[White Paper] COVID-19 Changed the Physician Job Market: What Happened and What’s Next for Physician Jobs?

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Ask how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted physicians and you’ll get as many answers as there are physicians. Each one has and continues to experience the pandemic differently, however some common themes emerge. From the battle-worn emergency medicine physicians and hospitalists who experienced COVID-19 up close in ERs and ICUs, to the primary care physicians and psychiatrists who seamlessly transitioned to telemedicine, to the surgeons who were forced to stop working altogether, physicians’ experiences with the pandemic will certainly influence how they move forward.

As we continue to recover, we asked:

  • Are physicians thinking differently about their careers because of COVID?
  • For those seeking change, what are their job prospects?
  • How did COVID impact the way healthcare organizations will now approach physician recruiting?

Physician Recruitment Continues to be as Dynamic as Ever

As the President of a national physician recruitment firm, I regularly check in with our teams of physician recruiters working all over the country to learn what’s happening in their specific markets. I recently interviewed the Regional Vice Presidents of Recruiting in each division to get their takes on how COVID is changing the physician job market.

These Jackson Physician Search VPs lead impressive teams, but they too are in the trenches, working daily with physicians and healthcare organizations in every imaginable setting—from big urban markets to some of the most rural parts of the country. After speaking with each of them at length, I can share that the news is positive for physicians seeking jobs. Physicians are in high demand, so it’s not surprising to hear that healthcare organizations are rolling out the red carpet to attract the best candidates.

Included within the paper are insights gleaned from speaking with four Regional Vice Presidents of Recruiting at Jackson Physician Search. I’ll not only share observations on the current market, but I’ll also provide actionable takeaways for both physicians seeking new opportunities and the organizations that seek to hire them.

Six Takeaways

  1. After a temporary dip, demand for physicians is once again high as patient volumes begin to return to pre-COVID levels while an increased number of physicians report they plan to retire or change jobs.
  2. More physicians than typical are leaving large metropolitan areas and considering jobs in alternative markets.
  3. Interest in telemedicine continues to increase, but its future is uncertain as post-COVID reimbursement rates are still to be determined.
  4. Heightened physician demand has yet to cause significant changes to base compensation and signing bonuses, but the lingering effects of the pandemic will likely shift other aspects of physician compensation.
  5. Virtual interviews and site visits are here to stay as both parties benefit from the convenience and time saved.
  6. Flexibility and an open mind are still critical in the physician job search for both physicians and those who seek to hire them.

Download the Paper to Get Important Insights about the Current Physician Job Market 

For more information about how your healthcare organization can use this paper to improve your physician recruitment results, contact Jackson Physician Search today. Our team is made up of healthcare industry professionals who have spent decades recruiting physicians, physician leaders, and advanced practice providers for healthcare organizations coast-to-coast.

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.

[White Paper] 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey

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New Survey Sheds Light on Physician Retention, Physician Engagement, and Physician Burnout

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Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

Community Pitches in to Charm an Internal Medicine Physician During Recruitment

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To be successful in the highly competitive world of physician recruitment, rural healthcare facilities have to go the extra mile to win top talent. When seeking to recruit an Internal Medicine physician who also appeared to be a perfect cultural fit, our client in Texas did just that by getting its community members involved.

The client, a 49-bed community hospital in a very rural community, had been working with another search firm but was having little success. Deciding to change gears, the hospital’s CEO agreed to a meeting with Jackson Physician Search Vice Presidents, Dane Altman and Brent Barnacle. The CEO expressed frustration with an ongoing search for an Internal Medicine physician. None of the presented candidates checked all the boxes. The CEO explained that he had rigid opinions about finding a candidate who had the right blend of skills and experience, and who would also be a cultural fit with the community.

Dane and Brent prescribed the digital physician recruitment strategies pioneered by Jackson Physician Search.

The Importance of Cultural Fit on Physician Retention

The CEO agreed to give the Internal Medicine Search to Jackson Physician Search. Search Consultant Dan Rixon got to work right away to learn as much as possible about the facility, the community, and what the hospital was specifically looking for in a candidate. While his goal was to cast a wide net for physician candidates, he only wanted to submit those who were likely to fit.

Working closely with the CEO and the staff, Dan gained an understanding of why cultural fit was such an essential component for the organization. This part of West Texas is very close-knit, family-oriented, and has strong community values, making it vital to find someone connected with these values.

Dan took it to heart when the CEO told him, “I don’t want to waste my time with candidates who are only going to stay short term.” Identifying physicians who share the same mission and values of your organization and community is the first step to long-term physician retention.

Knowing this, Dan focused on the family-oriented culture of the organization and leadership’s commitment to allow physicians to practice with greater autonomy. He crafted a physician job description to appeal to candidates with Texas ties and to highlight the robust compensation package. Dan’s strategy garnered a strong response, but it was still necessary to hone in on the specific qualities of each candidate to ensure he or she would be a great fit. While screening candidates, Dan wanted to be sure each one understood just how rural the location was in order to eliminate any candidates who wouldn’t be happy long-term in the role. He balanced this by explaining the benefits that would come with working for a strong, well-operated organization.

A Community Committed to Recruiting the Entire Family

Ultimately, Dan presented six candidates for consideration. From there, the CEO narrowed it to two. During the on-site interview, the hospital’s administration went all out to ensure the candidates gained an accurate measure of the community and all it offered. The CEO even likes to host candidates at his home for an informal dinner in order to get a better sense of the person, not just the doctor.

