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Beaver Medical Group

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Beaver Uses Strategies to Recruit Top Physicians, Featured in National Publication

August 10, 2015


Beaver Medical Group has put strategies into place not only to recruit but also retain top physicians. Below is an article written by the national publication, Beckers Hospital Review, featuring Beaver's strategies to attract physicians to the group.

8 Strategies to Recruit and Retain Top Physicians

High rates of turnover and shortages of health professionals are putting increased pressure on recruitment and retention. In this hiring environment, demand is particularly high for family medicine physicians, internists, psychiatrists and hospitalists.

Finding and recruiting good candidates is one of the top challenges identified by Sameh E. Naseib, MD, inpatient medical director of Redlands, Calif.-based Beaver Medical Group, which includes more than 200 physicians throughout southern California. Dr. Naseib, a board-certified hospitalist, oversees the group's hospitalist programs at Redlands (Calif.) Community Hospital and Banning, Calif.-based San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital.

"We get a lot of people who want to move to our area, so looking for the right candidate and right fit for what we do is critical," Dr. Naseib said in an interview with Becker's Hospital Review. "We are very structured and disciplined and we go above and beyond to provide the patient with the best care...It can be challenging to find good candidates dedicated to patient-centered care."

Despite these challenges, the group is growing rapidly. According to Dr. Naseib, by the end of the year the program plans to add three additional physicians for a total of 25 full-time hospitalists and four part-time physicians. Beaver Medical Group has also created an atmosphere that engenders retention. In 2014, out of more than 20 hospitalists, only one left the group, Dr. Naseib said.

Based on our discussion with Dr. Naseib, we identified eight tried-and-true strategies Beaver Medical Group has used to successfully recruit and retain top physician candidates.

1. Provide the candidate with a detailed idea of the program. Dr. Naseib said he starts the recruitment process with a phone interview. At this time, he provides potential hires with a detailed description of the medical group, the structure of the hospitalist program and the discipline for quality in the program. It is also a good time to get a feel for what the candidate is looking for to make sure values align.

2. Identify nonnegotiable qualities in candidates. In particular, Dr. Naseib said he looks for dedication. "I make sure they want to be in this career for awhile. I don't like turnover and look for someone who is committed," he said. He also stressed the importance of good communication and flexibility. "Communication between the staff and hospital is very important," he said. "The patient, family, nursing staff and ancillary staff communicate all the time; it needs to be done effectively and without conflict."

3. Schedule doable workloads. "We try to make sure the workload is manageable," Dr. Naseib said. "Our physicians see 14 to 17 patients total each day, and it's a little busier in winter months. They don't see more than they can handle and we make sure they feel safe while practicing." Dr. Naseib says the medical group ensures physicians have ample time to sit down with patients and families to discuss treatment and post-discharge care by giving physicians doable workloads. To do this, he developed an emergency backup system in which physicians are on call two or three times per year if help is needed or another clinician calls in sick. "The backup system helps a lot to avoid burnout and make sure the physician doesn't have to see 25 patients in one day," he said.

4. Consider work-life balance and vacation time. A large part of Dr. Naseib's retention strategy stems from making sure the physicians have a good work-life balance. Though the group provides 24/7 services, the physicians do not work 12-hour days every day of the week. Instead, they have shorter weekend days where they can go home earlier than 12 hours, according to Dr. Naseib. "I also make sure that [all hospitalists] stop admitting a couple of hours before the shift ends so they can go home on time and have time to wrap up," Dr. Naseib said. "We have multiple, staggered shifts that help us provide overlap in coverage and allow us to sail smoothly through the rush hours during the day without overwhelming the hospitalists," Dr. Naseib added.

Beyond the day-to-day, Dr. Naseib said the physicians love the amount of vacation time they receive. Day and night physicians are allowed paid time off as part of their benefits package. Night physicians especially are given ample vacation time and physicians can consecutively take up to 21 days off, twice a year. "Our main focus is to provide our patients with excellent care, and at the same time, we work very hard to accommodate the physicians and make sure they don't burn out," he said.

5. Offer benefits as part of the compensation package. Beaver Medical Group offers one of the most competitive compensation packages in the area — it is in the 90th percentile in the state of California according to 2014 MGMA statistics, Dr. Naseib said. Physicians have the opportunity to earn bonuses based on performance and the group offers a partnership track as well. After two years, physician can become a partner, which includes retirement benefits and ownership in Beaver Medical Group and Epic Management, the group's management company.

6. Create a community. "We make sure we have a good relationship with our physicians and make sure they have a good relationship with each other," Dr. Naseib said. His goal, he said, is to create a friendly, healthy work environment. Part of this is through a daily culture of teamwork and through community events such as holiday parties. The culture should feel like a family environment in which everyone feels part, he said.

7. Give physicians autonomy. "I treat everyone with respect and make sure the physicians have autonomy in what they do," Dr. Naseib said. Creating a respectful, transparent workplace for staff allows for clinicians to focus on providing top-notch patient care.

8. Prioritize leadership development. Dr. Naseib, who was one of the first two physicians in the nation to become certified by the Society of Hospital Medicine in hospital medicine leadership, is working to engage more physicians in leadership. He said he encourages every physician to participate and lead in some capacity, with each individual hospitalist in both hospitals participating in at least one or two committees. His future plan is to include more physicians in the safety and quality review process.