A shortage of physicians forced 34 percent of New York hospitals to reduce or eliminate services in the past two years, while 66 percent had to transfer emergency patients because of insufficient staff, according to a report by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS).
Despite hospitals reporting a need for 763 new physicians, many had difficulty recruiting and retaining them. Recruit success stayed the same or worsened for 84 percent, while only 15 percent saw recruitment improve.
According to the hospitals surveyed, major recruitment barriers included the lack of candidates (89 percent), geographic location (82 percent), lack of opportunity for one's spouse (59 percent) and the lack of competitive salary (55 percent).
But with the average medical student debt estimated at around $160,000, 59 percent of hospitals found loan repayment to be a successful strategy to attract physicians.
"Every patient deserves a doctor," HANYS President Daniel Sisto said in a statement Tuesday. "We must have policies in place to motivate and recruit physicians to practice in New York State, particularly in the communities that need them the most."
Therefore, healthcare organizations should focus on enhancing training and recruitment programs such as Medicare Graduate Medical Education and Doctors Across New York, a state-funded program that trains and places doctors in underserved areas, according to the report.
To keep physicians in-state, the report also recommends targeting marketing efforts at graduating medical students and residents in New York teaching hospitals. Launching an I-Love-New-York-type campaign also could help hospitals attract new physicians.