Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Avoiding the Wrong Fit: A Physician’s Guide to Evaluating Culture

Assessing a physician opportunity is crucial to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship is established upon signing. Evaluating a group's culture to confirm both parties have the same vision and expectations during the interview process is a very important way to make sure the move is a long-term one.

There are many factors to consider in evaluating a physician job opportunity: community need, support, compensation, the core values of the group, mission, location, etc., however culture is one of the most important considerations.

This article in the New England Journal of Medicine elaborates on exploring the culture of a group during the interview process.

Read the full article by clicking here:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Increase in Part-Time Physician Employment

While part-time has been a documented increasing trend amongst women physicians, a new study also determines there is an increase in part-time employment from male physicians as well. Some of the largest medical groups are increasing part-time employment for all experience levels of physicians, for both men and women.

The part-time employment situation can be mutually beneficial to both parties; at any stage of their career physicians have more flexibility and quality of life, while hospitals and medical groups have adequate coverage and patient care.

In 2011, part-time physicians represented 25% of the workforce in large groups, up from 13% in 2005, according to the latest physician retention survey conducted by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) and Cejka Search.

Male physicians account for 62% of physicians in the groups responding to the survey. The percentage of male physicians who are part-time more than tripled from 2005 to 2011, increasing from 7% to 22%. The part-time rate for women physicians increased at a slower clip, from 29% to 44%. The survey shows that 3 in 4 groups offer a 4-day full-time work week.

Large medical groups and hospitals are currently transitioning employment options to attract new physicians and provide more flexible options for existing physicians, thus helping with retention. In 2011, the turnover rate was 6%, which was slightly down from 6.4% in 2005.

In this healthcare environment it is crucial for hospitals and medical groups to remain flexible and offer alternate employment options. Part-time employment is one way to appeal to many practicing physicians at any stage of their career.

Read more at MedScape, or click here:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Physician Employment Model Cycles

There is recent press significantly documenting the trend to hospital employment. According to American Hospital Association data analyzed by Medscape Medical News, there is a 34% increase in physician employment by hospitals since 2000. However this trend is not revolutionary, like any sector physician employment also has cycles.

Our physician recruiting firm has absolutely seen an increase in hospital employment positions, however there are still some very strong and successful private practices that are stable, profitable, and offer many of the same appeals as hospital employment: specifically, quality of life. Private practices have a stereotype as physicians working long hours, however there are many private groups that offer shared call and very similar lifestyles compared with hospital employed groups.

Motivators for physicians seeking more private-based models are maintaining their independence, having more control of their income and day-to-day operations, and sometimes frustrations with hospital employed contracts and the feeling that the hospital isn't following through with some of the promises made during negotiations.

Hospital employment remains strong and a mutual choice amongst both physicians and hospitals; however there will always be other employment options in any cycle and economic environment, and there will always be physicians who thrive under a private model.

For more information, check out the article in MedScape Today, or click here:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Physician Contract Language: Outside Work Activities

Traditionally many physicians have earned extra income with locums or moon-lighting opportunities. Some physicians have even occasionally or regularly been expert witnesses in trials, or particularly in more saturated and populated areas taken call at multiple hospitals. Many academic and even private based physicians also speak regularly at events.

In the current trend of hospital employment, are these avenues for earning extra income not permitted in the employment contracts? Sometimes in contracts physicians aren't permitted to earn extra income outside what is listed in their employment contracts, or even in more unique situations, sometimes any extra income earned may be the right or need to be shared with the entity that owns the employment contract, such as the hospital that employs the physician. Steven Harris, a partner at McDonald Hopkins in Chicago has recently written an article in American Medical News deciphering the language of outside work in physician employment contracts. According to the article, some employers prohibit engagement in outside activities and services altogether, while others permit certain activities that do not interfere with the physician's day-to-day responsibilities.

The article mentions further that physicians need to be aware of requirements that give the employer the right to approve or reject outside activities, prior to signing any agreement. The physician's desired activities should be specifically identified in the employment agreement as permitted activities, even if the physician does not necessarily plan on outside employment but may wish to in the future.

If an employer does permit the physician to earn income in outside work situations, it's also important to determine if income generated from such activities belongs to the physician or the employer.

The last question is whether outside activities are covered by the physician's liability insurance policy.

The article goes on to explain how important negotiations are before the physician signs; contract clauses describing what the physician can and cannot do outside of the employment relationship are of key importance. It is best to address these issues at the onset of the employer-employee relationship so that all parties are on the same page from the beginning.

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