. Medical Licensure Examiners’ Step 1 and Step 2 Clinical Knowledge tests since the spring, as Prometric, the testing vendor was closed due to stay-at-home rules; we’re now seeing testing events create long-awaited additional testing opportunities for examinees.

There is more good news, as well. The pandemic has also shown some inspirational moments of bipartisan cooperation in Washington D.C., as politicians recognized the immediate impact of physician shortages on care for their constituents. That’s something which might bode well for further political support of permanent licensing waivers or similar governmental efforts to address and remedy America’s long-term physician shortage.

In May, the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act was introduced by senators Todd Young (R-IN), David Perdue (R-GA), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Dick Durbin (D-IL). Recognizing that almost 25% of today’s American physician workforce are international medical school graduates, the legislation calls to repurpose some 15,000 available immigrant visas for qualifying physicians and 25,000 nurses – all in an effort to bolster healthcare resources. The senator sponsors even took the unusual step of exempting countries such as China and India from the existing per-country caps.

Working to Make It Easier to Work

These COVID-19 licensing waivers, to some extent, fast-track the work undertaken by the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, an agreement championed by the FSMB since 2013. Since officially being engaged in April 2017, the compact has allowed more than 7,400 physicians to secure more than 9,400 multi-state licenses in 29 participating states, plus the District of Columbia and Guam – with more introducing legislation.

The IMLC offered a model that emergency waivers could certainly help make permanent, providing much more flexibility to both veteran and newly graduated physicians. And while resistance to interstate licensure in the past has often focused on varying standards for education and experience, the compact ensures high standards by asking participating physicians to meet nine requirements of professionalism, in addition to holding an unrestricted license in their home state.

A time of extraordinary healthcare challenges has helped us see the immediate value of streamlining and simplifying the ability for doctors to practice where they are needed. And as the national physician shortage continues to grow, maybe this is the right time to make those waivers a permanent solution. For more information on other ways the healthcare industry will likely discuss solutions that will aid in minimizing the impact of the physician shortage, review the Jackson Physician Search paper Five Ways to Move the Needle on the Physician Shortage.

If your organization can benefit from partnering with an organization comprised of respected healthcare industry physician recruitment professionals, contact the Jackson Physician Search team today to learn how we can help keep you ahead of the recruitment curve.

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

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

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Five Ways to Move the Needle on the Physician Shortage

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Rural Practice Opportunities Offer Undeniable Benefits for New Physicians and Those Soon-to-be-Retiring

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The pandemic has led many physicians to question the next chapter in their lives, and how they’d like to spend it. For some, it appears an early departure towards partial (or even full) retirement is the answer, while others are seeking a better balance between work and life. At Jackson Physician Search, we’re seeing evidence of both – physicians are increasingly exploring new job opportunities.

In a recent MGMA webinar, Jackson Physician Search President Tony Stajduhar spoke about the market dynamics of healthcare recruitment by stating that up to 50,000 physicians were expected to accept new positions in 2020. Considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, much of this movement is predicted during the second half of the year.

Now, as the country continues to reopen, many hospitals and medical groups are resuming onsite interviews, opening the door for physicians to accept coveted new roles. With physicians reporting feelings of increased stress and burnout from the unrelenting COVID-19 patient volumes found in the hotspots, many doctors who previously would have gravitated for an urban position are considering rural practice opportunities.

Moving to the country – somewhere out in the middle of nowhere – isn’t something that many physicians envision for themselves or their families, but most rural communities aren’t as remote as you’d imagine. According to the census bureau, a rural area is defined as any population, housing, or territory that is not located in an urban center. In reality, that includes most of America.

Residents and Fellows as well as Physicians Transitioning to Partial Retirement May Find Rural Opportunities Particularly Enticing.

While nearly 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas, only about 10 percent of physicians are living and working in the same communities. Historically, rural healthcare facilities have had difficulty competing with their urban counterparts when filling physician vacancies, so they’ve adapted by offering several benefits often not as readily available to newly practicing physicians and those who are nearing the end of their careers. Let’s review, so you can decide if the next chapter of your life includes a relocation.

