Staying Ahead of Physician Retirements

By

Much of the recent discussions regarding the impending physician shortage include the reality that by 2020, one in three physicians will be of retirement age.  Couple that with the associated costs incurred with each physician vacancy, and it is clear that hospital and healthcare system administrators need to get out in front of their physician retirements.  Jackson Physician Search recently conducted a survey of physicians and administrators regarding their thoughts about retirement and how that will impact physician staffing levels.  The survey was followed up by the publication of a white paper outlining retirement perceptions of both groups of respondents.

One thing that was clear throughout the survey results is that physician perception about retirement varies greatly from administrator’s perception of the same.  Here are a few ways that administrators can better prepare for physician retirements.

Understand what is driving the retirement discussion for physicians.

Administrators responded that the average age for retirement at their facility was 65, which is in line with U.S. Census data reporting 63 years of age. Administrators also cited that the main driver for physician retirement was lifestyle (48%), but that the second driver was for health reasons (15%). Physicians, on the other hand, cited lifestyle (44%) as the top reason, but stated financial stability (23%) second, and burnout (20%) was third.

Facilitate the Retirement Conversation.

Contemplating retirement is a big deal for anyone, physicians included.  When asked, 80% recognize that it is their responsibility to initiate the retirement conversation, but only 52% responded that they feel comfortable doing so. Overwhelmingly, administrators responded that they felt comfortable having the retirement discussion with their physicians. That is an important consideration to keep in mind. Knowing which of your physicians are nearing retirement age with the understanding that they may not be comfortable talking about it, a good strategy should be to create an environment where they can openly discuss their plans. Some organizations use surveys. Others have HR provide talking points to assist the physicians in starting the retirement conversation. However it is done; the important factor is to make it a collaborative, comfortable conversation.

Don’t Get Caught by Short Notice.

We all know how long it can take to fill a physician vacancy and how much each vacancy can cost.  One area of great divergence between physician responses and administrator responses concerns the amount of prior notice to be given before a retirement.  Almost 50% of administrators stated that the ideal advance notice was one to three years, while 40% of physicians claimed 6 months or less was sufficient.  With that much of a discrepancy, clearly, proactively having retirement discussions are just as important as developing an ongoing recruitment effort to have available candidates in the pipeline.

Create a Win-Win Retirement Transition Plan.

Up to 40% of administrators responded that they considered full retirement the top priority for physicians.  Surprisingly, only 17% of physicians indicated that they were planning to fully retire, and almost 28% stated that they would work full or part-time somewhere else.  Again, this divergence of opinion re-emphasizes the importance of open and honest retirement conversations. Administrators can be proactive and work on creating a transition plan for each physician’s retirement. Whether it is an offer of flexible part-time hours, taking on telemedicine duties that can be managed around their schedule, or even non-clinical duties as available.  Another important piece of information that came out of the survey is that 50% of physicians stated that they would consider employer-sponsored incentives to start an early retirement process.  That type of proactive approach could be utilized to the organization’s benefit and help to avoid any retirement surprises. When asked if they offered any type of proactive, employer-sponsored early retirement benefits, nearly 95% of administrators responded in the negative.

Retirement is going to be an important topic over the next several years for a large portion of the current physician workforce.  Administrators should take the opportunity to review the Jackson Physician Search Retirement Survey White Paper and formulate a collaborative strategy with their physicians.  Having a clear understanding of each party’s intentions can ease any unexpected vacancies and also allow for a more comfortable transition for the retiring physicians.

If your organization needs the assistance of a trusted physician recruitment partner or wants to tap into the knowledge of experienced healthcare industry professionals, reach out to Jackson Physician Search today.

[White Paper] The Realities of Physician Retirement: A Survey of Physicians and Healthcare Administrators

One of the major factors of the impending physician shortage is the aging physician workforce. We recently conducted a survey including practicing…

Rural Recruitment Whitepaper

[White Paper] Rural Recruitment: Results from the 2019 Rural Physician and Administration Survey

President of Jackson Physician Search, Tony Stajduhar, reviews the results of our recent rural physician and administrators survey and provides a summary…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.

What To Consider When Choosing a Practice Setting

By

When you were first dreaming about becoming a doctor, there is a good chance that most of the dream was just about helping and healing people without much thought to where it would occur.  Now that your dream has become a reality, you are probably amazed at how many options you have regarding a practice setting.  You have worked extremely hard to get where you are, so it is important to choose a practice setting that fits your personality and gives you the best opportunity to live out your dream.  Let’s look at several the things you should consider when choosing a practice setting.

