The healthcare community is experiencing a drastic provider shortage. This shortage is due in large part to our aging population as many providers are nearing retirement and baby boomers are getting older. For example, by 2025, slightly more than one-third of doctors currently working will be 65 years or older. Not only are providers getting older, so are their patients. Each day, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 years old. With such a large amount of boomers celebrating this major milestone daily, they are now entering a stage of life where they will require more medical care. With all of these population changes, medical providers, especially primary care providers, are needed now more than ever before.
The Primary Care Physician Shortage by the Numbers
According to some estimates, by the year 2025, “there could be a shortage of up to 35,000” primary care doctors. By 2030, “the shortfall could total anywhere from 40,800 to 104,900 doctors.” When looking at these numbers, it is important to note that provider shortages are felt even more by patients in underserved urban and rural communities.
Moreover, a 2017 survey found the market for primary care residents, including family, internal medicine and pediatrics is in exceptionally high demand. The survey found that 76 percent of primary care residents receive around 50 or more job offers during their training and that 55 percent of primary care residents receive 100 or more employment offers.
Reaching Primary Care Physicians: The Top Three Recruitment Tips
Primary care physicians are essential to a functioning healthcare system since they act as “navigators,” guiding their patients through the system. Without primary care providers, patient safety is significantly threatened. With so many physicians needed and so few to answer the call, how do organizations attract prospective providers in this highly competitive market?
Stand Out From the Rest: Separate Your Organization from the Competition
Before an organization begins to recruit primary care physicians they must know their market. The first step is to do a market assessment and compare their benefits to that of their competition. Do similar health organizations in their area offer signing bonuses, retention bonuses, retirement match or generous PTO? If so, it may be time for the organization to look at enhancing their benefits to stay competitive and in some cases even increase their benefits to be slightly above market.
A Higher Calling: Sell Your Mission and Culture
Many physicians went into medicine seeing it as a higher calling. Thus, selling your organization’s mission and culture is imperative in this competitive marketplace. For physicians, especially providers driven by mission, it is crucial that an organization places a heavy emphasis on this in order to attract like-minded practitioners. Does your organization treat the underserved? What is your organization’s standing in the community? How many of your physicians volunteer their time to provide care domestically and internationally? Answers to these questions could be a huge bonus for primary care physicians looking for a position where they can give back.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Learn What Motivates Each Prospective Physician
Organizations must learn what motivates each individual physician to accept employment.
For example, for many physicians, being able to buy a home is a major life goal. However, buying a home, especially early in their careers is next to impossible mostly because of their student debt burden. As a result, organizations that provide down payment assistance to buy a home are an attractive option for providers dreaming of homeownership. If helping with homeownership is a bridge too far, even assisting with student loan repayment can get the attention of physicians who are facing massive monthly loan payments. In 2017, the average medical school debt was $190,000 with 25 percent of graduates carrying debts higher than $200,000. Thus, help with such a crushing debt load could be a huge factor for a provider who would like to get out from under their monthly loan payments.
Lastly, for physicians who are looking to start families, work-life balance could be a key selling point. Being able to demonstrate your commitment to work-life balance by providing generous leave and flexible schedules could go a long way in persuading a prospective physician who is on the fence about accepting an offer.
Furthermore, when recruiting a physician, it is important to listen to their needs and motivations as the situation for each provider will be different.
Planning for the Future
Our country is facing a major primary care provider shortage. Due to this, the employment market is highly competitive, and in many cases, primary care physicians are receiving multiple offers of employment. Thus, organizations that are in the market to hire primary care providers need to be competitive.
There are several strategies to consider when hiring primary care physicians such as offering above-market compensation, selling the mission and culture of an organization, and knowing what motivates each prospective provider.
While these strategies are crucial in closing the deal with prospective hires, you still need to find them. The best way to find top primary care provider talent in this highly competitive market is by using a professional recruiter. Professional recruiters have broad networks and relationships that allow them to attract the best and brightest providers to your organization.
At UHC Solutions, we are experts in the recruitment of primary care providers for healthcare organizations. Contact our healthcare recruiters today to learn more!