Recruiting, Retaining Physicians Requires Finesse

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , February 28, 2013

Moreover, a hospital may offer great benefits and a terrific salary, but be located thousands of miles from where a physician wants to work, thus throwing a monkey wrench into a potential match.

Competing forces complicate the hiring of physicians. The demand for more primary care physicians is juxtaposed against the backdrop of the healthcare transition from "volume of care vs. quality of care," says Stone, who also is president-elect of the National Association of Physician Recruiters.

Nothing can be taken for granted, says Floyd Wilson Jr, executive VP of marketing, physician relations and community outreach at Metro Health System in Wyoming, MI. "It's a great game-changer, volume versus value," Wilson says.

"There are a limited number of providers and everybody is looking for them," Wilson adds. Who gets hired has changed. Bringing on board "the person who has a horrible bedside manner and great outcomes, for the most part, is done," Wilson says. "If you are recruiting a physician, we are looking at the team-focused concept, and everyone coming together in a multidisciplinary team." That would result in improved patient satisfaction scores, for instance.

As Metro Health works to recruit physicians, one of its selling points is the fact that Western Michigan is a "beautiful place," Wilson says. And who helps make the sale? Physicians who already work for the health system, he says.

"The physician group has a very important role in recruiting, especially for those physicians who are from other areas. They are important for the retention piece, too. The physicians who work here are huge, in sharing that message."

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