Keeping docs means changing incentives
Preventing costly turnover among medical practice groups will require hospitals and physician practices to offer more flexible working arrangements and the kinds of incentives that were once considered perks but are now seen as standard offerings by job applicants, a new study says.
The 2011 Physician Retention Survey, cosponsored by the American Medical Group Association, Alexandria, Va., and healthcare recruitment firm Cejka Search in St. Louis, says 74% of group practices expect to hire “more” or “significantly more” primary-care and specialist physicians in the coming year.
Group practices with 151 to 500 members in particular said they expected to hire many nonspecialist physicians, with 92% of respondents in those practices planning to hire “more” or “significantly more” primary-care doctors in the next year, the survey says. Among hospitalowned practices, 57% reported plans to hire more primary-care doctors and 87% said they will hire more specialists in the coming year.
The 2011 survey, which is slated to go on sale publicly March 12, included responses from 80 medical groups that collectively employed 14,366 physicians, including members and nonmembers of the AMGA.
Authors of the study found that the growing demand for physicians and changing demographics among younger doctors are leading to different expectations among candidates.
License renewals and continuing medical education are now becoming “expected” by most job candidates, while offering retention bonuses, sabbaticals, loan prepayments and stipends during training are considered incentives that can differentiate a potential employer, the survey found.
Furthermore, 75% of employers reported that they now offer a four-day full-time work week as a flexible work option, and the percentage of doctors reporting working part-time has doubled since 2005 to 25% of the physician workforce. The study notes that the two fastest-growing segments of the physician population—male doctors approaching retirement and female physicians entering the workforce—are also the most likely to look for flexible scheduling and part-time work.
At the same time, employers are demanding different sets of skills from physicians. “Collaboration and teamwork are significantly more important to medical groups and heath systems because care models and performance measures require it,” AMGA President and CEO Donald Fisher said in a written statement.