Physicians are invaluable to small towns, and this one sure knows how to make a doctor feel special. The community rallied together to make the chosen candidate and his family feel welcomed and engaged. Some of the women in the community generously spent an entire day showing the physician’s wife around town to be certain she felt at home.

If you can help a physician and his or her’s family to feel entrenched in the community, then you are on the right path to physician recruitment success. In our 2020 Physician Interview Experience Survey, 82% of physicians responded that the community tour had a positive influence on their decision to accept the position.

Because of the community’s commitment to recruiting the entire family, the Internal Medicine physician was able to imagine life in this Texas town. The community’s genuine nature and kindness made his experience feel like so much more than a job interview. Rather he felt that he found his forever personal and professional home. For rural healthcare organizations, this all-hands-on-deck approach can often make the difference in landing or losing a quality physician.

If you need a strategic recruitment partner to help you navigate physician recruitment and retention, Jackson Physician Search is ready to help every step of the way. Contact our experienced recruitment professionals today to learn more.

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

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Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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Six Physician Recruitment Metrics Every Organization Should Know

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In our previous installment, we discussed the costs incurred with physician vacancies. If you missed it, find it here. In today’s ultra-competitive physician recruitment environment, the old axiom “Time is Money” is more relevant than ever. Depending on the specialty, a physician vacancy can result in over $150,000 per month in lost revenue.

In addition to lost revenue, recruitment costs to source, interview, and hire a new physician can also quickly add up. It has been established that from the time a position becomes vacant until a new physician signs a contract, internal costs incurred by a healthcare organization can easily reach $250,000 or more (including sign-on bonuses and relocation expenses). With that amount of money at stake, it is vital to benchmark your recruitment processes to identify weaknesses and inefficiencies and strive for continuous improvement.

Always Track These Physician Recruitment Metrics

At a minimum, every healthcare organization should track the following physician recruitment metrics:

  1. Time to Fill/Time to Hire
  2. Cost per Hire
  3. Physician Sourcing Statistics
  4. Number of Interviews to Hire
  5. Acceptance Rate Percentage
  6. Physician Retention Rates

If any of these data points are not available to your administrative team, it is difficult to gauge the effectiveness of your entire recruitment process. The good news is that the data is readily available in our digital world and easy to collate into actionable reporting.

1. Time to Fill/Time to Hire

It is essential to differentiate time-to-fill rates versus your time-to-hire, as they are often confused or used interchangeably. Both are important indicators of physician recruiting efficiency but tell a different story.

  • Time to Fill – This indicator measures the total number of days it takes from the moment a job vacancy is posted to when an offer is accepted. Clearly, this metric indicates how effective your search was, but with a physician search, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Hence, the need for more data. If you’re curious, you can find Jackson Physician Search’s average time to fill for several specialties by using our physician recruitment ROI calculator.
  • Time to Hire – As you know, the time between a physician accepting an offer until he or she begins seeing patients is measured in months, not days. Your time-to-hire metric should track when a candidate enters your pipeline until the first day on the job. Having this data available provides a better picture of your accumulated costs, which can then be used to track recruitment ROI.

2. Physician Cost Per Hire

Throughout the recruitment process, costs are accumulating. If you’re conducting the physician search in-house, you’re likely advertising the physician job ad across several physician job boards. If you’ve enlisted the support of a physician recruitment firm like Jackson Physician Search, you’re likely incurring recruiter fees. Tracking and keeping all of these costs visible to the team is one way to ensure everyone understands the importance of acting with sense of urgency.

3. Physician Sourcing Statistics

You can make sure the dollars you are spending in a physician search are not misplaced by tracking the effectiveness of the sources you are using. By now, your organization should be fully invested in a digital recruitment strategy. Simply put, physicians are no different than most in that they are digitally connected to their world. As many as 94% of all physicians use their cellphones for professional reasons, and 91% of them prefer to receive job notifications via email or text over direct mail and cold calls. Reliance on direct mail campaigns to source your next physician hire is ineffective. By closely studying which methods are actually bringing in candidates, you can make more informed decisions about the best use of your recruitment dollars.

4. Number of Interviews to Hire

One metric that is often overlooked but paints a very clear picture of recruiting efficiency is the number of interviews to hire. How many interviews does it take with a candidate before you decide to present an offer? Or better yet, how many different people does an individual have to meet with? One of the keys to developing an efficient process is making sure that the key decision-makers are available to participate. You will find a correlation between higher costs per hire and a high number of interviews, which should provide enough motivation to find ways to improve that process. Estimates show that reducing interview-to-hire ratios from 5:1 to 3:1 can save a healthcare organization $18,000. Additionally, in our recent research, we learned that only 27% of physician respondents decided to accept an employment offer after one on-site interview, so it is vital to make that first impression, a powerful one.

5. Acceptance Rate Percentage

In this highly competitive physician search environment, one of your most important indicators will be acceptance rate. Physicians are receiving 20 to 40 job notifications per week, which illustrates the competition for their services. Sometimes a poor offer acceptance rate is an indicator that your compensation data is off. This can be rectified with market research and bringing your salary offers in line with current rates. Or, you may want to supplement the contract dollars by adding in more vacation time or research opportunities. A physician recruitment partner can also supply your hiring team with real-time accurate data by specialty for your area.

In most cases, the best candidates have multiple offers to choose from. The biggest mistake you can make is not having the framework of a contract ready to go as quickly as possible, ideally during the on-site interview. If you are waiting a week or ten days to get executive approval on an offer, you risk losing the candidate.

Improving your acceptance rate by 20%, can save the organization $24,000.

