Other Recruiting Trends
Nonetheless, quality measures averaged less than 10% of a physician's potential bonus in 2013 and volume is still the key driver of physician incentives. The survey identified these trends as well:
- For the first time in the 20 years Merritt Hawkins has been conducting their review, physicians' assistants and nurse practitioners were among the top 20 recruiting assignments.
- Also for the first time, geriatricians cracked the top 20 and are being actively recruited to supplement elder care traditionally provided by internists, pulmonary and palliative care specialists.
- Hospitalists ranked third among the top 20 search assignments, probably because their training and emphasis on coordinating inpatient care and reducing readmissions are aligned with the goals of new care delivery models such as accountable care organizations.
- Other hospital-based physicians, particularly emergency medicine physicians, are in increased demand, as data show that a greater prevalence of insured patients does not necessarily decrease emergency room visits – a significant trend as millions of the previously uninsured begin to obtain coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
- The trend toward hospital employment of physicians continues and represented 64% of search assignments in 2012/13, up from 11% in 2004.
- Demand for physicians is not confined to underserved rural areas. Merritt Hawkins worked in 48 states in 2012/13 and 49% of the firm's searches were in communities of 100,000 people or more, the highest percentage in the 20-year history of the review.
John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.