Physician retention programs gain acceptance

Even as the economy sputters along, the work still must get done. Forty-eight percent of respondents to a recent Cejka Search and American Medical Group Association survey say their doctor group uses a retention program. Back in 2006, only 40 percent of physician groups had a retention program.

The largest group likely to leave a practice was physicians having tenure of three years or less (46 percent). Groups with a retention program lose a smaller percentage of their departing physicians in those early years (44 percent).

Groups without a retention program reported that half of their departing physicians were the newly hired.

Would health insurers ever consider using high retention as a pay-for-performance measure?

“High retention is a goal for many medical groups,” says Brian McCartie, a regional vice president at Cejka Search. “But I haven’t seen managed care organizations pay medical groups for retention of physicians. Maybe when P4P affects more medical groups, like 20 percent. At that point, when the medical group is looking for negotiating tactics, I would think that continuity of patient care and retention might be a factor.”

Dampening physician turnover

A survey of 50 medical groups who collectively employ close to 10,000 physicians shows that on average, 46 percent of physicians who leave a practice do so in the first three years.

Source: Cejka Search and AMGA. 2008 Physician Retention Survey

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