Whether you’re an ophthalmologist like me or any other kind of medical doctor, you face an array of challenges in managing your practice, including the need to find, hire, and retain great employees to fill your staffing needs. In fact, it’s safe to say that nearly every challenge you face is made substantially worse if you’re constantly battling high turnover rates in staff.
Decreasing insurance reimbursements create financial pressures on medical practices that make even small bumps in the road around staffing all the more painful. Staff turnover is expensive. If you have to let an underperformer go, there’s the expense of recruiting a replacement. If you keep an underperformer on board, you face the expense of lower productivity, and run the risk of damaging morale in the workplace and your brand in public. Perhaps even worse is when you lose great staff for whatever reason – because you lose all their knowledge and productivity on top of all the costs of replacing them. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the cost of replacing a single nurse can range from $22,000-$64,000 (source).
If staffing challenges affect the day-to-day operations of your practice, it can result in even further financial decline. Medicare and some private insurers are now factoring patient satisfaction scores into their reimbursement calculations. This can put your practice in a catch-22 downward spiral – a vicious cycle where insurance reimbursements decline, which affects your financial ability to attract and retain better staff, which in turn frustrates patients who are less satisfied, which feeds another round of reimbursement declines, and on goes the cycle.
My main message here to my fellow ophthalmologists and doctors is this: Until you make tackling turnover the top priority of your practice management efforts, you run the risk of getting caught and staying stuck in that kind of downward spiral. But how much time do you have to put into this effort? For most doctors, the answer is very little, which is part of the reason why practices are struggling to begin with. Focusing on solving your staffing challenges will lighten the load all around – greater productivity and efficiency reduces the stress on you to do it all, patients will be better served and therefore more satisfied, and all of that will feed into greater profitability. Here are my top three recommendations for your practice:
Learn how to make great hires. To make the most of the time you spend on hiring, make sure you know all the tips and tricks to do it right. You want to hire the best and brightest to move your practice forward. Read some of our related articles below:
Work with a great recruiter. You don’t have to tackle your staffing problems by yourself. In fact, attempting to do so is what might be holding you back. Read our recent related articles:
- Increasing Use of Recruiters: But Who to Choose?
- Recruiting Agencies: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.
Boost employee retention. There’s no way around it – you’ve got to make your workplace one that your best talent will never want to leave. We’ve been posting many articles about this lately:
- You’ve Made a Great Hire, Now What?
- Retain Your Talent with a Carrot Culture
- 12 Tips to Turbo-Charge Employee Recognition
- How’s the Weather at Your Workplace?
Dealing with the financial and staffing challenges in a medical practice can feel daunting, especially as you realize how intertwined they are, but by focusing on solving your staffing challenges with better recruitment and retention, many of the financial pressures will substantially decrease, not to mention your own stress levels.
Ilan Cohen, MD
Cornea and Refractive Surgeon
Co-Founder & President of PainLess Hire LLC