  • Higher Compensation. Tony Stajduhar said in a NEJM article that recent placement data showed an additional 5 to 10 percent in starting salaries in rural opportunities compared to urban for some specialties. Higher signing bonuses may be available, too. For new physicians who are facing large student loan debts, a higher starting salary can make a big difference in building the life they envision.
  • Lower Cost of Living. Rural locations often feature a lower cost of living, which is attractive for most anyone, but particularly so for young physicians buying their first home or retiring ones moving to their forever home. It also goes without saying that for those physicians seeking part-time employment as they transition to full retirement, the cost of living savings could be put to good use traveling or pursuing other hobbies.
  • Better Work and Life Balance. Flexible schedules, or more control over it, are often a perk available to physicians who choose a rural setting. For younger physicians who are just starting a family, this means you’re able to be more present. Furthermore, some specialties aren’t needed on a full-time basis in every community, so this paves the way for an experienced physician to be paid very well for part-time work. And for those who live in cities like Atlanta, Los Angeles or New York, or any others known for the worst commutes, moving to a smaller community gives you back hours in your day.
  • Open Lines of Communication with the CEO. In a smaller or rural practice setting, there is little to no bureaucracy to navigate. Physicians often have a direct line to the CEO, meaning that decisions get made faster, changes can be made to workflows more quickly, and dialogue is encouraged.
  • Physicians are Key Stakeholders. When was the last time you were directly involved in deciding how your organization was managed? In a smaller community setting, you will find that your ideas are welcome, and you are part of a collaborative team all working with the same goals in mind. In a recent Jackson Physician Search survey, 43% of physician respondents cited more autonomy as an important attribute in their careers.
  • Workplace Culture. In recent years, physicians have placed a greater emphasis on culture, values, and fit when considering new job opportunities. In a rural setting, you have a great deal of influence on the overall workplace culture, which is often appealing to early and late careerists who want to make their mark or leave a legacy, respectively.
  • Community Involvement. While being an active member of the community isn’t for everyone, when you are a physician practicing medicine in a smaller practice setting, you are going to have the opportunity to be as involved as you want. Instantly having the respect of the community may even move you to step out of your comfort zone and act on your newly acquired “pillar of the community” status. Not surprisingly, in the aforementioned survey, physicians who were practicing in rural communities ranked their top reason for choosing to practice there as community culture.

COVID-19 continues to challenge us all, and it’s leading some physicians to look for new ways to manage such a high-stress career. It’s always wise to take time and evaluate career options, but that’s true now more than ever.  If you have always been focused on staying within large, urban, and metropolitan hospitals and health systems, consider if the alternative is best for you. Smaller communities throughout the U.S. are medically underserved, and physicians who choose to practice there are making a difference in countless ways. Now just might be the perfect time for you to join them.

If you are actively considering your career options, or if you just want to see what types of opportunities are out there, contact the professional physician recruiters at Jackson Physician Search. Our team is comprised of experienced healthcare industry professionals who have nationwide contacts and the reach to help you secure your perfect practice setting.

 

AAPPR Physician Recruitment Search Success Survey

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2020 AAPPR Physician Recruitment Search Success Survey Report

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Sponsored by Jackson Physician Search, the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment (AAPPR) surveyed in-house physician recruiters just prior to the pandemic taking hold in the U.S. to learn about the factors that may have impacted recruitment success.

With time-to-fill increasing an average of 10 days over the past five years, this timely report offers insight on how culture, compensation, and location may influence your organization’s ability to recruit. A few key findings include:

  • 10% said their organizations are “world-class” in terms of overall efficiency at filling searches.
  • 72.3% agreed their C-Suite enhances the recruitment process.
  • 35% rated planning for workforce succession as somewhat below average or poor.

