There will always be an uneven distribution of physicians, says Lori Schutte, president of St. Louis-based Cejka Search, a physician and healthcare executive search organization. "Everyone wants San Diego and Miami. No one wants to be in Decatur, IL, or Sullivan, MO. Locale is the No. 1 issue: Physicians want to be where they want."
Physician practices may not be able to change their location, but tailoring recruitment packages to individual physician needs and offering competitive compensation can make the difference and bring docs on board.
The top three recruitment strategies most frequently cited by medical groups as important are all financially focused, as shown in the following survey findings from AMGA and Cejka Search:
"You have to offer a competitive compensation package. But what competitive means can vary from place to place, and laws of supply and demand are forces even with human capital such as physicians," says Schutte. "We've had clients in major metro areas that don't need to offer the same compensation as someone in a rural setting."
New era of recruitment
The compensation data out today are two years old, says Schutte. Organizations need to make sure that what they are offering is competitive in their market. For example, three years ago, half of Cejka's clients offered a signing bonus. Today a signing bonus is expected, says Schutte. "What used to be, in the past, an incentive-the carrot-has now become the norm. People are looking for more and more different ways to distinguish themselves."
The industry has also come to terms with the knowledge that there really is a physician shortage, so medical group practices are being much more flexible with candidates, says David Nyman, manager of physician recruitment at Marshfield (WI) Clinic, a nearly 800-physician multispecialty group practice. "Ten years ago, if someone said, 'I want to be a part-time,' the answer would have been no," Nyman says. "Now if someone says that, we'll do anything we can to make any sort of option work for the individual."
Organizations are also offering many more incentives, such as student loan assistance or recruitment incentives. "People are coming out with $200,000 in student loan assistance," says Nyman.