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

The first thing most healthcare administrators think about when considering the current physician shortage is, “How are we going to recruit to fill vacancies?”  That is certainly a valid question, but it is one that needs to be asked in tandem with, “How are we going to retain the physicians we already have?”…

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.

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

Some physicians are seeking out new positions because of COVID-19.  Your understanding of how the pandemic may have impacted them should be reflected in how you recruit…

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.

[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.

The Power of the First Impression: Delivering a Winning Physician Interview

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The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping healthcare in nearly every conceivable way, and that includes how physicians are being recruited. But the enduring challenge in the recruitment and hiring process remains: mastering the interview – whether on-site or virtually – to deliver the first-time WOW experience for the right candidate.

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 candidate’s feelings of confidence about the job and the likelihood that an offer will be accepted. Plus, multiple interviews drive up your cost per hire, prolong your time-to-fill and negatively affect your interview-to-hire ratio, ultimately impacting your ability to meet patient demand and revenue goals for your practice.

To uncover the specific elements of the interview process that are most important to the physicians you want to recruit, Jackson Physician Search recently commissioned the 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey.

We learned that the salient aspects of the interview experience for candidates who decided to accept a position after the first interview reflect the fulfillment of their needs on three levels: emotional well-being, informational and alignment of values. Specifically, we found that the majority of candidates who decided to accept their jobs felt:

  • Welcomed and excited about the organization and community
  • Assured they had all information in hand and all their questions answered
  • Aligned closely with the organization’s mission and values

-> Download the 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey

Create a Welcoming Interview Experience

A community tour tailored to appeal to candidates and family members is critical to helping them imagine living in your community and reducing any anxiety that comes with being the “new people in town.” Learn as much as possible about their background, family situation, interests and lifestyle to create an experience that makes them feel welcomed and excited.

Even if travel is not possible during the pandemic, an organized “virtual” agenda for spouses or significant others is an essential aspect of the interview experience. Take the time to understand what they may be looking for in a career and offer to arrange networking opportunities.

Just before the interview, send a gift basket of items that represent their interests and what your community has to offer.  Share a highlight video about your organization, local culture and popular attractions. Your realtor can arrange virtual home tours and provide a curated list of desirable neighborhoods and schools, favorite restaurants and relevant community activities.

All of these gestures demonstrate that the whole family is important to your organization. With the help of technology and creative ingenuity, you can spark excitement about your practice opportunity and a sense of being welcomed to the community.

Plan the Interview for Greatest Impact

Physicians are attracted to organizations that have well-planned, efficiently delivered recruiting and hiring processes. Responses to the survey make it clear that you can differentiate your organization and positively influence candidates’ decisions when you structure a comprehensive, well-organized interview that leaves no questions unanswered.

This is your best opportunity to demonstrate what it will be like to work there. Interview participants who appear distracted, or who show up late or not at all, represent a red flag to candidates. Instead, include stakeholders with high emotional intelligence who can pick up on – and help resolve – any feelings of anxiety, frustration or doubt. Gather feedback from candidates by inviting them to complete a post-interview survey.

Most physicians like to have a structure that allows them to keep moving forward; they are easily frustrated by the appearance of wasted time and energy. If the interview is virtual, be sure the technology is buttoned-up and have a back-up plan ready.

Keep the process moving by quickly producing an offer of employment, so it can be accepted before the candidate receives competing offers. It works: the survey reported that 61% of the candidates who accepted right away had received a written offer within seven days of the interview.

Tap Your A-Players to Demonstrate Alignment

As physicians have more choices in practice opportunities, they are more often inclined to seek out organizations that are culturally aligned with their values. This is borne out overwhelmingly in the survey responses from candidates who accepted immediately after their first interview.  These physicians ranked the alignment of organization’s mission and values with their own as 9.2, with 10 being perfectly aligned.

To achieve this level of alignment, put your “A-Players” on your interview team. Include senior leaders who can sell the vision and demonstrate by their presence that they place a high priority on physician recruitment and retention. Also include peers who embody the organization’s mission and values by offering examples of how these are reflected in their practice and daily work. This will help candidates recognize their own level of alignment. In fact, everyone on the interview team must be at the top of their game to clearly make them feel welcome as partners and assure their support in the family’s transition.

In summary, candidates want to feel welcomed, excited, well-informed and closely aligned with your organization’s values. The first interview is the make or break moment to engender these feelings with a best-in-class experience that results in the physician accepting your position right after the first interview.

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

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

Physician Recruitment Amid the Pandemic – Keeping Your 2021 Staffing Plans 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….

[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….

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Addressing Physician Student Debt and Education Costs Could Help Curtail the Doctor Shortage

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Physicians play an invaluable role in our health system, a role that has taken on new urgency as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep across the nation, and the world. We admire physicians for their dedication and their tireless service to the community.

So why is it that, despite average wages of more than $243,000, only 77% of American doctors say they would choose the field if they had to do it all over again, according to a recent Medscape Report? More and more doctors are finding themselves saddled with nearly insurmountable student loan debt, on top of all of the many daily stresses facing modern practitioners. And with the lengthy duration of commitment required to complete medical school and a post-doctoral residency, many physicians spend years paying off that debt.

