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Doctors Become Reluctant Employees As Many Are Forced Out of Private Practice

DALLAS, Feb. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As consolidation in healthcare continues, and more mergers and acquisitions occur, many physicians are becoming employees and less interested in private practice ownership. How do physicians feel about the transition from practicing as an owner or partner of a practice, to practicing as an employee?

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The Medicus Firm, a leading national physician search firm, and MDLinx.com Career Center, a leader in physician recruitment advertising, partnered to gauge physicians' insights, expectations, and perceptions of being an employee compared to owning a private practice. The survey of 536 physicians, conducted by M3 Global Research, found that many physicians see employment as a necessary "shelter from the storm" in today's healthcare environment.

When asked to select the three reasons to pursue an employed opportunity, necessity ("it is the only financially viable option") was most frequently selected as the primary motivation for choosing employment over primary practice, and the second most common answer selected as one of several motives.

What is the implication to hospitals and physicians' employers?  Levels of stress and burn-out may increase among doctors, says Jim Stone, president of The Medicus Firm.

"As doctors lose more and more control over their professional lives, they may start to feel increasingly stressed and frustrated. Gradually, physicians' autonomy continues to erode." Stone adds that, while physician recruiting trends towards employment and away from private practice, the reality of practicing as an employee may be tougher than physicians' expectations of employment.

"In reviewing thousands of client job postings on our site, we see recruiters emphasizing the importance of work and personal life balance when seeking candidates," remarks Matt Baker, Vice President of Physician Recruitment Advertising MDLinx.com Career Center.  "Our experience tells us that this trend is in response to heavy workloads, financial pressure from decreasing insurance reimbursements and rising costs of practice ownership."

Although a physician has signed an employment contract, the physician may feel apprehensive about practicing as an employee. Jim Stone advises healthcare executives and administrators to pay special attention to newly employed physicians who recently migrated from private practice, and offer them added support and guidance during the on-boarding process and throughout the first year of employment.

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink the Kool-Aid," says Stone.  "Healthcare management should be sensitive to the fact that, for some physicians, this may be the first time he or she has worked as an employee in many years, if ever. Regardless of one's occupation, the transition from owner to employee can be stressful. However, for physicians, who already cope with many stressful industry changes, the transition to employment could be particularly overwhelming."

Since a large percentage of physicians are employed reluctantly, what can hospitals do, and offer, to attract and retain physicians?  Doctors listed highly competitive compensation, flexible schedules, and support staff as the top three factors that would keep them happy.

Physicians chose the following as other important factors in recruiting and retention:

  • Leadership and growth opportunities
  • Decision-making input

"Physicians' responses to the survey seem to indicate that offering leadership roles and input in important decisions could help to ease the transition from being an owner to an employee," Baker concludes.

Stone, who also heads up the National Association of Physician Recruiters (NAPR) as the current president, agrees, "Anything employers can do to make physicians feel a part of the 'big picture'  could help physicians maintain some degree of the autonomy and control that they had when they were practice owners."

About the Survey:  The survey was created and written by the research and communications departments of The Medicus Firm and MDLinx.  M3 Global Research, ISO certified, conducted the survey, which was completed by 536 physicians of various specialties in November 2013. Physicians were also asked about quality based incentives and the impact of the ACA. To obtain a full report and key findings, contact Andrea Santiago [email protected].

About MDLinx.com, part of M3 Group: 

The M3 Group operates in the US, Asia, and Europe with over 2.5 million physician members globally via its physician websites including www.m3.com, www.mdlinx.com, http://research.m3.com, www.doctors.net.uk  and www.medigate.net. M3 Inc. is publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (jp:2413) with subsidiaries in major markets including USA, UK, Japan, S. Korea, and China. M3 Group provides services to healthcare and the life science industry. In addition to physician recruitment advertising, (career.mdlinx.com), these services include market research, medical education, ethical drug promotion, clinical development, job recruitment, and clinic appointment services. M3 has offices in Tokyo, Washington D.C., Fort Washington, PA, Oxford, London, and Seoul.

About The Medicus Firm: The Medicus Firm is a national physician search firm headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Since 2001, The Medicus Firm has assembled one of the most experienced physician recruiting teams in the industry, and has successfully placed physicians in virtually every medical specialty in 47 states. The Medicus Firm has earned several distinctions including Best of Staffing (2011,2013,2014) from Inavero/CareerBuilder, Best Places to Work in Healthcare (2012, 2013) by Modern Healthcare, and is also an AdminiServe partner of the MGMA. For more information see http://TheMedicusFirm.com.

Contact:

Andrea Santiago – The Medicus Firm

 [email protected]

(404) 990-3614 Office

(678) 779-7549 Mobile

SOURCE The Medicus Firm

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