How To Retain Talent At Your FQHC

Nov 08, 2021

Hospitals struggle to retain healthcare providers. Federally Qualified Health Centers struggle even more to retain talent. With some of the fullest hospital beds and the smallest support staff, physicians at FQHCs are 11% more likely to experience burnout. As a recruiter at one of these health centers, you may feel your hands are tied. You can’t offer a higher salary, and student loan repayment only keeps providers around while they have student loans. 

So what actions can FQHCs take to encourage provider retention? We’ve compiled a few changes you can make when hiring, during employment, and near the end of contract that will increase retention and lower recruiting costs.

During Hiring: Peer Interview New Hires

You’re familiar with the importance of finding employees who are a cultural fit for your organization. But what exactly does that mean? Organizational culture can change across departments. Including top department performers in the interview process helps you make a more educated hiring decision. An added bonus—you’ll gain insights during this stage that will help you when hiring for future openings. 

The benefits of peer interviewing extend beyond retention. Teams with a strong bond are more productive. In fact, over half of one survey’s respondents said having a “best friend” at work increased productivity and creativity. Another survey reported 62% of respondents with one to five friends at work said they would reject a job offer. Create a team of providers who want to work together, and you’ll only strengthen your facility. 

During Employment: Growth Within the Organization

FQHCs have a reputation for being more stressful for providers than other organizations. But just how much more stressful is an FQHC than other hospitals? Healthcare professionals face stress levels 25.8% higher than other professions. It isn’t a question of your facility being stressful, but how your facility manages and prevents burnout. Consider creating a system of internal movement within your organization.

A study of 250,000 RNs showed that nurses under 30 are more likely to want to leave their unit than their organization. Reflect on your departments with the highest turnover. For nurses, behavioral health, step down/PCU, and the ER have the highest turnover rates. Reflect on the departments at your facility and determine if there’s room for lateral movement among providers. Periodically changing the environment (within your hospital) and adjusting the stress level can make the difference between keeping your floor staffed and spending unnecessary money on recruiting.

End of Contract: Retention Bonuses

Although FQHCs don’t have unlimited funds to negotiate with, it’s always worth discussing when it comes to employee retention. Physician turnover can cost anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million. While many factors influence retention bonuses, they typically range from $10,000 to $50,000. But don’t limit your “bonuses” to money. If a provider adds value to and fits in culturally at your facility, open the room for negotiation. Perhaps your budget can’t adjust, but other parts of the job can. Whether it be a schedule adjustment or a benefits negotiation, let your providers know you’d like to keep them before they leave. Even if the provider ultimately resigns, collect this information anyway. It can be used when negotiating your recruiting budget in the future.


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21 Jan 2020
Student Loans: Get Off My Back!

Many students, past and present, deal with the necessary haggle of student loans; especially for those pursuing higher education. A survey completed by the AAMC in 2015 states that medical students in particular who graduated that year carried on average $182K in debt, while those who graduated in 2016, rose up to $190K, with nearly 25% carrying more than $200K. Pretty substantial, and frankly “scary” numbers for a medical student. In additional to this burden, about 33% of these students still carry a debt from their undergraduate studies, which is typically around $24K.

Now that we've fed you the veggies, how about some good news? Once you matched into a residency program, the general salary for a first-year resident is $52.5K. Though you may not be jumping out of your shoes, there are many programs available beyond your initial salary that can help you chip away at those lingering debts. For example, a ten-year plan would pan out to about $2,000 per month in payments (with $182K in loans). 

Solution number one is to finance your debts through a private lender. This could provide you with a lower interest rate, but you’ll have to pre-qualify first via few factors, including your credit as well as your current income. Solution number two is to consider working for an organization in a state that offers a student loan assistance program. Though it varies by area, certain states can knock away a considerable piece of those loans in just a few years. In Texas, the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program offers up to $160K for over four years of practice in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). In New York, Doctors Across New York provides an additional payment of up to $150K over a five-year commitment to doctors practicing in underserved areas.

The student loan forgiveness state programs are a valuable resource, and should be taken into serious consideration when deciding on a destination and facility of choice. Perhaps you’re thinking of immediate relief, or more of a short-term solution. To be honest, that is not really feasible with $200K in debt. But, when negotiating your “dream” role, it is important to use that as an opportunity to obtain a possible sign-on bonus as well as relocation assistance to help ease the burden, at least temporarily. Keeping a positive mind-set, and considering all possible solutions, can help you achieve your goals of financial growth and stability as a physician.

28 Jan 2020
What is Digital Marketing & How Can it Help Recruit Physicians?

When asked if they’ve “gone digital,” many companies will say, “Of course. We have a website, a Facebook page, and we send email campaigns!” While this kind of online presence is important, digital marketing consists of much, much more. 

Digital Marketing is an action. And not just a single action, but an ongoing, evolving action that empowers you to spend your marketing dollars as efficiently as possible. The first step is putting a piece of content online. What transforms this into digital marketing is the data.

Imagine you see an online job posting. You’re pleased with your current employer, but if a better opportunity presented itself, you’d be interested. In this case, you see a job with a great company and it would cut your commute time in half. You click on the listing, quickly scan it over, make a mental note to return to it later, and move on with your day. 

We all know what happens next: you completely forget you ever saw it. We all see thousands of ads per day. The odds of your one ad being remembered are slim. This is where digital marketing steps in. Remember the job listing you clicked on and forgot about? Since you engaged with the ad, you’ll eventually see a similar ad again. 

This retargeting empowers the workforce to see those jobs they are most interested in and inform themselves about the employer. It also empowers your organization to engage with candidates who have a strong interest in your opportunity. If you’d like to learn more about digital marketing for physician recruiting, click here to schedule a time to speak with a member of our business development team.

30 Jan 2020
How To Avoid Being a Job Hopper

As a physician or advanced practitioner, there are opportunities all over that can expand your experience and your skills, but when it comes to the best time to move from one job to the next is tricky. Everyone’s situation is somewhat the same in one way or another; the specialty isn’t what they expected or the facility wasn’t the right environment for them. Things happen, and wanting to change them for the better is completely understandable; but when it comes to consistently changing jobs year after year, that could potentially ruin your chances in obtaining your “perfect job.”

Before transitioning from one position to the next, ask yourself this: How long have I worked at this facility and how long was I at my previous job?

  • If your employment list is short, or you have worked at a facility for a couple years or more, the chances of being seen as a job-hopper is slim.
  • If you have worked with several employers, and have only been at each for a year or less, that may bring up concerns from future employers.
  • If you have worked with your current employer for a year or less, identify your reason for wanting a change.

Ask yourself why this position is not working out for you, is it because of salary, hours, or location? What position are you wanting to transition into and why? Carrying on from why you are leaving your previous position for another; what are you seeking to improve or gain more experience in?

Hopefully by identifying your job history and maintaining a balance when transitioning from one job to another, you should have no problem in avoiding job-hopping.