6. Physician Retention Rates

In many ways, tracking physician retention rates can be the most perplexing of all the benchmarking activities. There are so many factors involved in retention that it can be a scary topic to tackle. One way to measure retention is by looking at your early physician turnover rate. This is the percentage of new hires that voluntarily leave the company within a year after starting. If this is happening with any frequency, you are either attracting the wrong type of candidate, or there is an organizational culture issue.

Physicians today place much more emphasis on finding a cultural fit for their services. It is critical to cultivate a work environment that is aligned with your organization’s mission and values. Having a strong identity/culture provides the roadmap for what type of physician is best suited to succeed. Cultural fit and other factors can be found when tracking retention over more extended periods, such as a 3-year and a 5-year rate. These indicators will force you to take a deeper dive into why the staff is leaving, but they are critical exercises to pursue.

Next Steps

The benchmarks we have covered are probably numbers you already have access to, and for most, they are being reported on a regular basis. The question is, “What are we doing with this data?”

Below are a few steps you can take today to start improving your recruitment processes through benchmarking:

  • Establish a small team, and charter them with a benchmarking review. Tip: Empower them to make decisions about what data to use and how to report on it.
  • The benchmarking team should determine if the appropriate data is being collected and what may be missing.
  • Determine who is receiving the benchmarking data and who else needs to be receiving it.
  • Look at the data over the past 12 to 24 months and look for trends and areas of opportunity.
  • Determine where the bottlenecks are. For example, are you losing quality candidates to competing offers? Is it a process issue or a personnel issue?
  • Consider whether a third party could help you improve your process.

The Quantity of Quality Trap

Because the costs can be so staggering, it is easy to veer towards recruiting quantity over quality. That trap will end up costing you more in the long run because you aren’t placing enough emphasis on finding the right candidate. There is a balance required in attracting and hiring candidates who are best suited to fit and succeed in your organization. The benefits of hiring for fit (and, conversely, the costs of making the wrong hire) serve to reinforce the benefits of having a finely tuned physician recruitment plan. Here are a few tips to help you find the balance between quantity and quality:

  • Start with an objective assessment of your workplace culture.
  • Strive to understand what makes your best physicians successful.
  • Discover how you can highlight your differentiators to attract like-minded physicians.
  • Focus on the candidate whose values match what your team, organization, and community can provide.

The above tips are a starting point. As you learn and understand your organizational culture and the qualities that make up your most successful physicians, you are developing the strategic blueprint for future candidates.

Takeaways

If you have given all of the above serious consideration and still don’t have a clear path toward improvement, it is time to engage reinforcements. Today’s physician recruitment landscape is highly competitive, and finding a trusted physician search firm may be your best opportunity to source and land the quality physician candidates you need. Even if you are only looking for a partner to supplement your in-house staff, that can be the difference in seeing better results. Ideally, you will find a partner with the skills, experience, and resources to take an objective look at your processes and help you implement improvements. The key is to start paying attention to the data and taking whatever actions are necessary.

Our next installment will walk you through how to set up each physician search for a successful outcome. From targeting specific candidate types, to building a robust candidate pipeline, there are strategies available that increase your likelihood of finding the right physician.

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Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

Well-crafted Physician Job Ad Generates Five Times the Typical Response Rate

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Some physician specialties are a little easier to recruit than others, but Gastroenterology (GI) just isn’t one of them. With physician retirements on the rise and only 500 GI Fellows completing training each year, these can be some of the most challenging searches a hospital or medical group will face.

Such was the case for a 200-bed hospital in Southwestern Illinois that had been facing a vacant Gastroenterology position for well over two years. The hospital’s administrators had partnered with another physician search firm but weren’t having any success finding the right candidate. They decided to turn to Jackson Physician Search for help.

Fortunately, Senior Search Consultant Katie Moeller doesn’t shy away from challenging searches and immediately jumped into action.

The Importance of the Physician Job Ad

This particular job opportunity was very unique, which may have played a part in the lengthy vacancy. The hospital’s strategy was to set up an inpatient-only, GI/Hospitalist model, while maintaining relationships with a couple of private practice GIs in the area that were essential to providing continuity of care.

As is often the case, Katie consulted with the hospital’s leadership team to ensure the hospital could develop an attractive GI/Hospitalist position without infringing on the private practice Gastroenterologists. She presented the hospital’s administrators with local market data, including what a competitive compensation package entailed and advice on how to structure scheduling and contracts.

Katie also explained that building work/life balance into such a unique role where candidate supply was especially slim would best position the organization to attract strong candidates. The hospital agreed to provide a 7-days on/7-days off work schedule.

Because physicians receive hundreds of job opportunities every year, the job ad is the first – and possibly only – chance a recruiter has to get their attention. Katie invested extra time up front to craft a compelling job ad and digital recruitment strategy that would effectively and efficiently drive candidate acquisition. She developed a targeted email strategy and posted the job ad on more than 10 job boards. She highlighted the generous work/life balance, the hospital’s premier status, as well as the unique opportunity a motivated physician would have to build a GI/Hospitalist program from the ground up.

Despite the challenging nature of filling Gastroenterology searches, Katie’s marketing strategy resulted in an enviable response rate – five times the normal rate, in fact. This gave the hospital a bevy of highly qualified candidates from which to choose.

A Bright Future for the Group and Their Newest Gastroenterologist

Due to the effects of COVID-19 and lessons learned, the hospital was committed to utilizing a virtual interview process to get interested candidates in front of the leadership team as quickly as possible. Katie stayed fully engaged to ensure that the candidate interview process was proceeding with a sense of urgency.