Go to the AAPPR website to download the full Physician Recruitment Search Success Survey.

 

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. For more information, visit www.jacksonphysiciansearch.com.

Jackson Physician Search Named a Great Place to Work-Certified Company 2020-21

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Based on associate feedback on the Trust Index™ survey, Jackson Physician Search has earned the distinction as a Great Place to Work®- Certified Company for July 2020 – July 2021. A review of the ratings can be found on the firm’s Certified Company Profile.

Jackson Physician Search continues to be recognized as a superior workplace. The physician recruitment firm recently was included for the fifth consecutive year on Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare List.

“It’s an honor to work with this extraordinary team, whose dedication to excellence has propelled us to become the fastest growing and most respected permanent physician search firm in the industry,” said Tony Stajduhar, president, Jackson Physician Search. “As everyone continues to navigate the pandemic, we have leaned on our recruitment expertise to continue to serve our healthcare partners and physician candidates in the manner in which they have come to trust. And, we have done so with an extra dose of much-appreciated empathy.”

According to the Trust Index™ Survey, 98 percent of Jackson Physician Search associates say it is a great place to work. Here are some additional findings:

  • 100 percent report being proud to tell others they work here.
  • 100 percent say when you join the company, you are made to feel welcome.
  • 100 percent find that when people change jobs or work areas, they are made to feel right at home.

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. For more information, visit www.jacksonphysiciansearch.com.

 

 

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

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Prior to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, a June poll conducted by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) showed that the majority of medical practices (87 percent) have recovered at least some patient volume since COVID-19 took hold in the U.S., and almost half of those reported patient volumes to at least 75 percent of their pre-pandemic levels.

Today, the pandemic is charting in the wrong direction with some states seeing record increases in new cases, especially among younger Americans. Because every day brings new data points, it’s challenging for healthcare administrators to reliably predict the impact on patient volumes, staffing needs and revenue projections.

What is important to acknowledge is that any decrease in current physician staffing requirements is temporary. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recently reminded us that the physician shortage is going to continue to challenge the industry’s ability to meet patient demand. 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, so you can keep your staffing plan on track.

Focus on the Long Game

It was in June when the AAMC released new information confirming long-held concerns about the physician shortage. It is now estimating the U.S. is facing a deficit of between 54,100 and 139,000 physicians in both primary and specialty care by 2033 – higher than previously reported.

The sixth annual study was conducted prior to the rise of COVID-19, and AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, posits that “the gap between the country’s increasing health care demands and the supply of doctors to adequately respond has become more evident as we continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The AAMC study indicated a greater shortage projection, particularly in subspecialties, due to an updated estimate of physicians planning to retire earlier than previously modeled.

Additionally, it showed that more than two out of five active physicians will be 65 or older within the next 10 years. Shifts in retirement patterns – including physicians choosing to retire earlier or work fewer hours as they approach retirement – will have significant implications on the doctor shortage over the coming decade.

Recognizing the retirement dilemma and its impact on staffing levels, Jackson Physician Search commissioned a survey of healthcare administrators and physicians. One of its findings was a disparity in how much notice to give when retiring, illustrating a mismatch between administrator expectations and doctor intentions. Most doctors prefer to give six months’ notice, while administrators would ask for up to three years’ notice.

-> Download The Realities of Physician Retirement Whitepaper

This means that administrators who are only concerned with current staffing needs are already behind. Considering that it takes up to six – nine months to recruit a physician and receive a signed contract, and up to an additional year before the physician begins employment, a strategic long-term physician recruitment plan eliminates unnecessary and costly delays. Part of this plan includes candid conversations with physicians to avoid disparities between physicians’ intentions as they approach retirement and administrator expectations as they plan for physician recruitment and staffing.

In addition to the estimates above, effective staffing planning require healthcare facilities to know their ideal candidate’s anticipated availability and to add that to the recruitment timeline. For example, residents are available for new opportunities in the summer, so waiting to recruit until spring is often too late. While more seasoned physicians are potentially available year-round, they face issues like non-compete agreements and lengthy resignation notice periods.

