Physician technology to assist with ultrasound procedures.
Physician technology to assist with ultrasound procedures.

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Survey: Turnover increasing as economy recovers

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A new survey showed as the economy continues to recover and homes sales and stocks rise, physician turnover has also increased at the highest rate since 2005, exceeding pre-recession levels. Researchers found a reported 11.5 percent turnover among advanced practice clinicians, including physician assistants and nurse practitioners, which was almost the same as 2011, the first time APC data was gathered.

Physician turnover increasing

Physician turnover increased from 6.5 percent in 2011 and 5.9 percent collected in 2009, the lowest collected at the height of the recession.

The survey shows that along with the economy recovery, there may continue to be more competition to hire and keep the top physicians, especially as retirement continues to increase among older physician and health care reforms place an increase for a demand on primary care.

Most turnover happening early in career or close to retirement

According to the data, researchers also found that the highest turnovers were found in the later and earlier years of practice. Thirty-six percent of groups expected the pace of retirements to increase in the upcoming year, compared with 27 percent just two years ago. The average turnover rate for physicians in their second or third year is 12.4 percent. Small practices tend to have more young physician turnover and account for nearly 21 percent of turnovers of physicians in their first years of practice.

“The survey findings provide evidence that recruitment and retention continue to be major challenges for health systems,” stated Donald W. Fisher, Ph.D., CAE, president and chief executive officer of AMGA. “To rise to these challenges, medical groups are demonstrating remarkable leadership by investing in new staffing and delivery models, building and nurturing their teams in a strategic way, and making accountable care work for their patients and their communities.”

More key turnover data

  • The survey also found that 76 percent of respondents had plans to hire more primary care physicians in the coming year and 22 percent of those said they will hire significantly more physicians compared with nine percent in 2011.
  • Additionally, the demand for APCs is expected to continue to increase. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they plan to hire more nurse practitioners and 61 plan to hire more physician assistants compare with 49 percent and 48 percent in 2011.
  • Interestingly, 85 percent of practices reported an onboarding process for physicians, although many are not formalized. Groups who assign a mentor during onboarding reported a lower turnover rate of nearly one percent less than the 6.8 percent reported for all groups.

An electronic version of the 2012 survey is available to AMGA members for $100 and non-AMGA members for $200.

The 8th annual Physician Retention Survey data was collected by the American Medical Group Association and Cejka and was collected from October 2012 through January 2013. Eighty survey responses were collected, representing approximately 20,000 physicians as well as a little more than 4,000 APCs.

Check out another recent survey showing an increase in opportunities for physicians as well as information on the areas that are most in-demand for recruiters.

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