Market Demographics

Many physicians who grew up in a small town or a rural community want to practice medicine in a rural setting.  Others who grew up in the city may just want to spend more time enjoying nature in wide-open spaces.  While there may not be a large variety of practice settings to choose from, many doctors favor the pace and lifestyle benefits that a rural community can provide.

Physicians who choose to practice in urban or more metropolitan areas will have many more practice options to choose from. In larger metro areas, doctors will experience more growth opportunities, higher patient volumes, and also have more access to support than those in rural communities.

Employment Model

Most recently, the trend for physicians is to leave their self-employed practice setting for a hospital or large system setting.  While some physicians are considering a return to private practice, the overall demand for practicing physicians is driving up the number of opportunities available in hospital settings and large private practice partnerships.

Many physicians prefer working in a hospital setting as a way to ensure a stable income with greater opportunities to earn bonuses and negotiate more favorable work hours. In a partnership setting, physicians are bridging the gap between being self-employed and the stability of a hospital setting. As a partner or at a minimum on a partnership track, physicians have a greater say in how the practice operates, fostering patient relationships, and contributing to the workplace culture.

Type of Organization

Much of your decision on the type of practice setting you want to work will be based on whether or not you want to work in a large or small setting. Obviously, if you want to be self-employed, you will be working in a smaller practice environment. If you choose to work in a large health system environment, you will have the luxury of having a stable flow of patients as well as access to a plethora of referring physicians.

If you are a specialist, you may want to practice in a single-specialty group that is independent or affiliated with a larger health system.  Others choose to practice in a larger group that has multiple specialties included within the organization.  This allows patients to have easier access to different specialists when necessary.

Working in a clinic setting may be the perfect choice for doctors who want to work in rural or underserved communities. Clinics typically offer a stable schedule with regular hours and even weekends off!  A downfall to working in a clinic environment is usually lower compensation and a lack of growth potential.

No one needs to tell you that a career as a physician is both rewarding and difficult.  The hard part of the equation is the main reason why it is so important for you to choose the right practice setting so you can achieve everything you dreamed of before becoming a doctor.  Finding a setting that affords you the opportunity to succeed and in an environment that fits your personal culture and values will lead to a long and personally healthy career.

Is it time for you to explore other opportunities and take your career to the next level?  Working with a Jackson Physician Search recruitment professional can be the jump start you need.  Contact our team of dedicated, industry experts today!

Benefits for Physicians Who Choose a Small Practice

So, you are a physician in a large metropolitan hospital-owned practice, with a big salary, professional prestige, invites to all of the local galas, and everything…

5 Reasons Why Doctors Search for a New Jobs

Five Reasons Why Doctors Search For a New Job

If you pay any attention at all to the stock market or financial news, you already know that the economy is booming and the outlook for jobs is better than…

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

Lifting the Regulatory Burden on Physicians

By

The regulatory burden on physicians and others on the front lines of healthcare is intensifying. A new, comprehensive study echoes growing frustration with the amount of time providers spend pushing paper rather than treating patients.

According to the Medical Group Management Association’s 2018 Survey, an overwhelming 86% of respondents reported an increase in regulatory burden over the past 12 months. An even larger percentage (94%) said a reduction in regulatory burden would allow more resources to be allocated toward patient care.

The MGMA report is further evidence that regulatory overload has been mounting. Previously, the 2016 Jackson Healthcare Physician Trends Survey, revealed that 60% of physicians reported more administrative work under the Affordable Care Act, resulting in less time with patients. Medscape has reported that 57% of physicians spend more than 10 hours per week on paperwork, and numerous studies have found that administrative work contributes to physician stress and burnout.

This burden comes with a cost. An analysis by the American Hospital Association shows that providers spend nearly $39 billion a year solely on administrative activities related to regulatory compliance. An average-sized hospital dedicates 59 full-time equivalents (FTEs) to regulatory compliance. one-quarter of those employees are physicians, nurses and other health professionals who would otherwise be caring for patients.

Impact on Physicians in the Future

The administrative overload makes the challenge of recruiting and retaining physicians more daunting. According to a recent survey, regulations are among the top causes of physician burnout. And, 54% said increased administrative burden contributes to the changes in healthcare that are likely to lead them to retire over the next five years. Seven out of 10 are unwilling to recommend healthcare as a profession, adding to the concerns of young people about entering medicine.