Retain Physicians to Lessen Recruitment Burden

It’s not uncommon to find a lack of alignment between employers and employees with regard to engagement and satisfaction in the workplace, and these disconnects can be found in medical facilities as well.

In the webinar “Hiring Physicians During COVID-19” conducted in June with MGMA, only 9.7 percent of administrators reported feeling concerned about losing their most valuable employees due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we polled physicians via our email newsletter and email job ads and two-thirds of those who responded indicated that COVID-19 has prompted them to look for a new job.

Disparities in perceptions could lead administrators to feel overly confident that their valued physicians won’t look for work elsewhere, further indicating that administrators should keep an eye on recruitment.

People can only manage under crisis scenarios for so long before it begins taking a toll on their mental health and physical wellbeing. Physicians facing longer hours, less sleep and more critical care patients as a result of COVID-19 can experience burnout quickly.

In January and prior to the full onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Medical Association found an overall burnout rate of 42 percent among doctors responding to an online survey.

Physicians left disengaged by burnout, poor fit in a role and in difficult working conditions can result in more turnover and vacant roles. Even with an increased emphasis on mental wellness, physician turnover is inevitable. As a result, a healthcare facility may experience thousands of dollars in recruiting costs to fill the roles, loss of revenue due to lack of capacity, and unhappy patients and coworkers.

Understanding Physician Recruitment Return on Investment

To help facilities quantify the cost of recruiting for vacant roles based on specialty and how long the position has been open, as well as show revenue a facility may have missed out on while the position has gone unfilled, Jackson Physician Search developed a Physician Recruitment ROI Calculator.

For example, an internal medicine role unfilled for just three months means lost revenue of more than $220,000. An Emergency Medicine role unfilled for the same time means lost revenue of more than $480,000. The Physician Recruitment ROI Calculator also shows average time-to-fill compared to Jackson Physician Search’s time-to-fill to help healthcare administrators evaluate how much revenue can be saved.

-> Try the Physician Recruitment Calculator to See What a Faster Time-to-Fill Is Worth to Your Organization

All of these data points and trends indicate that physician recruitment is still an important activity in maintaining and growing your organization, especially as you look to your 2021 staffing plans. As the accrued costs to fill a vacant role can reach over $1 million depending on specialty, it’s critical to manage this time-consuming process efficiently.

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.

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Jackson Physician Search Recognized as a 2020 Best Place to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare for the Fifth Year In a Row

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ATLANTA (July 22, 2020) –  Jackson Physician Search today announced that it has been named to Modern Healthcare’s 2020 Best Places to Work in Healthcare. A supplement that features the ranked list of all winners will be published by Modern Healthcare as part of its October 12 issue. Until then, companies that are part of this year’s awards program are listed in alphabetical order at www.ModernHealthcare.com/bestplaceslist.

“It has been an especially trying year for the world, and healthcare in particular, as COVID-19 ravages our communities and workplaces,” said Aurora Aguilar, Modern Healthcare‘s editor. “But the organizations recognized on this year’s list rose to the top and continued to be a source of strength for their teammates. They have seen their colleagues fall ill to the virus and struggled with the economic impact of the pandemic. The loyalty and trust between employers and their workers are being put to the test now more than ever. We congratulate the Best Places to Work in Healthcare for continuing to serve their workforce and communities during such an unprecedented time.”

“We’re honored that Jackson Physician Search has been included in Modern Healthcare‘s Best Places to Work in Healthcare list for the 5th consecutive year. With COVID-19 affecting how hospitals and medical groups recruit physicians, we’ve worked hard to empower our team to meet our clients’ needs without interruption,” added Tony Stajduhar, president, Jackson Physician Search. “It’s a tribute to the work ethic and dedication of our team that we are still hiring amid the pandemic, and experiencing the comradery and engagement of our associates working together to serve clients, while balancing remote work and future unknowns.”

Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare program identifies and recognizes outstanding employers in the healthcare industry nationwide. It partners with the Best Companies Group on the assessment process, which includes an extensive employee survey.

Jackson Physician Search will find out its ranking on the Best Places to Work list and be celebrated at the 2020 awards gala, which will take place virtually on October 8 in conjunction with the Workplace of the Future Conference. Information about the award celebration and conference is available by clicking here.

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. For more information, visit www.jacksonphysiciansearch.com.

For More Information, Contact:

Kristen Myers

kmyers@jacksonphysiciansearch.com

Rural Healthcare Facing Mounting Physician Recruitment Challenges

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Rural healthcare organizations are facing ever-mounting financial, recruitment and patient care challenges in the “new normal.” Fortunately, the next wave of financial help is on the way. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced last week that $4 billion in COVID-19 relief funds were being released to safety-net hospitals, with $1 billion of that for 500 specialty rural hospitals, urban hospitals with certain rural designations from Medicare, as well as hospitals in smaller metro areas. HHS approximates that payments will range from $100,000 to $4.5 million for rural designated providers.

Clearly, this is good news for rural health facilities that are facing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, many of which were already financially struggling. Financial concerns aside, proper staffing planning is also key to providing adequate access to care, so the key going forward will be for rural healthcare administrators to continue to find innovative ways to attract physicians to their facilities. Let’s frame the issues impacting rural physician recruitment and outline a few strategies for success.

Physician Shortage Predicted to be More Extreme than Previous Estimates

The annual report published by the Association for American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has been highlighting the growing shortage of physicians, and the most recent numbers show the situation worsening. According to AAMC, the healthcare industry is facing a shortage of up to 139,000 physicians by 2033. Typical for these annual reports, Primary Care physicians are still seeing the most significant deficits with shortages up to 55,200, while surgical specialty shortages are expected to reach 28,700 over the next decade.

Further, as highlighted in the Jackson Physician Search The Realities of Physician Retirement Survey, up to 33% of practicing physicians are nearing or at retirement age. The stress and unknown elements surrounding the COVID-19 crisis has only exacerbated the desire for many physicians to consider pursuing an early full or partial retirement.

Typically, when people retire, they seek a quieter lifestyle that provides them with a chance to stretch out and enjoy the life they have worked so hard to build. Not surprisingly, 44% of physicians who responded to the survey stated that lifestyle is the main driver of their retirement decision.

On top of that, 30% of physicians say that they are planning to work full- or part-time somewhere else. Consider ways to create those opportunities for pre-retirement physicians who are looking to slow down. While it may seem counter-intuitive, now could be the perfect time to lure physicians out of the chaotic urban and metro centers, and into a more laid-back and lifestyle-friendly rural environment.

Physicians Value Culture Fit

A common theme from physicians in today’s climate is how important organization culture and fit are in job satisfaction. Physicians that feel engaged in the work and have shared values with the organization are happier, more productive, and less susceptible to suffer feelings of burnout. The same proves true for community fit. In a Jackson Physician Search Rural Physician Recruitment Survey, physicians said community culture fit was more important than compensation when choosing to practice in a rural community. Dig into the Rural Survey for additional key findings to improve your recruitment success.

Rural health system administrators should be aggressively recruiting physician candidates now if their 2020-21 staffing planning requires more providers. At any given point in time, as many as 75% of physicians are passively exploring their career options. This means that they may not be actively applying to job opportunities, but they are more than willing to listen if something catches their attention. Reaching these passive candidates is critical for rural health systems, and now more than ever, the best way to reach physician candidates is via a well-conceived digital recruitment strategy.

Spend Time in the Digital World

Armed with the knowledge that overwhelming numbers support the fact that physicians, like most Americans, are extremely active on social media, Rural health system recruiters should have a strategy to meet physician candidates where they are – online. The American College of Physicians claims that over 70% of physicians are on Doximity, and over 30% are using social media for their professional networking.

