The slightly improving economy has led to a slightly higher turnover rate among physicians employed by American Medical Group Association member organizations, according to the Cejka Search recruitment firm's 2010 Retention Survey of AMGA members, scheduled to be released formally on Sunday. The survey also predicted the cost of hiring a doctor may go up as competition for physicians' services increases: More than eight in 10 (83%) of the groups surveyed said they will hire "more" or "significantly more" primary-care doctors this year, and 79% said the same for specialists.
Doc turnover up slightly: AMGA survey
The survey also found that the number of female physicians employed by AMGA groups has climbed 55% since 2005 and the proportion of part-time doctors employed by these organizations also continues to increase.
The survey was sent electronically to the AMGA's 383 member medical organizations with 62 groups—representing a total of 17,624 physicians—responding. Data was collected from November 2010 through January 2011. Responding groups had, on average, 284 physicians, up from 146 in 2005.
Reported turnover in the new survey increased slightly to 6.1% from 5.9% in 2009, but it remained below the 2006 rate of 6.7%. Plummeting home prices during the recession prompted doctors to delay retirement or relocation, according to the survey.
The turnover rate was higher for male physicians (5.8%) than for female physicians (6.5%), and turnover increased slightly from 2009 for both men (up 0.1%) and women (up 0.3%). The highest turnover, 12.9%, occurred during physicians' second year of service and declined gradually thereafter, hitting 4% after 10 years with a group. Also, physician-owned groups had the highest turnover rate—8.2% in 2010, compared with 6.7% for hospital-owned groups and 4.9% for integrated delivery systems. The reasons for turnover in 2010 were: voluntary separation, 78%; termination, 12%; retirement, 10%; and death, 1%.
Female doctors still constituted only 34% of the workforce of AMGA members participating in the 2010 survey, but their numbers have increased significantly in five years, climbing to 6,046 in 2010 from 3,890 in 2005. Among doctors employed full-time, however, women still accounted for just 28% of the workforce. Corresponding with the increase in female physicians, the survey also noted how the full-time/part-time doctor ratio had shrunk to a 79-21 split in 2010 compared with an 87-13 breakdown in 2005.
The most-used incentive for hiring or retaining physicians in 2010 was reimbursement for continuing medical education, with 87% of responding groups saying this was part of all job offers. Productivity bonuses were offered all the time by 56% of the groups; 14% said they never offer them. In addition, 24% included signing bonuses in all offers while 14% they are never offered, 11% of groups propose paying for call in all job offers, while 52% said that is never offered, and only 2% said loan repayments are included in all job offers, while 65% said they are never offered.
Of the medical groups responding, 39% were physician-owned; 19% were hospital-owned; 27% were part of an integrated delivery system; and 15% fell into the category of academic/foundation/other. Fifteen percent of the groups consisted of three to 50 doctors; 37% had between 51 and 150; 32%, 151 to 500; and 16% had more than 500 physicians. Also, 29% of the groups were located in the West, 32% were based in Central states and 39% were in the East.
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