Retention tips: Lock in physicians with contracts

With a national physician shortage and newly insured patients gaining access to care, healthcare executives are looking for ways to secure new physicians and the physicians they already have.

Physician turnover was up at 6.1 percent in 2010, compared to 5.9 percent in 2009, according to a recent survey by Cejka Search and the American Medical Group Association. Physician turnover is particularly prevalent among young, full-time female physicians and pre-retirement male physicians, according to the report, which advises offering flexible work options.

Texas County Memorial Hospital (TCMH) in Houston is currently boosting retention efforts by offering physicians contracts, some of which are multi-year, according to a Houston Herald article.

"Every time we offer a contract to a physician, we hope that they will stay with the hospital for their career," said TCMH CEO Wes Murray, in the article. "Unfortunately, that's just not reality in today's mobile environment."

In addition to contracts, TCMH has conducted the following recruitment and retention strategies:

  • Recruit physicians during residency: For example, Dr. Charlie Rasmussen, a family medicine physician at the TCMH Medical Complex, was recruited during his second year of residency.
  • Offer loan repayments: In addition, Rasmussen took advantage of the loan repayment system.
  • Encourage family members to be part of the community: Integrating the physician's family members helps them be become part of the community.
  • Hire enough support: TCMH is currently recruiting for an additional physician for the TCMH Medical Complex and a full-time physician for the TCMH Mountain Grove Medical Clinic. Adding the extra positions could help reduce the burden on existing physicians.
  • Invest in renovations: TCMH is constructing new patient areas, including a new emergency department and medical surgical and radiology suites.

For more information:
- read the Houston Herald article

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