As it became clear that one of the candidates would be an ideal fit for the opportunity, the hospital was very open to listening to his ideas about the department’s future. Knowing that participatory decision making was important to strong physician engagement, the hospital’s leadership team didn’t shy away from the candidate’s vision of expanding the types of procedures that could be offered, even though it would require an investment in new equipment. By collaborating with the physician, the leadership team had confidence in his ability to grow the program beyond their original vision.

Katie then played a key role in lining up professionals in the community to ensure the physician would enjoy a successful community tour. This included a real estate tour, school system information, recreational activities, and other amenities that would be important to the physician’s happiness outside the hospital. Katie even stayed engaged throughout the contract negotiations to ensure both sides felt heard and that an amenable agreement was reached.

Keys to Physician Recruitment Success

  • Based on the success of six previous searches with Katie and the Jackson Physician Search team, the client drew on that trust throughout this engagement.
  • By writing a comprehensive and compelling physician job ad that highlighted the most desirable aspects of the position, Katie attracted a strong candidate pool.
  • The client and Katie worked together to keep the ideal candidate fully engaged during the interview and contract negotiation process, which can often be lengthy with large organizations.

If your hospital or health system needs a trusted, experienced search partner, the Jackson Physician Search team can be just the difference you need. From hard-to-fill specialties to providing support for your in-house recruitment team, contact us today to learn how we can help.

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

The Financial Implications of Physician Vacancies

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When faced with physician vacancies, there is often pressure to expedite the physician recruitment process. Unfortunately, a misguided sense of urgency can lead to costly mistakes. Instead, when faced with a physician vacancy, it is wise to balance urgency with a clear understanding of the type of physician best suited to succeed within the organization.

Being strategic in your physician recruitment process can be challenging, especially when the data published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects mounting physician shortages through 2034. Despite the pressure to maintain continuity of care by hiring a physician as quickly as possible, it is essential to consider the underlying costs associated with increased turnover and inefficient recruitment practices.

Applying Costs to Each Physician Vacancy

To fully grasp the impact a physician vacancy will have on your organization, it is vital to have systems in place to measure and report success.

Applying ROI to your recruitment and hiring process involves the following:

  1. Calculating the costs of each vacancy in terms of immediate lost revenue and long-term patient attrition.
  2. Understanding the costs associated with the physician recruitment process.
  3. Measuring the long-term financial benefits of hiring and retaining physicians who fit.

With visibility into each of the above drivers, administrative teams can make more informed decisions about attracting and retaining physicians who are a cultural fit and are most likely to succeed as members of your physician staff.

Lost Revenue

Clearly, the most straightforward data point to track when a physician vacancy exists is lost revenue. Depending on the specialty, a healthcare organization stands to lose between $130,000 to $150,000 per month in revenue. For example, a family medicine physician generates about $1.5 million in annual revenue, while a general surgeon can easily bring in double that amount. Based on these numbers, it is easy to see why there is so much urgency to fill physician vacancies.

Despite the physician shortage, there appears to be some good news in the data. The benchmarking study published by the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment (AAPPR) using 2019 data, shows that time-to-fill rates for physician searches has decreased in certain specialties. Examples include family medicine, internal medicine, and hospitalist physicians. Primary care is still the specialty in greatest demand, but it is good to see the needle moving in a positive direction.

That same report, however, identified allergy/immunology, rheumatology, and dermatology as the physician vacancies that were least likely to be filled.

The takeaway is that even though your organization is likely tracking and reporting time-to-fill rates for your physician vacancies, it is more meaningful when you consistently apply a dollar value to the duration. For a quick and easy tool to help you identify your lost revenue based on time-to-fill rates by specialty, try the Jackson Physician Search ROI Calculator.

Continuity of Care and Patient Attrition

Patient attrition is a major contributor to lost revenue, especially if it is permanent. Patients can be supremely loyal to their doctors, and when a trusted physician leaves a practice, a percentage of their patients will follow them.

If the physician leaves the area completely or retires, there is no guarantee that the patients will stay with the practice. A worst-case scenario has your patients turning to a competitor, because they cannot receive the services they need or can’t get onto an already crowded schedule. Never discount the revenue that can be lost when patients feel continuity of care is threatened by a physician vacancy.

Physician Recruitment Costs

The costs associated with a physician vacancy are not confined to loss of revenue. You also must consider internal costs. Some of the easily defined recruitment costs include marketing the physician job, travel costs for physicians to attend interviews and community tours, sign-on bonuses, student loan payoff, and relocation stipends. There are also related costs associated with the time and energy administrators and other interview team members spend meeting with physician candidates. Additionally, you should include the work hours accrued by your in-house recruitment team or fees paid to an external search partner. From the onset of the vacancy, until a contract is signed, a single candidate can generate up to $250,000 in associated recruitment costs.

Unfortunately, these costs don’t end with a signed contract. The dollars continue to mount as you account for credentialing, benefits administration, EHR system training, onboarding, and ramp up time for the physician to build a full patient case load.

Hidden Costs

When thinking about your physician recruitment process in terms of ROI, it is easy to see how quickly the costs can add up. However, sometimes hidden costs are even more damaging to a healthcare organization. These can be brought to light through benchmarking and a strong communication process with staff, but the damage is often below the surface.

