Down Economy Doesn't Stall Physician Recruitment

Karen M. Cheung, November 20, 2009

Despite the current economic downturn, hospital CEOs are actively recruiting physicians to their organizations, according to a new study.

Of the 284 hospital CEOs surveyed, more than half (54%) of them plan to increase recruitment efforts of physicians, according to "Clinical Workforce Issues: 2009 Survey of Hospital Chief Executive Officers" by AMN Healthcare, a healthcare staffing agency, in partnership with the research group, Council on Physician and Nurse Supply. In fact, the economic downturn actually has encouraged physician recruitment for some administrators; a quarter of CEOs boosted their efforts in the midst of the financial crisis.

When the rest of Americans are tightening their wallets, why are hospital CEOs loosening the purse strings to add physicians to their facilities? To fill doctor vacancies and to help the institution bounce back, CEOs reported.

Not like recession-proof lipstick

"We knew it was coming," said Kurt Mosley, vice president of business development of AMN Healthcare. "Healthcare isn't immune from the recession."

Although economic pundits recently declared that the "recession" is technically over because of increased nationwide spending, the current downturn has debunked the urban myth that hospitals would be invincible to the down economy.

Many once considered the healthcare field, like the cosmetic industry, recession proof, but that isn't the case, according to the survey. Hospitals that borrow from banks revealed an Achilles' heel, exposing themselves to the vulnerability of borrowing money, said Mosley.

"Hospitals showed that they are susceptible to banks and bonds that they weren't before," he said.

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