A December 2018 report from the University of Michigan concluded that the passage of the Affordable Care Act fueled the ever-increasing demand for Psychiatrists. Upon its passage, the ACA expanded access to behavioral healthcare to more individuals, and current projections are that the shortage of psychiatric professionals is expected to worsen by 2025. To illustrate this shortage from a national perspective, the National Council for Behavioral Health noted that 77% of U.S. counties are considered to be underserved. The largest increase in demand might be around the corner still. In an article from the JAMA network about the impact COVID-19 has on the mental health of healthcare workers, Dr. Perlis writes, “Across the world, physicians, nurses, and other frontline health care workers do heroic and lifesaving work in stressful settings on a daily basis. However, the toll that providing such care takes must also be recognized: sooner or later, every clinician is also a patient.”
Given the demand for psychiatric specialties, healthcare administrators are finding it increasingly difficult to fill vacancies. Currently, the average time to fill for a psychiatry vacancy is almost eight and a half months forcing healthcare administrators to be more creative and proactive in their recruitment efforts. The average monthly gross revenue generated by a physician is more than $81,000 making an extended vacancy quite costly. You can see the impact reducing time-to-fill on your practice’s revenue by using our Physician Recruitment ROI Calculator. Below is a snapshot of how healthcare administrators can effectively recruit psychiatry professionals.
Administrators have to plan ahead for vacancies. To avoid being caught off guard, it is critical to maintain good relationships and open communication with your psychiatry staff. This is the easiest way to stay informed about potential retirements or impending vacancies. Maintaining strong relationships with your physician staff also helps when it comes time to recruit. Having physicians that are willing to reach out to their personal network of colleagues is always helpful to your recruitment efforts.
Cast a Wide Net
Given the increased demand we have already referred to, hospitals and health systems have a lot of competition for psychiatry specialists. Being creative in sourcing candidates is crucial to attracting a Psychiatrist to fill your vacancy. In many cases, your search has to be nationwide in order to increase your candidate pool. Another way to expand the candidate pool is to establish relationships with university residency programs and ask your current staff for recommendations from their professional network. Lastly, an often overlooked way to keep your brand top of mind is to take as many opportunities as possible to present at physician and other healthcare-related conventions.
Guaranteed Salaries and Incentives
In addition to inequities in Medicare reimbursements for psychiatric services, cancellations and missed appointments are much higher for psychiatry appointments than other specialties. Complicated salary structures for psychiatry professionals can be a deterrent when trying to fill a vacancy. As they have with other hard to fill specialties, healthcare administrators are turning to better compensation packages as a way to attract and hire candidates. These packages include signing bonuses, loan forgiveness, generous relocation reimbursements, and other incentives.
Psychiatrists are no different than other physicians when it comes to their desire to achieve a better work-life balance. As part of any employment offer, administrators are becoming more creative in designing schedules and offering increased vacation and personal time to attract candidates. Another way that administrators can help their psychiatrists reduce the amount of time they are spending in the office is by expanding their commitment to virtual office hours. Expanding virtual services allows the physician to “see” patients at times that are better suited to their home life.
Find a Search Partner
No matter how effective a healthcare system’s in-house recruitment team is, for hard-to-fill vacancies, finding a trusted recruitment partner can help reduce fill times. For example, having a partner such as Jackson Physician Search will give you access to a larger candidate pool and deploy digital recruitment tools to find the qualified candidates you need. Also, having a trusted search partner allows your in-house team to focus on other staffing needs, coordinating site visits, onboarding, and other critical components of a successful hire.
There is no single approach that can solve hard-to-fill physician vacancies. Instead, a full-spectrum approach where you are employing many different strategies, including finding outside help, is the most effective means to successfully recruit psychiatric professionals.
Jackson Physician Search has decades of physician recruitment experience. Contact us today to find out how we can help you meet your physician recruitment challenges.