Wednesday, June 29, 2011

S&P: Outlook for Hospital Finances Bright

Standard & Poor's managing director of non-profit healthcare ratings has a generally positive outlook for healthcare facilities for the next couple of years. Martin Arrick, S&P's Managing Director, said in their annual conference many of the financial conditions of 2008 and 2009 have stabilized.

He added that S&P's upgrades outpaced downgrades by a significant margin in 2011. Many hospitals and systems that received downgrades in recent years have bounced back.

He observed that providers must negotiate a "new normal" of flat patient volumes and growth, which continues to pressure them to cut expenses. Also, the state governments will continue to cut Medicaid and other portions of their budgets that can affect the bottom lines of hospitals.

One thing that has yet to be determined is the affect health care reform will have on hospital's bottom line and how many new patients hospitals will see.

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Physicians Still in Strong Demand

Despite the decrease in positions across the board in all industries and even now a slight increase in healthcare positions, demand for physicians in all specialties is still increasing. In fact, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medicine continued to be one of the few economic sectors still creating jobs in their June released report.

Physician positions appeared to have increased in all specialties with of course the most dramatic increase in primary care and internal medicine physicians.

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

Added Incentive to Recruit Recruit Elder Care Specialists and Physicians

Fewer than 400 geriatricians a year emerge from academic training programs, partly for perceptual reasons (students see it as a depressing field, though its practitioners find it very satisfying) but partly for financial ones. With virtually all their patients on Medicare, geriatricians are the least paid of all medical specialists. They are actually penalized for their decision to care for old people. After three years as internal medicine residents, their income drops by $15,000 if they complete the fourth year of training required to become a geriatrician. More training equals even less money.

Geriatrics specialists, incredibly, are not included in the federal law governing eligibility for the National Health Service Corps. The National Health Service Corps offers a loan forgiveness program to help pay off the staggering debt that many health professionals, including physicians, incur as students. Established to increase the supply of primary care practitioners, the corps allows geriatrics specialists to participate for now because of an intervention of the secretary of health and human services. But unlike professionals in family and internal medicine, and in pediatrics, the inclusion of geriatrics specialists is recent and impermanent. A future secretary could bounce them.

The Eldercare Workforce Alliance has proposed a modification to add geriatrics specialists to the corps' governing legislation. It's a simple bill, just 29 words long including the title, the Caring for an Aging America Act. It requires no additional expenditures, though if it succeeds in drawing more people into service, Congress might eventually decide to increase the corps' appropriation.

Read the full article in the New York Times, or click here:

MGMA Report on Physician Compensation

MGMA will release their annual report next month, Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 2011 Report Based on 2010 Data. While the data obviously varies significantly by specialty, one common trend is geography. The report found that median compensation was highest in the southern states for both primary care physicians and specialists.

Another trend the report sited was the increase in physicians moving to hospital employed positions as opposed to starting solo practices or joining existing private practices. This has been discussed frequently over the last several months in multiple media outlets.

Whether physicians are looking for their first job out of training or looking to change positions, there are so many other factors aside from compensation they need to take in to consideration. Quality of life is a big factor many younger physicians are seeking in their job search. Shared call, guaranteed salary, vacation, and location are all important to provide physicians a balance in their life.

The private practice model is not completely dying out, there will always be a market for physicians who want to have full control over their practice and how they operate. It also doesn’t necessarily mean working 80+ hours per week to make decent income. Physicians can still enjoy a good quality of life in a private model with shared call and managed care organizations.

Whatever physicians today are seeking in their job search, there are many employment models to choose from. Models can sometimes be negotiated to in order to tailor to a physician’s preferences. It’s important with the changing healthcare environment both physicians and hiring organizations, whether they be hospitals, academic institutions, or private practices, are flexible in their negotiations to ensure both parties make a successful, long term placement.

Read the full article in HealthLeaders Media, or click here:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Physician Career Realties vs. Physician Career Expectations

This article is written highlighting Neurosurgery, although the same principals can be applied to other physician specialties.

In medical school and residency, training programs do a great job of teaching medical students clinical duties. However, how effectively do they teach future physicians real-life lessons on how to run or be a part of a practice?

At our physician recruiting firm we see higher percentages than even this article references, 50-60%+ of physicians changing jobs after their first contract out of training. It is so important for physicians to consider all of their motivating factors in their first job to avoid looking for another position once the first contract is up. This includes everything from call, location, community amenities, salary, bonuses, partnership, academic pursuits/ opportunities, and family.

To ensure physicians accept jobs out of training that fit what they are looking for not only in a position but also in a way of life and family they need to consider all factors in how they want to practice and how they want to live their lives.

Read the full article in the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, or click here: