How Telemedicine Can Help FQHCs Close the Healthcare Access Gap

Jun 17, 2020

What challenges face FQHCs? Growing patient demand and financial sustainability come to mind. But one challenge also serves as a solution to these challenges: physician recruitment and retention. All U.S. practices face a physician shortage; this challenge is not unique to community health centers. However, physician retention presents a larger obstacle for FQHCs than other healthcare facilities. 

Consider why a young physician may want to work at a community health center. While the salary may be lower, these facilities have more to offer in the form of loan repayment. This, combined with the personal fulfillment of providing care to underserved populations, attracts physicians with big hearts and big student loan debt. However, over time, as burnout settles in and the loans disappear, so do the physicians. Now consider that the American Medical Association reports that the loss of one physician can cost a facility anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million in recruitment, sign-on bonuses, lost billings, and onboarding costs. FQHCs cannot afford to be losing physicians.

To simplify the problem, it all boils down to physician job satisfaction. Are your physicians happy? If not, what can you provide to change this? But for an FQHC, there is nothing more to offer. Budgets are already spread thin. Salary, benefits, and patient load can’t change. But what if the position being filled were to change?

Hiring telemedicine physicians to fill gaps in your primary care workforce offers a unique solution for physician retention. One telemedicine practice reported a physician retention rate over 90%. With location and work/life balance playing a large role in physician career decisions, it’s clear why telemedicine retention is higher. It also becomes clear why FQHCs should embrace it. Telemedicine expands the pool of interested candidates far beyond the local community. 

But one challenge still remains: how do you find all of these telemedicine physicians? While many facilities embrace recruiting services for physician searches, placement fees are hard to justify for a single search, let alone hiring an entire pool of telemedicine candidates. With The Inline Group’s unique sourcing and screening model, FQHCs now have an affordable, flexible option for finding physicians, both traditional and telemedicine. For almost two decades, Inline has sourced physicians for a monthly, no strings attached subscription fee. Offering unlimited hires and a seamless screening process, you’ll be connected with physicians interested in your facility. To learn how our process has helped facilities hire traditional and telemedicine physicians for almost 20 years, click below to connect with one of our physician sourcing experts.