  • Employee Morale. From the front-line nurses to the support staff to the physician team, having a long-term physician vacancy adds undue stress and increased feelings of burnout to a staff that is stretched thin. Once attitudes start to slide, it can grow like wildfire across the entire care team. This is where constant communication with the team is most beneficial.
  • Patient Care. Patient care issues are not entirely hidden, as most are typically captured and reported in some fashion. The gaps in care that don’t always rise to the surface are the ones that tend to compound and impact the bottom line over time. It could be as simple as a physician having a poor interaction with a patient that results in decreased patient satisfaction. When patients aren’t motivated to recommend your practice, future revenue is lost.
  • Increased Turnover. Healthcare is experiencing a very tight labor market, and physicians aren’t the only ones with options. Prolonged physician vacancies resulting in morale issues and quality concerns will ultimately lead to increased staff turnover from the front desk to advanced practice providers to nurses.

Recruiting for Cultural Fit

There are many long-term benefits of hiring and retaining physicians who fit, including increased productivity, more satisfied patients, and higher quality scores, just to name a few. And while some turnover is unavoidable, there is a way to “stack the deck” in your favor. Document the specific qualities and traits displayed by your current staff that embody your organization’s culture. This will serve as a hiring roadmap.

Target your physician recruitment to identify doctors who are well suited to be successful within your facility. When physicians feel connected to the organization’s mission and values, they are more engaged. Everyone feels a greater sense of satisfaction and are less inclined to leave. Even more importantly, when the staff is engaged, they perform better as a team.

Here are a few ways you can hire physicians who fit, succeed, and stay:

  • Ensure everyone involved in the interview process embodies your culture and values
  • Create an on-site interview experience tailored to each candidate
  • Find ways to make the candidate feel welcome/special
  • Sell the community as well as the opportunity
  • Engender a sense of excitement throughout the site visit
  • Always answer every question before the physician candidate leaves

Key Takeaways

Data Points

  • Each physician vacancy results in $130,000 to $150,000 per month in lost revenue, more in certain specialties.
  • Depending on the specialty, physician searches require 5 to 12 months, plus time for relocation.
  • The internal costs of a physician vacancy can easily reach $250,000.

Considerations

  • The true cost of each physician vacancy should be measured to help drive recruitment and hiring decisions.
  • Recruitment processes should be tracked and reported, including interview-to-hire and time-to-fill.
  • Every healthcare organization should know their recruitment ROI by specialty.
  • Never discount the hidden costs of a physician vacancy
  • Recruit and hire for cultural fit

Benchmarking key indicators is the safest and most effective way to ensure that everyone understands how your recruitment process is performing. Transparent reporting will reveal inefficiencies and identify gaps, as well as suggest when you need to engage an external physician recruitment partner to support your internal recruitment teams. For more information, contact Jackson Physician Search.

Physician Recruitment Cost and ROI

[White Paper] Physician Recruitment: The Cost to Hire and Return on Investment

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Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

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

Cue the Fireworks: Metro Health System Celebrates End of Onerous Physician Search

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With a specialty pool of fewer than 5,000 actively practicing physicians, a large health system located in a major metro in the Southeast had spent 18 months trying to recruit a radiation oncologist. The system’s highly-skilled, internal recruitment department was attracting candidates to the physician job posting, but none had the right mix of experience. With a heavy load of physician searches that demanded their attention, partnering again with Jackson Physician Search was a smart move.

Vice President of Recruiting Helen Falkner had successfully filled other tough physician recruitment assignments for this system and was confident she could help. In her role, not only does she specialize in candidate acquisition, she also builds a collaborative partnership rooted in trust and a sense of urgency with the in-house physician recruitment team.

“Considering that only 10% of physicians are actively searching for a new opportunity, specialties with small candidate pools make for an extremely demanding search,” says Helen. “My goal is to take some of the pressure off by using every tool in our arsenal to source both active and passive candidates who fit the parameters of the role.”

In-house Physician Recruiters Juggle Multiple Responsibilites

According to the Physician Recruitment Search Success Survey by AAPPR and sponsored by Jackson Physician Search, in-house recruiters manage an average of 32 searches at any given time. In addition to physician recruitment, their days are spent fielding general inquiries from active physician candidates, scheduling calls and interviews, planning itineraries, and serving as host when physician candidates come for their on-site interviews.

“Their responsibilities are so much broader than ours,” Helen says. “They don’t have enough hours in their day to spend cold calling for a single vacancy when they have 30-plus searches that they’re working on. That’s where we come in.”

Helen knew right away that filling the role would require a more proactive approach to candidate acquisition. Working with the in-house recruiter, she learned more about the specific experience needed, and together they generated a list of practices and groups that were most likely to have someone with that experience. From there, Helen leveraged her seat on Doximity, the largest online social network for physicians, to conduct an advanced search. She sent personalized DocMail messages to the physicians who matched the criteria.

Helen’s message hit Dr. G at exactly the right moment. While he was happy with his job in Philadelphia, the location of this opportunity was appealing. He and his wife both had family in the Southeast, and he would be willing to relocate if the role was right. He responded right away to express interest.

Sparks Flew – Less Than 90 Days from Search Initiation to Signed Contract

Helen presented Dr. G to the in-house recruiter in May and a call was immediately scheduled. As the phone and virtual interview process moved forward, Helen stayed in close touch with the physician candidate to maintain his interest in the opportunity until an on-site interview could be scheduled.

Large health systems often have an intensive on-site interview process, and this client was no different. Helen knew they would provide a well-organized visit and do whatever they could to win over Dr. G. Their efforts were successful. Dr. G was excited about the opportunity and hoped to receive an offer.

Just a few weeks later and with some help from Helen, the system successfully negotiated a contract that Dr. G was thrilled to accept. In less than 90 days from the time Helen was asked to lead the search, the system had a signed contract in hand.

Something to Celebrate – 8 Successful Placements and Counting…

Dr. G’s placement exemplifies how health systems can best leverage a strong physician recruitment firm as this marks our 8th placement with the system. The organization needed a very specific physician, and a passive recruitment strategy wasn’t producing an adequate pipeline of candidates.

