Turnover concerns increase in physician practices

Apr 06, 2006

Turnover is a growing concern at medical groups nationwide, while targeted initiatives to retain physicians are on the rise, according to findings from 2005 physician retention survey recently released by the Cejka Search and American Medical Group Association.

Turnover is a growing concern at medical groups nationwide, while targeted initiatives to retain physicians are on the rise, according to findings from 2005 physician retention survey recently released by the Cejka Search and American Medical Group Association.

Overall, 90% of respondents said they monitor turnover, which is a 23% increase over last year. Nearly half of respondents reported being highly concerned about turnover, and more than one-third placed turnover among the top three critical issues facing their group practice. To address these concerns, 58% of the groups stated they have designated retention initiatives compared with 48% in 2004, and 41% reported having written materials that are used for retention compared with 27% in 2004.

“[The survey] shows how [turnover] is being translated into action, with more groups reporting they are formalizing their retention efforts,” said Carol Westfall, president of Cejka Search, St. Louis.

Average annual turnover was 6.4% for all medical groups responding to the survey. Physicians are most vulnerable in the early years. They survey found that, among the physicians leaving a group, 47% left in the first 3 years and 60% left in the first 5 years.

The most frequently mentioned initiatives to retain physicians are expanded mentoring programs and orientation programs. Another effective technique is to recruit physicians prior to the actual need, so when an opening becomes available, a potential candidate is targeted.