Friday, July 30, 2010

NEJM: Survey Quantifies Financial Impact of Adding Physicians

The New England Journal of Medicine has published an article tracking the direct impact physicians provide to a hospital financially. The survey examines revenue generated from direct hospital admissions, procedures, tests, and treatments in a variety of specialties.

The survey suggests physician recruiting can generate a positive return on investment, thereby ensuring that hospitals have the resources they need to provide quality care to the communities they serve.

However community need still needs to be determined in specific areas to ensure the incoming physicians will be busy enough. At our physician recruiting firm we work with many specialists and highly specialized physicians; a hospital just looking at the bottom line revenue of a certain specialty needs to consider competition in the community and determine what the demand is in their specific area to ensure the physician's success and therefore the revenue to the facility.

The average net revenue generated by all medical specialties was up slightly in 2010 over 2007. In 2010 the average net revenue is $1,543,788 and in 2007 it was $1,496,432.

The growing alignment of physicians and hospitals, often through hospital employment of physicians, may be an additional reason why overall average revenue generated by physicians for hospitals remained steady despite the recession. As physicians and hospitals become more aligned, revenue is more likely to flow to hospitals and less likely to flow to physician-owned surgery centers and other facilities.

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

Monday, July 26, 2010

Job Growth in Physician Offices and Hospitals Expected in 2010

Regardless of the job market declining in many sectors, jobs in physician offices and hospitals is expected to grow this year. The outlook is that health system reform combined with some temporary increased stability in Medicare pay may lead to expansion.

In addition, the hiring freezes that some organizations put in place to survive the latest economic downturn also mean that some practices are staffed as low as they can go.

A total of 3,200 jobs were added to hospital payrolls in the first six months of 2010. This was more than the 1,600 created in 2009, and experts expect hiring to continue.

The anticipation of increased hiring also stems from the expectation that health system reform will lead to a rise in the number of people with health insurance, which in turn will lead to a greater demand for medical services.

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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Decrease in Solo Practices

Many physicians today, particularly physicians out of training, are seeking careers based on many factors not considered in the past. Motivators for jobs are quality of life, communities, security, and shared call amongst other factors. These shifts are also making solo practices less common.

Physicians in solo practices find that they are self employed and running a business in addition to practicing medicine. The back-end business including marketing, billing, administration, and running the office can lead to long hours and without shared call with other groups little vacation and time off. In addition, new pressures from the current economy and changes in Medicare can make running a solo practice even more challenging and less stable.

Physicians out of training are concerned with starting a solo practice because of the threat of getting in to more debt opening an office as well as lifestyle flexibility and quality of life outside of work.

This article in The Detroit News says even mid-career physicians in Michigan and across the country are giving up their solo practices and joining large and better-financed hospital systems as salaried employees.

The shift is ushering in a new era in medicine that improves the coordination of patient care between doctors and hospitals and further consolidates the health care industry. In 1997, about 40% of physicians were in solo or two-doctor practices. By 2008, that figure had dropped to about 30%.

Read the full article in The Detroit News, or click here:

Monday, July 19, 2010

U.S. News and World Report: Best Hospitals in US

U.S. News and World Report has published their annual top hospitals in the nation. The hospital evaluated nearly 5,000 hospitals by 16 different adult specialties.

This list is the magazine's Honor Roll, these hospitals all landed near the top in their specialty evaluation for at least 6 different specialties:

1. Johns Hopkins
2. Mayo Clinic (Minnesota Mayo Clinic)
3. Massachusetts General Hospital
4. Cleveland Clinic
5. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
6. New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell
7. University of California, San Francisco Medical Center
8. Barnes Jewish Hospital/ Washington University
9. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
10. Duke University Medical Center
11. Brigham and Women's Hospital
12. University of Washington Medical Center
13. University of Pittsburg Medical Center
14. University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers

Read the article for a full report on all 16 specialties.

Read the full article at U.S. News and World Report or click here:

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Factors Affect Physician Recruitment and Retention

There have been many recent changes in physician’s compensation and uncertainty with new laws and reform taking place. Healthcare reform, Medicaid cuts, and even economic challenges have made physician’s compensation potentially more volatile in the near future. These new pressures are also influencing how compensation is structured in both recruiting and retaining physicians.

Healthcare Finance News’s article suggests good ways to retain current physicians are integrating the physician and the physician’s family in to the community and developing packages that address both compensation and lifestyle.