What You Can Do to Lessen the Overload

Here are the steps you can take to counteract trends that may prompt physicians to choose early retirement or cause young people to avoid medicine because of concerns that paperwork will impact work/life balance or detract from patient care:

However, there are steps you can take to counteract these trends:

  • Embrace the role of physician assistants and nurse practitioners in your practices.
  • Implement telemedicine solutions to reach more patients more efficiently
  • Utilize clinical scribes to facilitate documentation, while the provider focuses on the patient
  • Evaluate your electronic health record systems to ensure they are compatible with workflow
  • Guard against burnout by making work/life balance a reality and offering interventions, as needed
  • Educate elected officials about the impact on patients, healthcare workers and the community

Use your Voice and Vote

With healthcare representing the largest economic driver in many communities, administrators and trustees have access to their congressional representatives and the responsibility to place the issue of regulatory relief on the top of their agendas.

As voters, everyone – administrators, providers, staff and patients – can make our voices heard at the ballot box. Take an opportunity to examine your congressional representatives’ position on these issues and support those who understand the severity of the burden and act on regulatory relief.

While the wheels of government turn slowly, it is important to listen to physicians and other providers and manage those things under you control. Understanding their daily experience and frustrations will lead to solutions that maximize patient care time, ensure they are doing work “at the top of their license,” and encourage committed individuals to choose – and stay in – medicine as the satisfying profession it is meant to be.

Contact us to explore how you can position your organization to find and keep physicians in a satisfying practice.

 

Put the Flame Out on Physician Burnout

Put the Flame Out on Physician Burnout

Summer is in full swing with backyard barbecues, kids splashing in the pool, and friends and family are gathered around the yard chatting about last night’s little league…

Balancing Compensation and Culture

Balancing Compensation and Culture for the Right Fit

Balancing Compensation and Culture for the Right Fit is a look into compensation trends, quality of practice, quality of life, practice location, and how they contribute to culture…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.

The Engagement Gap

By

Physician alignment and satisfaction are critical to recruitment and retention. This study identifies a significant physician engagement gap and challenges the assumption that employing physicians is the only solution to clinical alignment.

The Physician Engagement Gap

Physicians aren’t as aligned as executives think (and what executives can do about it).

Jackson Healthcare sought to explore the current state of alignment and engagement among physicians who are employed. Based on our extensive secondary and primary research with hospitals and physicians, employed physicians are disengaged in large numbers. There has not been a positive change in engagement in the past decade. And more alarmingly, hospital executives perceive physicians to be more engaged than they actually are. Even though physicians are proud to associate themselves with the hospital for which they work, they don’t trust their hospital executives employers, and they are not involved in clinical and administrative decision-making processes. Physicians don’t want to follow a clinical recipe when it comes to patient care. They want to be respected for their expertise.

In order to achieve the alignment hospital executive are seeking, medical schools and hospitals must do more to prepare, involve and transform the role of physicians as stakeholders, decisionmakers, and leaders. Cultural changes are necessary in the hospital environment if physicians are to make decisions in the best interest of the health system vs. a sole focus on their individual practices.

This report explores the current acquisition and employment trends and the effect on physician alignment.

Acquisition

The days when physicians graduated from medical school, completed their residency, and hung out a shingle in private practice have come to a close. And physicians who began their careers in private practice are less likely to retire there.

Physician ownership of private practices is trending downward while hospital employment of physicians and acquisition of physician practices is on the rise. Hospitals are acquiring physician practices in large numbers and younger physicians prefer to begin their careers as employees rather than enter private practice. In the early to mid-1990s, hospitals acquired physician practices in great numbers. That trend reversed in the late 1990s/early 2000s. According to VMG Health the sharp drop in hospital acquisitions of physician practices was fueled by:

  • physicians’ frustration with hospital management practices
  • hospitals’ frustration with physicians’ lack of motivation and productivity
  • the dissolution of many physician practice management companies and integrated delivery networks

Currently, hospitals are acquiring practices in numbers similar to the 1990s. In the past decade, the percentage of hospital-owned physician practices has tripled from about 25% in 2002 to almost 75% in 2011. The percentage of physicians in solo practice has decreased from 41% in 1983 to 18% in 2012.

Read the rest of this study by clicking the download button.

Cultural Blueprint for Successful Physician Recruitment

Focus on Fit: A Cultural Blueprint for Successful Physician Recruitment

This presentation, given by our CEO at the 2018 MGMA Annual Meeting, explains why cultural fit is so important and how to create a physician recruitment blueprint that focuses on fit…

Physician Recruitment and Retention Practices That Work

Finders Keepers Physician Recruitment and Retention Practices That Work

We take a hard look at how technology, company culture, and team roles can influence physician recruitment and retention practices. We discuss how technology can help with recruitment…

Need Help Recruiting Physicians?

Click the Get Started button if you’re ready to speak with one of our physician recruitment experts.