The Stunning Cost of Physician Turnover and Physician Vacancies

Heidi Johnson and Sheila Bixler, Healthcare Recruitment Link Founders
A vacant physician position, whether due to turnover or a challenging recruitment process, is a fact of life and growing concern for most healthcare organizations.

In addition to the obvious loss of revenue and costs for recruiting a replacement, a vacant physician position affects additional elements along the healthcare continuum.  Overall, this has a significantly negative impact on an organization’s annual operating budget.

  • Depending on the specialty, a vacant provider position can cost a healthcare organization $1.8 Million (Internal Medicine) to $2.8 Million (Orthopedic Surgeon) in lost revenue per year. Also depending on the specialty and geographic location, it can take more than a year to recruit the right provider who fits the organization’s culture and who will stay long-term.
  • Other organizational elements affected by turnover or a vacant position (each of which has a significant financial impact but are less obvious and some are difficult to measure), include:
    • patient access
    • patient out-migration
    • quality of care
    • service experience
    • productivity
    • morale
    • organizational reputation
    • ancillary service revenue
    • regulatory mandates

In addition to costs associated with a physician vacancy is the cost of recruitment to fill the position. These costs include recruitment firm professional fees, site visits, competitive recruitment incentives, and HR staff and physician recruitment team time. Please visit H-R-L Blog, “What Will it Cost to Recruit a Physician?”

Implementing retention initiatives and seeking the assistance of an experienced physician recruitment firm that offers alternatives to traditional retained search, is key to avoiding excess costs involved with physician vacancies.

 Healthcare Recruitment Link (H-R-L) is not a traditional “big box” healthcare recruitment firm. We are a women-owned boutique firm with experienced founders who think beyond the boundaries of a box to provide customized and cost-effective search solutions based on your organization’s needs and budget. 



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