“What we do is different. The physicians that we are recruiting are not the ones who are already reaching out or applying to jobs. In fact, most are not considering a job change at all. We are truly head-hunting physicians who fit the culture, and in many cases, persuading them to consider the job.”

One of Helen’s sparkling tools is her access to Doximity. As an important part of our digital recruitment strategy that includes all jobs posted on 10+ national job boards, an extensive social media presence, and targeted email campaigns to our large, opted-in physician database, Jackson Physician Search is the only physician recruitment firm where every recruiter is Doximity-certified and holds a license.

It is this level of access and experience that Jackson Physician Search brings to physician recruitment. If you’re seeking to ignite your physician recruitment efforts, Jackson Physician Search is ready to help. Contact a recruiter today.

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[Infographic Guide] Five Benefits of Hiring Advanced Practice Providers

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Recently we discussed how advanced practice providers could be a solution to the growing physician shortage. Next, learn some of the benefits of adding APPs to your staff.

1. Increases Patient Satisfaction

More than 90% of patients trust advanced practice providers (APPs) and believe that they perform high-quality care, according to an article by Wolters Kluwer, a global provider of professional information. Patients also feel that they will get more time with an APP versus a physician.

Healthcare facilities that staff APPs may have a shorter appointment wait time, which directly results in higher patient satisfaction scores and an increase in patients referring your practice to friends and family.

2. Boosts the Bottom Line

APPs see the same number of patients as physicians, while costing your facility less to employ. It is not uncommon for a Physician Assistant to bring in revenue worth several times their salary, resulting in approximately $300K in additional revenue for your facility.

The use of APPs can provide physicians the opportunity to concentrate on higher revenue-producing procedures and services or procedures not in APP’s purview.

3. Reduces Physician Burnout

According to a survey by SullivanCotter, 79% of physicians agree that APPs help reduce physician burnout.

By including APPs in your medical staffing plan, you allow physicians to focus on the services that interest them the most, as well as increased flexibility in scheduling which can decrease feelings of burnout.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many government regulations were lifted. This increased autonomy for APPs and took some pressure off of physicians. Without their help during this dire time, the physician burnout rate could have been even more severe.

4. Improves Physician Retention

According to the 2021 Medscape Physician Lifestyle & Happiness Report, 47% of physicians would take a pay cut for a better work-life balance. Perhaps employing APPs could provide your physicians with more harmony in their personal lives, resulting in happier physicians who will stay with your facility long-term.

5. Expands Clinical Services and Patient Access to Care

APPs often undergo broad training which allows them to be flexible and knowledgeable in many different settings. This skill set could allow your organization to expand its service offering.

Staggering schedules between physicians and APPs could grant your facility the ability to obtain new patients during off-times. Consider hiring APPs to supplement resident duty hour restrictions or to man a satellite office.

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

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Critical Access Hospital Launches Emergency Medicine Department with Help from Physician Recruiter

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Have you ever visited a town that didn’t have a single stoplight? Now, imagine living in this town and knowing that there are just two physicians to care for all of its residents.

This is the case for a 10-bed Critical Access Hospital in rural Wyoming serving a community of approximately 8,000 people. For decades, the hospital employed two Family Medicine physicians for a ranching and farming community spread out over miles and miles of countryside.

When both of the hospital’s physicians announced their upcoming departures, one retiring and the other relocating, the facility’s administration began to re-examine the care model and felt it was time to have at least one Emergency Medicine physician on staff.

Having placed one of the physicians, Jackson Physician Search Director of Business Development Ben Stajduhar was aware of the challenges in recruiting physicians to an extremely rural community. Finding one physician would be a difficult task, but needing two would require the right combination of skill, diligence, and a bit of luck. He enlisted the help of Search Consultant Misha Fabick, who happens to excel at rural physician recruitment.

Experienced Physician Recruiter is Integral in Understanding the Intricacies of the New Program

Without experience in hiring an Emergency Medicine physician, the administrators leaned on Misha to help them understand everything from scheduling to competitive compensation packages, and to develop a strong physician job description. Emergency Medicine physicians have different skillsets than a Family Medicine provider, and it was vital to find one who had experience with inpatient processes, admissions, and administrative aspects.

The facility needed someone with significant experience who could be the face of the hospital and new emergency services program. Misha provided the administrators with current, accurate information on salaries, scheduling options, and other factors that would make this an attractive opportunity for the right candidate. This is a prime example of how valuable an experienced, trusted physician recruiter can be for healthcare organizations.

Positioning the Opportunity

Since the vacancies occurred at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recruitment and interview process faced some challenges. One unusual aspect was the sheer number of Emergency Medicine candidates that responded to the physician job description. Many physicians were trying to relocate out of big cities that were struggling with COVID outbreaks.

This created a scenario where the physicians needed to be educated on the highly remote nature of the position. At the beginning of the search, the facility accommodated a few interviews, but the rural community caused some candidates to pause. However, the discussions were fruitful in that they allowed the administrators to listen to the candidates and learn more about ways to improve the position and make it more attractive.

Misha played an integral role in helping the client through this process and attuning them to the constructive information coming out of the interview process. At the same time, she was conditioning the candidates toward a clearer understanding of the nature of this opportunity. She helped candidates focus on the outstanding quality of life aspects of the community, and all of the outdoor activities available during downtime from the hospital.