Here are a few tips for using SEARCH as a framework for your digital recruitment strategy:

  • Segment – Instead of pushing out messaging content for the sake of it, target physicians who may not only be interested in your message but have the skillset you need, and are a cultural fit for your organization.
  • Engage – Here is where a rural system can shine. Publish content that highlights your brand and illustrates a sense of community that engages physicians, their peers, and colleagues.
  • Authentic – Make sure your digital outreach conveys a voice and tone that speaks to the culture you have built. Staying true to that consistent tone builds the foundation for physicians to be able to understand who you are and the values you espouse.
  • Relevant – Any digital content that you publish should be planned and well thought out to make it something relatable and important to your target audience.
  • Credible – Another way to set your rural health system or facility apart is by infusing credibility into your messaging. Create reasons why candidates would want to become a part of your organization by promoting your mission, values, and community value.
  • Habit – Cultivating a digital presence does not mean one and done. You could publish a piece of content that creates an “a-Ha” moment for your audience, but then if you disappear for six weeks, you have lost their engagement. Maximizing the digital opportunity is much like growing a vegetable garden. You don’t have to work on it every day, but if you don’t tend to it regularly enough, you will never experience the fruits of your labor.

The key is knowing that physicians are willing to listen, and now it is a matter of reaching them with your message.  If your rural health system needs support in developing or executing a digital recruitment strategy, consider partnering with the healthcare recruitment professionals at Jackson Physician Search. Our decades of experience has afforded us the ability to maintain a nationwide pool of candidates and to develop the technology and tools to help you fill your most challenging vacancies.

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How Physicians Can Successfully Navigate a Job Search During the Pandemic

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The constantly changing landscape of COVID-19 has significantly impacted the healthcare field in nearly unimaginable ways, including the wide-spread postponement of elective procedures four months ago. In June, after some states began reopening from stay-home orders, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) conducted a poll to learn how much patient volume had begun returning to medical practices.

Poll results showed that the majority of medical practices (87 percent) had recovered at least some patient volume, and almost half of those reported patient volumes to at least 75 percent of their pre-COVID-19 levels. Even with the pandemic taking a turn for the worse in recent weeks, that is good news for physicians who are looking for new job opportunities.

Additionally, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) released new information confirming long-held concerns about the physician shortage. It is now estimating the U.S. is facing a deficit of between 54,100 and 139,000 physicians in both primary and specialty care by 2033 – higher than previously reported. In other words, physicians remain in very high demand.

Up to 7 Percent of Physicians Relocate for New Job Opportunities Each Year

The industry sees 50,000 +/- physicians on the move every year, and the pandemic is having little to no effect on changing that for several reasons, including:

  • Per the recent AAMC study, more than two out of five physicians are reaching retirement age.
  • Jackson Physician Search polled physicians via our email newsletter and email job ads last month, and two-thirds of those who responded indicated that COVID-19 has prompted them to look for a new job.
  • 42% of doctors report feeling burnout according to the American Medical Association, which may prompt some to look for a new opportunity or retire earlier than planned.
  • Furloughs and salary cuts from COVID-19 may entice some physicians to seek a more secure position elsewhere. And, those in private practice may opt for an employed status post-pandemic.
  • Traditional reasons for accepting a new position also remain, including better work and life balance, a relocation closer to home, increased career potential, or improved culture and value alignment.

Be Open to a Virtual Recruitment Process

A live poll taken during the recent MGMA20 | The Operations Conference Online showed that a small percentage of medical groups – only 14 percent – aren’t actively interviewing due to COVID-19. For the other approximately 86 percent that are continuing to fill key vacancies, nearly 63 percent have adapted the interviewing process by using virtual interviews and video community tours. While many physicians prefer a face-to-face experience, some who are highly motivated to make a move are embracing this new method.

