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ACO Recruiting Turns to Non-Physicians

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, November 1, 2012

The head of a national physician recruiting firm characterizes the overall recruiting environment for physicians as challenging—to say the least—because of a "paradigm shift in the way we hire and recruit" in the wake of healthcare reform and the move toward Accountable Care Organizations.

In a recent survey of 200 healthcare employers and health systems related to recruiting of docs under an ACO model, an overwhelming number said they are focusing on more team-oriented physicians, more technologically-savvy docs, and physicians who are committed to quality initiatives, says Jim Stone, president of The Medicus Firm, a national physician research firm based in Dallas, TX, that released the survey this month.

No surprise there.

But what did surprise Stone is the fact that only 35% of respondents believed physician recruiting would be difficult or challenging in a move to an ACO.  He is also president-elect of the National Association of Physician Recruiters.

Stone expected the figure would be much higher. With hospitals seeking physicians whose attitudes may be more in line with the change from fee-for-service to value-based care, there's no question that more difficulties are ahead in recruiting, Stone predicted in an interview.

"We're seeing increasing retirements, aging physicians and not enough physicians coming into the health care system," Stone says. "I don't think there's any way you can look at it and say it's not going to be more difficult. I think most people have come to terms with the fact that recruiting doctors is hard. Every year it takes us longer on average to fill the searches that we're engaged to work in."

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