Recruit High-Quality Primary Care Professionals

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Attracting high-quality primary care professionals is crucial to help communities stay healthy. The Association of American Medical Colleges states the projected physician shortfall by 2030 is between 40,800 and 104,900. It’s no surprise that community health centers in rural and underserved communities have the odds stacked against them when it comes to attracting healthcare practitioners. To employ enough healthcare professionals to meet your community’s needs, you may have to identify new approaches in the way you attract, hire and retain primary care physicians, physician assistants, dentists, pharmacists, LPNs, RNs, CNAs, psychiatrists and other healthcare workers.

Incentive payments play a pivotal role in attracting high-quality healthcare providers. Because healthcare centers in underserved and rural communities lack the same level of financial resources as larger practices, many are unable to fund incentives or qualify for available state or federal loan forgiveness programs. The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) Provider Recruitment and Retention (PR&R) Financing Program offers a funding solution to help level the playing field.

There’s more to the formula to attract high-quality primary healthcare professionals than financial compensation. Given the current compensation models, many primary care providers (PCPs), especially the newly minted, rank monetary compensation only equal to (or even below) other interests.

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Innovative and Supportive Care Model

PCPs are seeking forward-thinking organizations that demonstrate and support innovation in their delivery models. One commonly described example involves the primary care medical home (PCMH): a team-based, holistic model where the PCP leads an interdisciplinary, coordinated care team with each individual working at the top of their practice.

Another example of care delivery innovation is using new technologies to improve quality and increase efficiencies. Millennial PCPs embrace technology, are willing to be early adopters, and tend to prioritize technology’s long-term benefits over short-term implementation challenges. Residents pursuing primary care are acutely aware of PCP productivity demands. They seek positions with in-place strategies, like enhanced staff or technology, that reduce time pressure and other everyday stresses on the physician.

Flexibility and Variety

Many residents pursuing primary care believe that workplace flexibility and a good variety of day-to-day activities are essential to avoiding career burn-out. Some PCPs are seeking part-time positions or at least the option to switch to part-time in the future. Others desire a full-time position with protected time to pursue a niche interest, such as quality improvement, research, education, or leadership. These providers have specific work/life balance expectations and are often willing to trade potential compensation for flexibility (up to a point). Organizations that can offer flexible staffing options and proactively find opportunities for their PCPs to engage in enrichment activities will be more likely to attract and retain these new physicians.

This cohort of PCPs has priorities that mirror many of the macro trends in healthcare, including team-based care, practice consolidation, high levels of care coordination, greater use of new technologies and patient-centered medical homes. Organizations and practices that have pursued a continuous improvement and innovation path will be well-positioned to recruit Millennial PCPs, assuming they are communicating this focus to recruits. Employers with an integrated hospital or ancillary services that align PCP compensation with the full value of their referral base may also experience greater recruiting success.

In addition to the PCDC portfolio of low-cost financing, the PCDC team of experts uses evidence-based strategies to help organizations build capacity and offers customized training for primary care providers and systems.

Provider Recruitment and Retention Financing

Community health centers can benefit from new financial incentives available through PCDC — and help create healthier, thriving communities.

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