Finding Physicians that will Fit, Succeed, and Stay

Strong candidates emerged for consideration at around the same point in the recruitment process for both the Emergency Medicine vacancy and the Family Medicine position. Dr. K, a board-certified Emergency Medicine physician was very intrigued by the opportunity to play a role in building a program from the ground up.

The administrators wanted to have their final candidates participate in a “working” interview. This was designed to ensure that they were a solid cultural fit. While some candidates were hesitant, Dr. K was very receptive to the idea of a working interview, as it would provide an authentic “day-in-the-life” experience.

On the Family Medicine side, another strong candidate emerged. Misha played an active role throughout this process and acted as a bridge between the candidate, Dr. F, and the administrative team. She helped them formulate a strong compensation package and other contractual factors that ultimately sealed the deal on a very successful search and hire.

“We are thrilled to have placed both of the physicians in this rural town. Dr. K and Dr. F will have a massive impact on the community and I am honored to have been a matchmaker between these physicians and the hospital.”  

– Misha Fabick, Search Consultant

Jackson Physician Search’s expert recruitment team has the skills, knowledge, and resources to help any facility attract and retain top physicians. If your healthcare organization is adding a new service line or seeking physicians who will fit, succeed, and stay, contact us today.

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Are Advanced Practice Providers a Solution to the Growing Physician Shortage?

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One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic was the way in which it renewed public appreciation for healthcare providers. Among those on the frontlines, a sense of “we’re all in this together” developed, helping to lift spirits when they needed it most.

Of course, it wasn’t only physicians fighting COVID on the frontlines. Nurse practitioners (NPs), and physician assistants (PAs) were called on in new ways. Governors and state legislators passed measures to loosen restrictions placed on these advanced practice providers (APPs). As a result, they were empowered to do everything in their ability to test, diagnose, and treat patients in emergency rooms, COVID units, and ICUs around the country. Now, more are wondering if APPs are underutilized. Could they be a viable solution to the growing physician shortage – or at least fill more of the gaps?

While there’s no doubt that APPs can help to meet patient demand, debate has intensified around the appropriate scope of practice and level of supervision. As vaccine rollout continues and the volume of COVID-19 cases falls, the temporary measures boosting the autonomy of NPs and PAs are beginning to expire. Will this debate impact the demand for advanced practice providers? It’s highly unlikely.

Scope of Practice Debate Carries On

Even pre-COVID, experts pointed to APPs as a key component in minimizing the impact of the physician shortage, one that is expected to reach a deficit of 139,000 doctors by 2033. As the aging population requires increasing healthcare services, APPs are able to offer continuity of care to patients during a temporary physician vacancy. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are trained to provide many of the same services as physicians, often at a lower cost to the insurer and lower overhead for the practice.

The suggestion that PAs and NPs can replace physicians in certain care settings has long been a point of contention. Representing the concerns of physicians around the country, the American Medical Association has fought scope of practice expansion at the state and federal level for over 30 years and shows no signs of conceding.

Certainly, physicians have more education and training than APPs. However, on the other side of the debate, some say the regulations that prevent APPs from performing the services they have been trained to do unnecessarily limits access to care to the detriment of the population.

Despite the ongoing debate around scope of practice, many physicians are more than happy to share the patient load with NPs and PAs, just as many APPs are content with the status quo on scope of practice and supervision requirements. Patients, too, are happier when APPs are part of a care team. Many patients feel that these providers take more time with them during a visit and are more empathetic than their physicians.

Regardless of where you land on the debate, organizations must ultimately determine the best staffing mix for their particular environment. In most cases, a combination of physicians and APPs will be necessary to provide optimal care for patients.

Considerations When Hiring Advanced Practice Providers

 If there is still any doubt, a recent report by MGMA states that practices that utilize APPs continually perform better financially than practices that do not. Even with this data at hand, there are still several things to consider when hiring advanced practice providers:

  • How will your physicians feel about the hiring of APPs? Will they embrace the additional help or feel their hiring threatens physician jobs?
  • State regulations require APPs to have some level of supervision or collaboration with physicians. Will your physicians view hiring APPs as yet another responsibility added to their plate?
  • How will your organization measure the ROI on hiring APPs? While hiring advanced practice providers costs less than hiring physicians, in most cases, APPs are reimbursed at a lower rate. Determine how many patients the provider will need to see in order for hiring them to make financial sense.
  • Know the restrictions placed on APPs in your state and understand that the current status may change.
  • Engage APPs consistently for long-term retention. These providers need to feel they serve an important role as part of the patient care team and as part of the internal team culture. Including them on your website, encouraging them to lead meetings, invite their feedback on ways to improve operations and patient satisfaction, and provide time off to pursue additional education and CME courses.

While there is much to consider, hiring APPs can potentially give organizations a strategic advantage. The ideal staffing mix will vary by organization, but the addition of NPs and PAs can increase profitability, improve patient satisfaction, and even ease physician burnout caused by lengthy vacancies.

As a trusted recruitment partner, Jackson Physician Search can help you find the talent you need to optimize your staffing mix. Whether you are looking for a physician or advanced practice providers, our recruiters are ready to serve. Contact us today.

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7 Things to Know About Advanced Practice Providers

1. Who are Advanced Practice Providers?

Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) include Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (Clinical Nurse Specialists, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, and Certified Nurse Midwives). While their salaries are similar, their training is different. NPs are registered nurses who have a master or doctorate degree, while PAs often have a medical training background such as surgical.

2. How Many Advanced Practice Providers Jobs are in the US?

Approximately 125,000 PAs are currently working in the US

Approximately 263,000 NPs are currently working in the US

3. …In the Future?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook, growth projections for advanced practice providers are much faster than the average for other professions. Projected growth for APRNs over the ten-year period 2019-2029 is 45%. Over the same period, physician assistant jobs are projected to grow by 31%.

