Friday, April 30, 2010

Healthcare Spending Slows, Still Outpaces the National Economy

National health expenditures grew in 2008 at the slowest pace in nearly 50 years yet still outpaced economic growth at large, according to a new report from the California HealthCare Foundation.

Despite these findings, CHCF projections suggest that the recession-driven contraction in the economy, coupled with a modest increase in healthcare spending, will raise healthcare's share of the economy for 2009.

Read the full article at Healthcare Finance News, or click here:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Increase of Medical School Graduates Matching to Primary Care Residencies

The number of U.S. medical school seniors who will enter residency training in family medicine rose 9% over 2009, according to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).
This is positive news as there has been a concern over an upcoming shortage of all physicians, particularly those in Family Medicine and Primary Care.

In 2009, the number of U.S. medical school seniors placed in family medicine residencies dropped by 7%. This year, 2,608 training slots in family medicine were offered, 73 more positions than last year. U.S. seniors filled 1,169 of those positions, compared to 1,071 in 2009.

According to the NRMP, this was the largest Match in history: 30,543 applicants participated, 655 more than last year and 3,800 more than in 2006.

The New England Journal of Medicine has published an article detailing the match results. Read the full article here:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Physicians: What to Consider When Making a Career Move

Summer is quickly approaching and most of our 2010 residency graduates and fellowship candidates have signed employment contracts. However, there are still some candidates available and many positions available to them.

Obviously a lot of job movement takes place for recent graduates, however many of the candidates we work with are experienced and are looking for a job change for a number of reasons including leadership, climate, change in employment model, and income. An estimated 40% of newly practicing physicians choose to leave their initial practice opportunity within two years of joining the group.

The New England Journal of Medicine has published an article on what physicians need to consider when making a career move. To read the full article, click here:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

MGMA: Physician Recruiters Are Filling Vacancies More Quickly and Efficiently

MGMA has published a report indicated internal physician recruiters are filling physician vacancies quicker compared to previous years. The survey focused on cost, duration, location and frequency of physician searches, as well as physician turnover as reported by internal physician recruiters.

At our physician recruiting firm, many of the hospitals and larger facility corporations we use utilize a combination of agency firms and in-house (internal) recruiters. We work on a contingency and find this a very effective way to utilize several resources to provide the most qualified and experienced physician candidates to our clients.

The MGMA’s report, “In-House Recruitment Benchmarking Survey: 2010 Report Based on 2008 Data,” showed that most specialties reported a decline in the cost and number of resources associated with filling these positions.

Read the full article at Healthcare Finance News, or click here:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Health Industry Continues to Hire as the Economy Recovers

Several reports released in March and April suggest demand for health care jobs is growing. Many of these jobs are in health care support roles, such as RNs, PTs, OTs, and Speech Pathologists. In our firm we have read one alternative to the shortage of physicians, particularly with health care reform, is hiring additional support staff and even potentially giving some positions, such as nurses, more responsibilities.

The number for health care practitioners and technical workers, a category that includes physicians, grew by more than 88,000 to 627,300 ads in March from 539,200 in February. Ads in March were at their highest level since April 2008.

Read the full article in American Medical News, or click here:

Doctors Pursue House and Senate Seats

USA Today reports that 47 physicians - 41 Republicans and six Democrats - are running for the House or Senate this year, three times the number of doctors serving in Congress today. An influx of doctors to Congress could alter the landscape for future debates over Medicare and rising insurance premiums months after lawmakers approved President Obama's 10-year, $938 billion health care law.

Physician candidates start with at least one political advantage: voter confidence. A Gallup Poll in March found 77% of Americans trust doctors to do "the right thing" on health policy, compared with 32% for Republican leaders and 49% for Obama. "Physicians just have a different mind-set toward problem solving," said Larry Bucshon, a Republican heart surgeon running for a House seat in Indiana. "It's very good training for being a congressman." Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a doctor and opponent of the health care law, said more physician input may have led to a better law. "The physician perspective was ignored during the last year and a half," he said.

Read the full article in USA Today, or click here:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Health Plan Pushes for Help for Small Physician Practices

At our physician recruiting firm we receive a lot of feedback on the government assistance with updating physician records to electronic records. Although the updates are proven to provide better information more easily accessible to physicians and to share amongst physicians and other specialists and proven to save money, the process of updating all patient records can seem overwhelming to a physician practice, particularly a smaller physician practice without as many administrative resources.

A managed care health insurer wants to help regional health IT extension centers with their support of small physician practices that it fears could fly under the radar.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has awarded grants to set up 60 extension centers across the nation to offer hands-on help to providers in putting EHRs into practice. One of ONC's goals is to give small providers the technical resources they need to meet meaningful use requirements in order to qualify for incentive payments under the HITECH Act.

Read the full article in Healthcare IT News, or click here:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

U.S. Faces Shortage of Doctors

The Wall Street Journal reports that there won't be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The greatest demand will be for primary-care physicians. These general practitioners, internists, family physicians and pediatricians will have a larger role under the new law, coordinating care for each patient. The U.S. has 352,908 primary-care doctors now, and the college association estimates that 45,000 more will be needed by 2020. But the number of medical-school students entering family medicine fell more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007.

