As stock prices and home sales rise, physician turnover reaches the highest rate since the first year data was collected in 2005, and exceeds pre-recession levels. Medical groups reported an average turnover rate of 6.8 percent in 2012, according to the 8th annual Physician Retention Survey from Cejka Search and the American Medical Group Association (AMGA). The survey also reported turnover of 11.5 percent among advanced practice clinicians (APCs), which includes physician assistants and nurse practitioners. This is essentially unchanged from 2011, the first year APC data was collected.
The 6.8 percent physician turnover rate in 2012 rose from 6.5 percent in 2011. It was significantly higher than the lowest rate of 5.9 percent reported in 2009 at the depth of the recession, and exceeded 6.4 percent reported in 2005, the first year data was collected.
This increased turnover tracks with improvements in the housing market and recovery in stock prices and marks a shift from physicians delaying relocation and retirement due to depressed home and investment portfolio values.
Medical groups do not expect relief in turnover in the coming year. The newly released report indicates that competition to hire and retain top performing physicians will intensify as retirement accelerates among an aging physician workforce and health reform increases the demand for primary care.
"The survey findings provide evidence that recruitment and retention continue to be major challenges for health systems," stated Donald W. Fisher, Ph.D., CAE, president and chief executive officer of AMGA. "To rise to these challenges, medical groups are demonstrating remarkable leadership by investing in new staffing and delivery models, building and nurturing their teams in a strategic way, and making accountable care work for their patients and their communities."
"The implementation of health care reform and changing demographics make efficient recruitment and effective retention paramount for medical groups," stated Lori Schutte, president of Cejka Search. "Delivering data and insight points the way toward best practices and drives our industry toward innovative solutions."
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