4. How Much Do Advanced Practice Providers Jobs Pay?

The Occupational Outlook notes the median pay for Physician Assistants at $115,390 ($55.48 per hour) and for APRNs $117,670 ($56.57 per hour).

5. What Can Advanced Practice Providers Do?

Despite national accreditation, the services an APP is licensed to perform are dictated by state regulations. PAs require some kind of physician supervision in every state, though they do have prescribing privileges and a fair amount of autonomy. Many only consult their supervising physician when the PA deems it necessary.

Nurse Practitioners can practice independently and be reimbursed for services under CMS guidelines. In 22 states, NPs have full practice authority, meaning they have the ability to practice to the full extent of their education and training.  This map highlights states with temporary measures in place.

6. How are Advanced Practice Providers Reimbursed?

Services provided by APPs are typically reimbursed by Medicare at 85% of what would be paid for a physician performing the same service. “Incident-to” services may be paid at 100%. Because they bill independently, APPs allow a practice to increase its patient volume and grow revenue.

7. Why are Advanced Practice Providers So Important?

Advanced Practice Providers are essential to meeting the healthcare needs of an aging population and expanding access to healthcare in underserved areas. There are simply not enough physicians coming out of medical school to fill the healthcare needs of society, and while advanced practice providers cannot replace physicians or solve the physician shortage entirely, they can provide many services and free up physicians to focus on more complex conditions.

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Forecasting Placements: Recruiting a Physician to Weather the Cold

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Imagine a town where the winter temperatures are often below freezing. The living room window looks out to a dark tundra with multiple feet of snow. Could you see yourself living here? Now, imagine recruiting a physician to this same location. How would you go about it?

This was the case for our client in rural North Dakota. The health system was struggling to retain physicians due to its location. Not far from the Canadian border, it wasn’t unusual to see temps of 30-40 below freezing. The administration tried to make up for it with an extremely competitive compensation package. However, while a salary in the 95th percentile might be a reason to take the job, it was not proving to be enough to make physicians stay. The program leaders wanted to do a better job of identifying candidates for whom the location wouldn’t be an obstacle to overcome. They wanted to hire a Psychiatrist who was committed to building a life in the region and would stay long term.

The challenge then became positioning the search and targeting a candidate willing to relocate to the remote city. Regional Vice President of Recruiting Tara Osseck was more than up for the task. Confident in our 100% digital recruitment strategy including a targeted email campaign, distribution on several national job boards, and physician-networking sites like Doximity, she knew she could find strong candidates. What she didn’t know was how a completely virtual interview process – conducted during the COVID-19 lockdown – would impact the physician hiring process.

A Psychiatrist Seeking a Big Change

Constant demands of a big-city, inpatient Psychiatry job had left Dr. J burned out and unhappy. She had no work-life balance and the pandemic had shown her, as it did so many, that life was too short to be miserable. By mid-April, she was actively seeking change and that’s when she replied to an email from Tara about this position.

Tara knew from her first conversation with Dr. J that she was qualified for the position, but would the location be a problem? The freezing temps and the smaller population would be a big change for Dr. J, but a change was exactly what she professed to want. Tara presented her to the client.

Site-unseen: 60 Days to Hire a Psychiatrist in 100% Virtual Recruiting Process

The leaders at the facility moved quickly, setting up a phone call followed by a virtual interview and then a series of virtual visits so she could tour the facility. They were impressed with Dr. J and submitted an offer in a matter of weeks.

Dr. J was thrilled with all she learned about the program and the responsibilities of the Psychiatry job. She liked that she would be a part of a multi-disciplinary team of Psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and other advanced practice providers. While it wasn’t an academic setting, there would be plenty of opportunities to mentor and grow her leadership skills. It was everything she was looking for in terms of the outpatient setting, a more flexible schedule, minimal to no call, and a better work-life balance. She even saw the remote location as a positive. It would be a total change of pace from her busy lifestyle.

For all of these reasons, she confidently accepted the offer without ever having visited the facility. She knew she wanted a change and felt ready to embrace all that the new job had to offer.

“Exactly as Advertised”

After 7 months on the job (and more than halfway through her first upper Midwestern winter), Dr. J emailed Tara to let her know how happy she was in her new position. “Everything here has been exactly as advertised,” her email read.

Tara was thrilled, but not surprised, to hear the news. “It’s one of the biggest compliments I can hear about a partner client,” Tara explains. “As the recruiter, we can make a job sound rosy on the front end, but ultimately, it’s up to the client to deliver – and they’ve been able to do that now with multiple physicians that we’ve brought to the group.” Dr. J’s experience is another shining example of their commitment to transparency and following through on promises.

Dr. J’s story also exemplifies the extraordinary effectiveness of a national search led by Jackson Physician Search. Our 100% digital recruitment strategy identifies strong candidates in every specialty who are willing to relocate to your location – no matter how cold!

Unique Advantages for Rural Healthcare Facilities

The pandemic caused many to re-evaluate their priorities. Some physicians now desire to be closer to family or a position with a better work-life balance. In our Physician Retention Survey, 54% of physician respondents noted that COVID-19 had changed their employment plans, and of those, 50% planned to leave their current position for another healthcare employer.

Rural healthcare facilities have a unique advantage in this mindset shift. Promote the work-life balance aspect and you can likely scoop up top talent.

If your organization needs help finding physicians that will fit, succeed, and stay with your rural facility, the expert recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search is ready to help. Contact us today.

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