If you’re offered a virtual interview, here are a few tips to make a great impression:

  • Choose a professional, well-lit location where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Do a test run of your computer’s video and audio, as well as your Wi-Fi connection, with a family member or friend.
  • Close unnecessary tabs and turn off your cellphone.
  • Prepare your questions ahead of time to assess career and culture fit, and familiarize yourself with those who you will virtually meet.
  • Demonstrate engagement by maintaining eye contact, nodding and smiling as you normally would. Be authentic.

To augment the virtual interview, many healthcare organizations are showing off the best side of their community and facility with custom videos, as well as virtually connecting physicians to professional resources such as real estate agents, personal bankers, local school advisors, etc. For busy physicians, this can save a lot of wasted time by only traveling to those opportunities that you are most interested in pursuing.

Trust a Physician Recruiter to Simplify Your Search

Building a relationship with an experienced physician recruiter, especially during these challenging times, can pave the way for a smooth job search. With in-house recruiters potentially pulled in so many directions right now due to COVID-19, a recruitment firm can assist you with following up on opportunities in order to maintain momentum. Furthermore, a great recruiter will help to prepare you for the interview, increasing the potential for receiving a competitive offer.

Also, look for a firm with nationwide reach regardless of where you want to practice, and stay open to locations outside your target geographical zone. A national recruitment partner will have the resources, network connections and inside information about a position and facility to find you an opportunity that matches your career and life goals. Here are some additional tips to set yourself up for success when working with a recruitment firm:

  • Update your CV and accept honest feedback from a recruiter if edits are recommended. After all, both you and your recruiter want you to put your best foot forward.
  • Be transparent with your recruiter about why you’re looking for a new position, even if there’s less than flattering information to disclose. Also, ask your recruiter why the position is open.
  • Understand the various components of an entire compensation package, including base salary, benefits, bonuses, and potential incentives like student loan forgiveness.
  • Involve your family early in your job search. As important as it is for you to find the right opportunity for your career, you naturally want your family to feel the move is good for them, too.
  • Lastly, commit to your job search. As Warren Buffett famously stated, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only five minutes to ruin it.” When you have the support of a recruiter, respect the process.

Jackson Physician Search has nationwide reach and a team of recruitment professionals with decades of healthcare industry experience. You can search our open jobs and apply today by visiting jobs.jacksonphysiciansearch.com.

 

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Interpreting Compensation Data Sources for Physician Recruitment Success

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Tony Stajduhar, President of Jackson Physician Search, joined Craig Hunter, Senior VP at Coker Group last week to lead an MGMA webinar titled, “Interpreting Compensation Data for Physician Recruitment Success.” The main objective was to help healthcare administrators understand and utilize the various compensation data sources available to build a competitive offer that would improve physician recruitment success.

Compensation Data Sources

Physician compensation data can be derived from a variety of sources, with some being more accurate and reliable than others. Overwhelmingly, compensation data found through MGMA is considered the “gold standard” as a data source.  Over 80% of participants responded to the webinar poll question that MGMA was being used as a benchmark for compensation data. Several also responded that they utilize a blend of compensation data gathered through MGMA, AMGA, and other data sources to arrive at competitive offers.

“There is a wide variance in reported compensation levels for physicians by specialty,” Stajduhar warned.  “It is critical that healthcare administrators utilize the most accurate compensation, like the MGMA data, to create their fair market offers.”

Hunter expounded upon that point by talking about how important it is to understand Total Cash Compensation or TCC.   When developing a compensation plan, all aspects of compensation must be taken into account and are already included in MGMA’s TCC benchmark data.  The organization must also realize that there will most likely need to be a FMV (fair market value) opinion completed on the physician’s compensation to make sure it is within regulatory guidelines.