With the future less certain now than it has been in the past, at Harlequin Recruiting we believe it is more important to constantly assess physician retention and be aggressive in developing income packages to attract new physicians. Recruiting new physicians isn’t always purely based on the income guarantee but also flexibility in schedule, benefits, and stability. Communicating with your current physicians as well as courting physicians is more important than ever.

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

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

NEJM: Physician Compensation Outlook: Mostly Positive

The New England Journal of Medicine has published an article forecasting the current and future compensation for physicians. According to the article, primary care physician's compensation is brightening considerably, but there may be hurdles ahead for certain specialties.

Because of the severe shortage of Primary Care Physicians as well as other certain specialties these doctors are able to negotiate better on their overall income and benefit packages and create bonus structures as enticement. Relocation, CME, training stipends, signing bonuses, loan payment assistance, and overall benefit packages are one way hospitals are attracting physicians experiencing shortages.

Median compensation in Primary Care increased between 7% and 10% from 2007 to 2008, according to data from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) 2009 Physician Placement Starting Salary Survey; and by 10% in specialties as a whole.

Also, income is becoming more consistent for both Primary Care and Specialists across the US. Previous regional income disparities are less common and physicians can experience more of a set income for any geographical area.

However the outlook on some specialty’s income may slightly decrease, such as Urology and Oncology. Factors are ranging from the unknowns about how the Obama Care health-reform provisions will play out in the marketplace, changes in Medicare reimbursements, to a growing array of national initiatives to reduce healthcare costs and streamline care.

For the moment, the compensation picture is generally stable overall for physicians. But is a bit of a mixed bag among specialties, for both established physicians and those starting out. Between 2004 and 2008, median compensation increased roughly 14% for both Primary Care and Specialties as a whole. In the 2009 Physician Compensation and Production Survey, all specialties with the exception of psychiatry, ophthalmology and urology saw increases, and the declines among the latter were modest.

Also the transition of hospital employment positions from private practice opportunities has created a change in overall compensation as a whole. Hospitals, integrated health systems and many large private groups are moving away from solely productivity-based compensation structures and toward quality-based incentive programs.

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

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Proposition: Cut of Physician's Salary Instead of Medical School Tuition

The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has published an interesting article suggesting an alternative for significant student loan debt to physicians coming out of training. Instead of incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans, the article suggests medical schools taking a cut out of physician's salaries during their initial years in practice to pay for their education.

This is a very interesting proposition. There is major concern for the shortage in physicians currently and that need will increase exponentially with healthcare reform. Many medical schools are coming up with alternatives to address the shortage, such as Johns Hopkins offering significant financial aid programs for physicians entering primary care training. The proposition offered in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology would eliminate debt for medical students and allow doctors to choose their specialty based on desire rather than ability to pay back loans.

The rate for docs in public schools would be 5% of income; and 10% for those who go to private schools. These rates are across all specialties.

Having this program in place eliminates the need to constantly increase tuition and removes the economic impact on medical schools from the loss of tuition if a future decision is made to shorten the length of medical education.

Read the full article in Physician's News, or click here:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

1 in 9 US Jobs Supported by Hospitals

According to the American Hospital Association, 1 in 9 jobs are supported by hospitals. Overall, hospitals support 1 in 9 jobs in the U.S. based on a multiplier established at 2.8 jobs for every hospital job created. The AHA along with state hospital groups are releasing data as part of an effort to argue against cuts to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

The AHA is stating hospitals are major contributors to the economy. The health care sector added $2.3 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2008, or 16.2% of gross domestic product. Hospitals accounted for $718 billion of that total; employed more than 5.3 million people, including physicians; and spent about $320 billion on goods and services from other industries, according to AHA data.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts hospital employment figures at 4.7 million nationally as of May 2010.

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

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Best Medical Schools in the World

Compiling a list of the best medical schools in the world can be very difficult due to the sheer number of medical schools there are in the seven continents that make up the world. Also with different educational systems prevalent, it is difficult to define standards for ranking them. This article lists the top ten medical schools in the world that figure on a majority of lists ranking the top medical schools in the world.

This list is a compilation of those colleges that feature on most lists of the best medical schools in the world and is partial to colleges in the American and European continents.

1. Harvard University
2. University of Cambridge
3. Johns Hopkins University
4. University of Pennsylvania
5. University of Oxford
6. University of California at San Francisco
7. Yale University
8. Karolinska Institute
9. Columbia University
10. University of Dundee

Read the full article at, or click here: