Many medical facilities battle the challenges that come with physician recruitment and retention. Building and maintaining a safe, profitable, and stable office, hospital or any other medical facility depends on more than just the management. Every person involved in your organization needs to be committed to excellence. Because of this, most medical facility owners seriously consider who they hire-but how many seriously consider how they hire? Believe it or not, how a company hires their physicians can play a huge role in its ability to recruit and retain physicians.
Many medical facilities struggle with retaining quality physicians who are committed to helping the facility deliver top-notch services. Some reasons for a physician’s voluntary resignation might be that they are unhappy with the practice’s culture, unsatisfied with the community, seeking higher compensation or wanting a different work schedule. However significant it may seem, income does not drive a physician’s overall practice satisfaction and does not have to be the only determiner of your recruitment and retention success.
Before you begin the interview process, make sure that you have a clear understanding of what each candidate can bring to the job. It’s also important to be clear in the job description so that each potential interviewee has a good idea of what his or her future with your company could be.
During the interview process, it’s important to invite the highly considered candidates for an onsite interview. Offering to pay for your interviewees’ travel and lodging expenses will help your potential physicians establish a positive opinion about your company. Keep in mind that their decisions on accepting your job offer will affect their families-so include their spouses in the process by inviting them to ask questions and visit the facility.
If the interview is successful, spend time negotiating a fair employment agreement. Describe duties and the call schedules, and be willing to explain how the schedule would compare to other physicians in the office. If you specify the minimum number of work hours, be sure to also declare the maximum.
Discuss the compensation package that your new physician will receive. Points of discussion should include base salary as well as other incentives. Often, pay-for-performance programs, bonuses, and things such as relocation expense reimbursements help give your vacant job the appealing advantage that it needs to recruit the most qualified physicians. For even more recruitment incentives you may consider agreeing to pay your physician’s malpractice tail insurance upon their job expiration or termination of employment.
Each new physician employment agreement should define whether or not he or she is on the track to becoming a potential shareholder. If that is in the agreement, provide descriptions of when the physician might expect this opportunity and the possible cost of buying in.
Before your physician begins his or her new job, make sure he or she has the proper training on all of your facility’s patient care systems. This could range from software training to referring patients to outside specialized physicians, prescription refill policies, or even the steps your office takes in handling medical emergencies.
Once everything is in place, welcome the physician to the staff and connect him or her with the physician chief, nursing supervisor, and administrator. Particularly for the beginning months of the physician’s time on the job, make sure he or she is feeling comfortable in his or her performance. You can do this by scheduling formal monthly or quarterly performance reviews.
Sometimes the most difficult step in the recruiting and retention process is finding candidates to interview. This first step can be done in several ways. Some depend on word of mouth and outside medical contacts to recommend a job or a physician, while others use a physician recruitment firm. A physician recruitment or staffing agency can speed up your hiring process, and a reliable one will put you in touch with physicians that are most qualified to fill you vacant positions. Some firms even offer locum tenens staffing services to help fill vacancies while you recruit permanent physicians, cover short-term absences, or build a new programs or service lines. As you improve you recruitment and retention efforts you will realize that your business’ success does not solely depend on who you hire, but also how you hire.