More Docs Seeking Work at Facilities

More doctors than ever are choosing to work for hospitals and the trend seems to be accelerating.

Physicians are hiring on with hospitals at an increasing rate, according to a survey of health care organizations by Sullivan, Cotter, and Associates. Three quarters of organizations in the survey increased professional staffing levels in 2011 by an average of 12 specialists and nine primary care physicians.

Three quarters said they planned to hire more physicians and mid-level physicians in 2012, according to the survey.

The number of physicians and dentists employed full time by community hospitals went up from 62,152 in 1998 to 91,282 in 2010, with growth accelerating beginning 2005, according to statistics released by the American Hospital Association (AHA). The number of physicians and dentists employed part time grew from 15,837 in 1998 to 24,139 in 2010.

“We have a work force shortage,” said Alan Kaplan, MD, vice president with Iowa Health System and president of Iowa Health Physicians and Clinics. “We would look at any physician seeking employment. I’m not saying we would want to employ all specialties, but we would look at them.”

A 2011 paper in the New England Journal of Medicine said more than half of practicing physicians were employed by hospitals or integrated delivery systems.

An Aug. 18, 2011 issue brief from the Center for Studying Health System Change analyzing interviews with 550 hospital executives found that hospitals were hiring physicians to build referral bases and shore up admissions. Flat third-party pay rates, increased practice costs, and a desire for work-life balance led more physicians to seek hospital employment.

Other analysts have said hospitals are interested in hiring physicians because of changes expected under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), including the formation of accountable care organizations (ACOs) and the likelihood of more risk-based payment systems.

Source:, “Hospital hiring of physicians picks up steam”


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