Consider Dr. Molly Dorfman, a 39-year-old pediatric care specialist working at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera, California. Dorfman, interviewed by the New York Times, says she was paying more than $4,500 a month on a single student loan, an amount that represented almost one-third of her earnings.

In his paper Five Ways to Move the Needle on the Physician Shortage, Tony Stajduhar, President of Jackson Physician Search, discusses how a looming national crisis faces America as a wave of Baby Boomer doctors leave the healthcare industry. Research by the Association of American Medical Colleges suggests a current shortage of between 54,100 and 139,000 physicians nationally by 2033. The AAMC also notes new doctors, on average, carry approximately $200,000 in student loan debt.

Making medical school a more affordable and streamlined process, and working to more easily eradicate that crushing student loan debt, both represent much-needed solutions to help encourage more young and talented students to pursue medicine.

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

Getting Assistance to Curb Student Loan Debt

Under the federal CARES Act, many frontline doctors were granted a freeze on their student loan payments, through the end of September 2020. The program is, in a way, an extension of the nearly 80 different state and national-level programs available to offer loan forgiveness or payment assistance to doctors.

While completing their residency, new physicians have the opportunity to provide two- or three-year commitments with organizations including the Indian Health Service or the National Health Service Corps, serving low-income communities, in exchange for considerable debt reduction. Similarly, service in three branches of the American armed services can largely take care of student debt, in exchange for work as a military physician.

Individual states have also enacted their own debt-relief programs. Dr. Dorfman is one of more than 250 California physicians taking part in the CalHealthCares initiative, which provides a $300,000 reduction in student loan debt, in exchange for accepting Medicaid patients. California’s forgiveness plan is part of a larger, $3 billion effort there to address the physician shortage.

Forgiveness Isn’t Necessarily an Easy Thing

But while many sing the praises of programs such as the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan, which promises to entirely forgive the balances on student loans after 10 years of work with a government or non-profit organization – plus steady loan payments – the reality is often more difficult, and elusive.

According to National Public Radio, the PSLF program has a 99% denial rate, and is almost impossible to access as other federal student loan forgiveness opportunities have also become more stringent.

Many hospitals and health care employers have opted to provide student loan debt reduction programs as part of their bonus and compensation packages to attract new doctors. More than 75% of hospitals offer bonuses to their physicians, usually in the form of performance incentives, but more and more are recognizing that debt relief is often a more pressing concern to potential hires.

For those healthcare facilities that are hiring younger doctors, a generous student loan payoff also gains them a competitive advantage in the recruiting market. These employers recognize that a smart approach to increasing the chance that job offers will be accepted by physicians is to customize their compensation packages to the specific needs of the demographic they’re recruiting.

-> A consultative recruitment partner like Jackson Physician Search has the breadth and depth of experience to assist in formulating attractive compensation offers.

Curbing the Costs, Before They Occur

What if those education costs could be addressed at the front end, with lower tuition rates or even a more compressed period of time required to actually complete medical school?

The time commitment to become a physician is certainly overwhelming, even by other professional standards: four years of college, four years in American medical school and between three and seven years in residency/fellowship. And costs of medical school are extraordinary, according to the AAMC: nearly $244,000 for public schools, and nearly $323,000 for private medical schools.

A new solution, one championed by more than 16 schools participating in the Consortium of Accelerated Medical Pathway Programs, is to condense medical school to three years. Major schools such as Penn State, Duke and Texas Tech have already offered the shorter programs – which mirror the quicker route available at foreign medical schools.

The benefits, advocates say, are enormous: students learn the same vital practice skills, but with less financial stress involved, with graduates expected to save more than a quarter million dollars over their professional lives.

Some private schools have addressed the tuition cost issue directly. Recognizing the long-term impact of high pre-career debt, the University of Illinois College of Medicine announced plans earlier this year to cut its out-of-state tuition prices by 16%. That is estimated to save students as much as $60,000 in educational costs.

Free Tuition as an Attractive Option

And after a decade of fundraising and financial planning, NYU’s medical school arranged to make tuition free to its students – normally $55,000-plus per year. Likewise, the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine also began offering free tuition in 2019, thanks to considerable underwriting. Could other schools, however, be able to bare the $600 million cost of NYU’s honorable undertaking?

Tackling education costs and the burden of student loan debt won’t happen overnight, but these many initiatives show there is room for creativity and concern in helping encourage more young people to practice medicine, thereby reducing the looming physician shortage.

If your organization can benefit from partnering with a physician recruitment firm that leads the industry with an all-digital recruitment strategy and can guide you in designing benefit packages that are effective in recruiting doctors across the spectrum of their careers, contact the Jackson Physician Search team. Our recruitment professionals can help keep you ahead of the recruitment curve and combat the physician shortage.

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

Physician Recruitment Amid the Pandemic – Keeping Your 2021 Staffing Plans 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….

Five Ways to Move the Needle on the Physician Shortage

The COVID-19 pandemic is raising new challenges that no one expected in our lifetime. It is also shining a spotlight on challenges that have been around for a while—like the physician shortage….

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

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

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….

Five Ways to Move the Needle on the Physician Shortage

The COVID-19 pandemic is raising new challenges that no one expected in our lifetime. It is also shining a spotlight on challenges that have been around for a while—like the physician shortage….

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

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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