Private practices must revisit recruitment strategy to stay alive

Physician recruitment trends indicate that private practices will diminish in the coming years as the physician employment trend continues to pick up steam, according to two recent surveys. This means that practices that desire to stay independent will have to take a critical look at how they will attract physicians and provide them an incentive to stay.

According to Merritt Hawkins's "2011 Review of Physician Recruiting Incentives," 56 percent of all physician job openings are currently in hospitals, FierceHealthcare reports.

This growing majority is up from 51 percent a year ago and 23 percent five years ago, notes Medscape Medical News. Only 2 percent of Merritt Hawkins's search assignments in 2010 featured openings for independent, solo practitioners, down from 17 percent five years ago.

Hospital employment and healthcare consolidation are expected to accelerate so rapidly, in fact, less than a third of physicians will be in private practice by 2013, according to another survey released by management consulting company Accenture Health.

As FierceHealthcare reports, practices already are reacting to this difficult recruiting climate by offering incentives, such as signing bonuses, loan forgiveness, and housing assistance. Meanwhile, physician salaries continue to rise and have nearly replaced income guarantees as a compensation model, according to Medscape.

But when it comes to the methodology for compensation, ‘real-world' payment models still largely reward physician productivity over quality or cost control, the Merritt Hawkins survey reveals. A full 90 percent of recruited jobs last year was linked to traditional "fee-for-service style volume." While 74 percent of jobs did offer performance bonuses, just 7 percent of recruited jobs provided individual physicians financial reward for quality or cost reduction objectives, a statistic that seems to be at odds with a national rhetoric that emphasizes quality objectives.

To learn more:
- read FierceHealthcare's overview of the Merritt Hawkins survey
- see the summary report from Merritt Hawkins (.pdf)
- check out the article from Medscape Medical News

Suggested Articles

Payers have made strides digitizing and automating many core processes, yet prior authorization remains a largely manual, cumbersome process.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced proposed changes to privacy restrictions on patients' substance use treatment records.

Virtual care, remote monitoring, telehealth and other technologies have long been on the “nice to have” list for healthcare. But that's changing.