To Obsidian Research's Wann, that translates to very different recruitment pressures on the home health and nursing-care segments of post-acute care. “You probably will see a little pressure to raise wages on the home-health side,” he said. “Conversely, on the skilled-nursing side, I don't see much upward pressure in terms of wage rates in the skilled-nursing facilities.”
The hunt for qualified physicians interested in primary care will continue to dominate the physician employment landscape in 2015. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects total physician employment will grow only 18% to 814,700 positions in 2022, significantly below healthcare as a whole. But filling those extra slots will be exacerbated by the baby boomer retirement wave among doctors, just as it will be with nurses.
Phillip Miller, vice president of the Irving, Texas-based physician-recruitment firm Merritt Hawkins, notes 66% of oncologists are 55 or older, as are 60% of psychiatrists, 54% of cardiologists and 52% of orthopedic surgeons. “Now that the stock market has rebounded, we do anticipate an unprecedented wave of retirements that the industry is not prepared for,” he said. “It's like a tsunami lurking off shore.”
Yet specialist recruiting isn't the major problem faced by Dr. Matthew Gibb, chief medical officer at the Carle Foundation, an integrated health system with a 393-bed hospital in Urbana, Ill. “We're seeing the biggest difficulties in our primary-care recruiting,” he said. “There's a lot more competition for primary-care physicians both nationally and regionally.”
His solution? Signing bonuses, educational loan repayments and a $10,000 to $20,000 boost in the current starting salary of $190,000.
“We've placed a high emphasis on coordinated care, team-based care and population health,” which is attracting candidates, he said. “The employed model doesn't seem to bother our recruits.”
—Bob Herman, Steven Ross Johnson, Beth Kutscher, Jaimy Lee, Andis Robeznieks and Adam Rubenfire contributed to this report.