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The Secret to Physician Engagement? It's Not Better Pay

Lena J. Weiner, for HealthLeaders Media, March 7, 2014

Not Like the 1990s
This isn't the first time the healthcare industry has trended away from private practice and toward hospital-employed physicians. In the early 1990's, physicians began flocking to healthcare organizations as a part of the Managed Care trend, which later fizzled out amidst a consumer backlash citing decreased quality of care and allegations of withholding necessary medical procedures to cut costs.


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Angood says the current push toward employed physicians is different. "It seems both the physician workforce as well as healthcare systems are committed to not having the same issues pop up as did in the early 1990's," he said, adding that many of this generation's physicians are happy to take advantage of focusing on treating patients and to take advantage of the improved work-life balance that working for a hospital or other organization offers.

"It's getting harder and harder to manage your own practice. Smaller groups don't have the capital, and banks don't want to lend money for these things," T. Clifford Deveny, MD, Senior Vice President, Physician Services and Clinical Integration at Catholic Health Initiatives, said.

In addition to freeing themselves of duties related to finances, marketing, and other administrative physicians frequently find benefits packages in large organizations superior to anything they could obtain in private practice, with traditional benefits such as paid time off, competitive health insurance and retirement savings programs, and in some instances, "boutique" benefits such pet health insurance or concierge services.

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2 comments on "The Secret to Physician Engagement? It's Not Better Pay"


Gus Geraci, MD (3/12/2014 at 5:04 PM)
High pay will get you warm bodies who happen to be physicians. Physician engagement requires a culture and governance that promotes and truly engages physicians in decision-making. Showing respect for their input, creating ways and means on soliciting that input and reimbursing all staff for better work, not high volume are the secrets to success.

Michael Jones (3/7/2014 at 11:49 AM)
Great article. Speaking as an ex-physician recruiter, the points about what physicians expect to find in employed practice, and what keeps them happy outside of $ are exactly what we heard from job seeking physicians.