Physician Attraction: A Matter of Life or Death

Rural Hospital 2

It’s no secret that physician recruitment is more competitive than ever and that rural hospitals are struggling the most. The inability to attract healthcare providers to remote areas impacts access to care in these communities and poses a threat to the survival of their hospitals. 

 

On a recent episode of NPR’s All Things Considered, Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association said, “Recruitment is a life or death issue, not just for patients in those areas, but for the hospitals themselves.”

 

Creative recruitment strategies

 

On the same episode, CEO Brad Huerta explained how his team at Lost Rivers Medical Center in Arco, Idaho secures physicians by targeting lovers of the great outdoors and semi-retired doctors. And Benjamin Anderson of Kearny County Hospital in Lakin, Kansas shared that his organization recruits physicians interested in making a difference in their communities. His hospital offers ten weeks of paid sabbatical a year and encourages its doctors to use this time to serve on medical missions. 

 

Compensation designed to recruit and retain

 

Whatever your recruitment strategy may be, it’s important to be able to offer competitive compensation packages, not only to attract physicians, but to keep them as well. A recent Jackson Physician Search survey polled rural physicians and administrators on the factors that influence recruitment, and while the two groups had differing opinions on several top-ranking factors, they agreed that compensation is the single most influential tool in recruitment. 

 

Sustainability should not be overlooked

 

While everyone agrees that a hospital’s pay must be competitive, it is equally as important for it to be sustainable. This is especially true at rural facilities, where the financial burden of recruitment takes a toll on their limited resources. 

 

So how can rural hospitals design compensation packages that help them stand out in the marketplace without compromising their financial viability? 

 

Our recommended approach is to offer rewards that give physicians financial advantages they could not easily procure for themselves. Our Physicians’ Advantage Plan, for example, maximizes the value of hospital-based compensation by providing an executive-benefit-type reward that’s commonly used in the corporate world, but is underutilized in the healthcare industry.

 

Stabilizing the bottom line

 

We also recommend making sure that a hospital’s compensation programs help stabilize its bottom line. This can be achieved in several ways. Our Physician Employment Strategies allows hospitals to link compensation to organizational goals such as quality, performance, and loyalty, which can all impact finances.

 

A program can also be designed to incorporate a platform for expense recovery. This allows a hospital to recoup some of its compensation expenditures. For rural facilities, the ability to recover expenses makes it easier to keep up with larger organizations in the race for physician talent. Expense recovery is an important facet of our Call Pay Solution. Since physicians are used to compensation programs changing or being dissolved altogether, we believe it’s important to provide them assurance that their call pay program will be around for years to come.   

 

Transforming liabilities into tools

 

While hospitals continue to look for unconventional ways to attract physicians to their facilities, it’s important to match unique programs with compensation packages that are both competitive and sustainable. As it becomes harder for rural facilities to survive, it’s important that they find ways to transform financial liabilities like physician compensation into tools that uphold their financial viability. When used properly, compensation can help promote access to care in America’s rural communities. 

REQUEST OUR WHITE PAPER

Complete the form below and receive a copy of our latest white paper, The Call Pay Solution: Stabilizing budgets with a fair and sustainable approach
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Want to Learn More?

The Anonymous Physician on Retention

The Anonymous Physician:  Physician Retention The Anonymous Physician column provides physicians with a platform to discuss pressing issues in healthcare. From time to time, we pose a question to a doctor, or a group of doctors, and post their answers anonymously, giving them the freedom to be frank and uninhibited.…

Aligning executive compensation can aid in hospitals’ recovery

Aligning executive compensation can aid in hospitals’ recovery Healthcare organizations are looking to their boards to help guide them through the transition into a post-pandemic world. Becker’s recently highlighted the top five concerns healthcare boards have as they plan for recovery and a return to normal. One of them is…

Physician input leads to fairness

Physician input leads to fairness Hospitals often rely on Fair Market Value (FMV) surveys to help them determine how much to pay physicians for services like taking unassigned call. While these surveys are a good place to start, they’re also problematic. Most of the hospitals we visit would only be…

Physician retention hinges on communication

Physician retention hinges on communication The rise in hospital employment, combined with physician shortages, has made physician recruitment more competitive than ever for hospitals. Many are struggling to find ways to distinguish themselves in a crowded and heavily regulated market.    Given the amount of resources going toward recruitment, it…