Physician Recruiting for Rural Hospitals is Tough. Here’s How to Change That.

As mentioned in our last blog post, our business model at Remedy Medical Services is one that is a little unfamiliar for many hospitals. But our successful partnerships are proof that this concept is a win for administrators – freeing them from the demands of physician recruiting while keeping the hospital staffed with a tightly integrated team of providers who help ensure that revenue remains strong.

Why Physician Recruiting is So Hard for Rural Hospitals

Physician recruiting is a constant headache for rural hospitals for a long list of reasons. We’ve discussed how rural hospital medicine is demanding for physicians (link to post #2). A policy brief from the National Rural Health Association (PDF) further fleshes out this point:

“Rural physicians, compared to their urban counterparts, tend to work longer hours and see a greater number of patients. Due to the shortage of specialists, rural physicians are required to not only perform a greater number and greater variety of procedures than are urban physicians, but they also must achieve and maintain a broad range of competencies despite isolation from learning opportunities and colleagues.”

Additional statistics from the policy brief paint a challenging picture of rural physician recruiting:

  • While almost 20 percent of the nation’s population lives in rural areas, only 11.4 percent of physicians practice in these areas.
  • Projections of physician shortages range from 85,000 in 2020 to 124,000 in 2025, and “the impacts in rural areas are likely to be more dramatic.”
  • The numbers of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in general practice – non-physician professionals who often fill the gaps in rural healthcare – are falling.

Physician recruiting is also made more complicated when the provider’s family is taken into account. Data shows the majority of physicians also have highly educated spouses with their own careers – making the entire family’s relocation to a rural setting less likely. Furthermore, many providers with children may prefer to live in urban or suburban areas that give them greater choices of schools and extracurricular activities.

Our Medical Group Model Offers a Practical Solution

These factors and many others contribute to the challenges of physician recruiting for rural hospitals. However, the model being pioneered by Remedy Medical Services shows that there is a practical solution to these problems. Providers who join our medical group typically commute to our partner communities, which allows them to practice without uprooting their families. Our group practice model also gives providers a greater level of input on the policies and procedures that affect them, which improves retention and helps us maintain long-term relationships with communities. Administrators find that our medical directors and executive staff are always open to feedback and collaboration, which helps ensure a strong ongoing partnership.

By changing their frame of mind and looking beyond directly employing physicians, rural hospital administrators can achieve many of their goals. Remedy Medical Services frees them from the time-consuming work of ER and hospitalist physician recruiting and allows them to focus on all of the other work that keeps their hospital strong.

Remedy Er Hospitalist Integrated

Remedy Medical Services

At Remedy Medical Services, we work directly with administration by providing a qualified medical director and setting up attainable standards and metrics that improve quality. Remedy Medical Services executive staff are always available to our hospital partners. Hospital administrators collaborate directly with our providers through our monthly staff meetings. Our experience has proven that this is an innovative, sustainable way to improve hospital revenue and keep rural healthcare systems strong.