The Keyword for Hospitals: Track Documentation of Physician Community Need Before Recruiting Physicians

For years, in-house hospital recruiters’ instructions were, “Go find a general surgeon; we need one.”Today, following the guidelines for documenting the need to recruit a physician should occur before opening a specialty search or spending community dollars on the recruitment process. The keyword here is before.Necessary documentation covers all the required reasons to recruit, including both quantitative and qualitative need. Quantitative is the predicted statistical numerical need. Qualitative is a narrative addressing future succession needs, current barriers to timely access for new patients, barriers for Medicare and Medicaid appointments, and other market factors.When designing a tracking checklist, be sure to address the guidelines, as hospitals must document the following details:

  • There are not enough physicians in the community overall by population demand ratios (affiliated and non-affiliated).
  • Document the current and forecasted need for a defined service area.
  • Demonstrate inadequate access (specific payer access).
  • Demonstrate loss of essential community program(s), not hospital-specific (i.e., trauma).
  • Demonstrate the risk of loss of physicians over the next several years due to departures or risk of retirement.

It is best to use a tracking document before opening a search is dated and signed by the hospital leadership. Other checklist categories may include:

  • If the facility is designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).
  • The recruit will serve a substantial number of patients who are a medically underserved population (MUP) or live in a medically underserved area (MUA), health professional shortage area (HPSA), or isolated rural area.
  • There is a demonstrated reluctance on the part of physicians to relocate to the area.
  • There is a significant percentage of area physicians closed to new Medicare or Medicaid patients.

Coker Group has been serving hospitals with Physician Community Needs Assessments for many years and provides hospital clients with a sample checklist upon request.

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