Physician Community Need Assessments in the Age of Employment

Many hospital administrators, recruiters, and planning professionals who recruit physicians know the value of a Community Need Assessment (CNA). Documentation of need is more relevant today than ever, even when employing physicians. The original purpose of a medical staff assessment was to provide hospitals with an “objective party” analysis and the documentation to justify offering financial assistance to physicians to relocate and join their medical staff. This data may include any financial arrangement between a hospital and a recruit, such as an income guarantee.

In recent years, the healthcare marketplace has shifted from private practice to the employment of physicians by hospitals. In the past, employment was thought to be a “safer harbor,” allowing hospitals to recruit without documentation of a community need. However, the need for an independent analysis CNA has become the new standard, regardless of employment or an income guarantee. In both cases regulators are looking for documented need that a CNA provides.

The CNA produces a physician supply and demand analysis for the market based on the geographic Stark defined service area population and accepted physician-to-population ratios. A modern-day CNA can provide the hospital considerably more value than simply recruiting without documentation. Here are some of the areas CNAs can address for hospitals:

  1. Detailed information on each provider in the geographic service area, including primary care Advanced Practice Providers in their office, additional offices/locations, actual days and time in each office, availability to see patients in an office setting.
  2. Demographics of the population the hospital serves (i.e., the age breakdown, the percentage of the population who are females of child-bearing age, the percentage of the population over the age of 65, and other socioeconomic factors).
  3. Succession risk. Tracking the number of FTEs in each specialty where providers are at risk for slowing down or retirement, requiring the hospital to provide succession planning/recruitment.
  4. Patient access information. Days out for a new patient appointment, practices closed/full, providers limiting new patients based on payer or other factors, and services only provided at select facilities.
  5. Adjusting the projected demand for each specialty based upon the market share garnered by the system, hospital, or service line provides a realistic forecasted need.

Coker Group can help you move forward in your physician recruitment, physician strategic planning, and staffing forecasting. For further information and to obtain our complimentary “Checklist for Documentation,” please call Sandy Champion, Vice President, at 678-832-2021.

Related Insights