Geisinger Health System is trying to fill 1,500 open positions for physicians, nurses, clinicians and support staff after hiring 444 people since July 1.
Geisinger, based in Danville, Pa., has grown from two to 12 hospitals over the past decade and is still trying to provide greater access for patients in the 45 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey it now serves vs. the 30 counties previously, said Julene Campion, vice president of talent management at Geisinger.
Healthcare hiring has been a driver of U.S. jobs creation since the recession, especially over the past two years as energy and manufacturing jobs have slumped.
The healthcare sector added 275,000 jobs in the first seven months of 2016 and 477,000 jobs in the 12 months ended July 31, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Geisinger has sharpened its job recruiting in recent months, particularly for physicians, to compete for talent in the demand-rich environment, Campion said.
When Campion joined Geisinger in February, the system, which includes the 551,000-member Geisinger Health Plan, actually had slightly more job openings than it has today, she said.
But after taking a close look at the openings, Campion said Geisinger found that the average posting was 104 days old vs. the 85 days that it is today.
Some of the postings were a year or more old, meaning that the facilities had gotten along without filling the jobs, Campion said.
In going through all postings more than 90 days old, human resources called managers at the clinics and hospitals to determine whether the managers really needed those positions filled. If not, they were taken down, she said.
The remaining postings were vetted and the system felt comfortable that those positions were needed, she said.
Geisinger, which posted revenue of $4.6 billion in 2015, is recruiting for positions across the board, Campion said.
Physicians pose among the toughest challenges.
Specialists in urology, neurology and even some hospitalists, or internists that work inside hospitals, are particularly in high demand, she said.
Geisinger has a large medical group, employing 1,300 physicians.
Campion said CEO David Feinberg has emphasized going outside traditional physician recruiting to find doctors.
Recently, Geisinger began holding educational forums at its facilities and at friendly systems to help residents think about future employment, strengthen their resumes, search for jobs and choose specialties if so inclined, she said.
The approach was more of a soft sell, while putting Geisinger on their radar screens, she said.
Another change was to systematically ask incoming specialists to recommend peers or talented residents who could be recruited, Campion said.
That doesn't cost any money and it often yields physicians who already have a connection with doctors at Geisinger, she said.