Considering the Market

Clearly, location can play a role in how interested physicians might be to relocate to a particular area. Cost-of-living, crime rates, schools, and education systems all contribute to the desirability of a region. When putting together a compensation package, a location’s cost-of-living has to be a consideration. For example, In San Diego, California, the cost-of-living is 40% less expensive than San Francisco. In dollars, a physician in San Diego earning $179,000 annually needs to make $250,000 to support that same lifestyle in San Francisco.  As with the compensation data sources, there are tools available for administrators to utilize to ensure that they are considering cost-of-living when developing their compensation plans.  NerdWallet.com provides a simple user interface to compare cost-of-living between two cities.  Other sites, like Realtor.com, provide more detailed breakdowns of how much it costs to live, buy groceries, utilities, and more between two different cities.

Stajduhar advises that if an administrator is looking at compensation for a specific metro area or location, it is wise to cross-reference salary data found at Doximity.com. He cautioned that the data found at Doximity is self-reported and may or may not include benefits, but it can be useful in supporting an offer in specific localities.

“When creating compensation plans, utilizing as much relevant, detailed information as is available, will typically help you be within Fair Market Value guidelines for that physician.”

~Craig Hunter, Senior VP Coker Group

Total Compensation Packages

In considering the components of a total compensation package, utilizing the concept of Fair Market Value (FMV) should not be overlooked. Whether a healthcare organization has the resources to evaluate the plan for each physician specialty it employs, or it utilizes the support of industry experts, understanding the elements that comprise an attractive compensation package is vital to successful recruitment.

Additionally, as competition for physician services continues to increase and turnover results in lost revenue, crafting the salary portion of the offer is only the first part of the equation. The total compensation being offered should support both the recruitment and long-term retention of the physician. Healthcare administrators must learn what motivates their candidates. These benefits may include:

  • Student loan forgiveness
  • Optimal work/life balance
  • Housing allowance based on the location
  • Sign-on bonus
  • Time for sabbaticals or research opportunities

Other types of exclusive perks that can help attract candidates and lead your retention efforts are:

  • Personal financial advisors
  • Low-interest loans
  • Deferred compensation
  • Family tuition or family education grants

By knowing what is most important to your ideal candidates, you put yourself in the best position to build an attractive offer.

Physicians on the Move

Even with the pandemic, physicians are seeking new opportunities and preparing to make a move.  This is especially true during the summer months, and this year may even be busier than in the past because of the travel restrictions of late winter/early spring.  From a numbers perspective, more than 50,000 physicians will accept new positions in 2020. Factoring in recruitment costs and the loss of revenue incurred with each physician vacancy means it is critical to ensure your recruitment and retention efforts are functioning at a high-level.  Healthcare organizations are faced with six to nine-month time frames to recruit and hire most specialties. In addition to the +/- $250k sign-on bonus, relocation costs, and other expenditures.

“Each year, between 6- and 7% of all physicians move across the country.”

~Tony Stajduhar, President Jackson Physician Search

Recruitment Takeaways, Post Pandemic

As the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, both Stajduhar and Hunter caution healthcare administrators to keep focused on candidate acquisition and adjusting their recruitment efforts to the current landscape. For example, one thing the pandemic brought to the forefront was how video conferencing could successfully be used to screen and interview candidates.

Not that technology will permanently replace in-person interviews and site visits, but these tools can be used to reduce costs and should be developed and used now. In fact, some organizations are using virtual interviews so effectively that candidates are accepting offers based on these interactions alone. Here’s how this Alabama facility recruited an ENT.

Stajduhar also advises healthcare executives to continue evolving and improving your internal processes to ensure that candidates are seeing and experiencing your organization in the best light. Workplace culture and fit continue to play an essential role in attracting the best physician candidates, and administrators need to ensure that organizational culture and values are front and center throughout the recruitment process.

If you need help with recruiting physicians, don’t hesitate to connect with one of our search consultants. They’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about physician compensation packages, recruitment best practices, and retention tips.

You can reach Tony via email at tstajduhar@jacksonphysiciansearch.com and on LinkedIn here. You can reach Craig via email at chunter@cokergroup.com and on LinkedIn here.

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

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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.

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