Physician Turnover Rate Hits New High

As the housing and stock markets in the U.S. have recovered the physician turnover rate has reached new highs, according to a new report.

The improving U.S. economy has had an adverse effect on the physician retention rate, which has slipped to levels worse than even before the recession.

As stock prices and home sales have risen, physician turnover has reached the highest rate since 2005, according to the annual Physician Retention Survey by Cejka Search and the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

This report follows one in February from Randstad Healthcare, which revealed that given the state of the economy and the booming health care industry, health care professionals were more confident that they could find a new job. Plus, nearly a third expects to look for a new job in the next year.

"The survey findings provide evidence that recruitment and retention continue to be major challenges for health systems," Donald W. Fisher, PhD, CAE, president and chief executive officer of AMGA, said in a statement. "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."

In 2012 the turnover rate rose to 6.8% from 6.5% the previous year. The lowest rate was 5.9% in 2009. According to Cejka and AMGA, the turnover rate marks a shift from physicians delaying relocation and retirement because of depressed home and investment portfolio values.

Furthermore, the report found that 36% of reporting medical groups expect the pace of retirements to increase in 2013. As the turnover rate increases, so is demand. Of the 76% of medical group planning to hire more primary care physicians in the next year, 22% said they will hire “significantly more,” which is up significantly from just 9% who said the same thing in 2011.

"The implementation of health care reform and changing demographics make efficient recruitment and effective retention paramount for medical groups," Lori Schutte, president of Cejka Search, said in a statement. "Delivering data and insight points the way toward best practices and drives our industry toward innovative solutions."

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Physician Turnover Hits New High as Housing and Stock Markets Recover