Read the full article in The Wall Street Journal, or click here:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Healthcare Market to be 'Bullish' Over the Next Decade

A new report issued by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that the healthcare industry will be a promising place in which to work and invest over the next decade.

PwC's "HealthCast" report, which analyzed the influence of consumerism, genomics, and the Internet on healthcare, concludes that healthcare jobs, including new positions such as healthcare navigators, health educators and care coordinators, will be in high demand. There should also be an increasing need for primary care physicians, nurses, and physician's assistants, according to researchers.

The article continues on the trends we are constantly reading about in our firm: the impending physician shortage and how hospitals can retain and attract physicians and remain competitive.

Read the full article in Healthcare Finance News, or click here:

Monday, April 12, 2010

2010 Match

AMA Graduate Medical Education has published the 2010 match results.

According to AMA, the results of the 2010 Match provide some answers but leave many questions unanswered.

Are more unmatched US medical school graduates sitting it out for a year or two? Doing what?
What happens to those who match or scramble into a preliminary or transitional year but don't secure a position in a core ACGME program? Since US medical school graduates can enter practice in most states after just one year of GME, do they?

What about the large and growing number of IMGs (including US citizens) who fail in their attempts to enter GME?

Since we face a national physician shortage, can we afford to delay the training or lose the expertise of any qualified residency applicant?

Perhaps most important for our patients' sakes, will the career choices reflected in these results ensure an adequate, well-trained, competent, diverse, and well-distributed medical workforce?

Please read the tables in the AMA eNewsletter; out of all specialties provided there were 25,520 available, 24,378 filled, and 1,142 left unfilled.

Read the full article in AMA, or click here:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Forging a New Partnership with Physicians to Increase Satisfaction and Reduce Turnover

This article from The New England Journal of Medicine was published a few years ago, but we find the topic relevant, particularly because some of our recent topics like "More doctors giving up private practice" have generated so much discussion.

Working with our hospital clients it isn't important just to attract a physician and get them to sign an employment contract, but to continually analyze the relationship to make sure the physician and hospital are continuing a mutually beneficial partnership.

In the article, Press Ganey Associates’ 2008 Hospital Check-Up Report — Physician Perspectives on American Hospitals highlights a number of opportunities to improve relations with the medical staff, increase physician engagement with the hospital, and reduce the risk that doctors will open competing facilities.

Read the full article in The New England Journal of Medicine, or click here:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Private Practice Physicians vs. Academic Physicians

Healthcare Finance News has published an article on the compensation of private practice physicians vs. academic physicians. Not surprisingly, private practice physicians tend to make more money than academic physicians.

Many of our candidates are interested in academic careers; we find the motivation to be an academic physician is based more on professional fulfillment and self actualization than monetary remuneration. Individual candidate character, intellectual pursuit and teaching capacity, and personal vision, are the dominant features that inspire many of the candidates we work with seeking academic positions. Plus, the opportunity to teach the physicians of tomorrow and to be a part of research which will contribute to medicine as a whole is very fulfilling.

Read the full article from Healthcare Finance News here:

Friday, April 2, 2010

State Medical Boards Discipline More Docs in 2009

Each year, the Federation of State Medical Boards publishes the Summary of Board Actions, a compilation of disciplinary actions initiated by its 70 member medical boards. In addition to providing disciplinary data, the report includes information about the context in which each board operates, including standards of proof required when prosecuting cases and the health care professions regulated. This year's report includes disciplinary data for each board from 2005-09.

During 2009, state medical boards took 5,721 actions against physicians, an increase of 342 actions over 2008. The FSMB also provides Summary of Board Actions reports since 1990. Because states operate with different financial resources, levels of autonomy, legal constraints and staffing levels, the FSMB discourages using data from this report to compare or rank states. The Summary of Board Actions is most useful in tracking trends in physician discipline within each state over time.

Read the full article in PhyisiciansNews, or click here:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Social Media and Physicians

The New England Journal of Medicine has commented on the increasing trend of social media use amongst physicians. As usage grows among doctors, benefits, challenges, and liability concerns are emerging. Doctors are not only blogging about their views on health care or political issues; they’re also creating Facebook pages and jumping into the fray of Twitter.

A Manhattan Research survey published in early 2009 reported that 60% of U.S. physicians are either actively using social media networks or are interested in doing so. In the ensuing year, during which health care reform and pressing public health issues such as H1N1 containment took center stage, physician participation in blogs and on the popular networking communities Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter has likely grown significantly.

The last two years have also spawned several new networking sites devoted to physicians, and social media has made its way into virtually every aspect of the health care delivery realm. Hospitals are developing Facebook pages and establishing Twitter presences, and physicians in training have even “Tweeted” from the operating room to share their experiences with other physicians.

However, despite the potential professional benefits of social networking participation, some physicians are approaching the social media realm with trepidation, for fear that personal and professional presences will overlap in a manner that increases liability exposure. On the downside of the social media trend, studies such as one published in the September 23 to 30, 2009, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association have shown that medical students have used the forums inappropriately to discuss individual patients.

Read the full article in The New England Journal of Medicine, or click here: