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Published 2/1/2015
John Gramer

Three Questions to Consider Before You Recruit a Surgeon

In private practice, the most important questions related to a new physician hire are often those posed before you ever meet a candidate. Too often medical groups overlook the pre-work required for a prudent and efficient physician recruiting process. To avoid this pitfall, thoroughly consider the answers to the following questions prior to beginning a physician search.

Can your practice support an additional partner?
Not all private medical groups share the same goal, and so their reasons for searching for a new partner vary. For a smaller orthopaedic group that enjoys a more intimate and streamlined operating model, the trigger is often an existing partner’s desire to transition into some form of retirement. In this scenario, the financial plan for sustaining a new hire is more straightforward, because there is an existing stream of revenue in place, and the greatest variable in making a successful new hire is cultural fit.

If the practice wants to expand its market share or subspecialty capabilities, financial planning can be more complex. Questions to explore include the following:

  • Is a pipeline of potential patients from within the practice currently being referred elsewhere?
  • Is there an established, competing specialist in close proximity? If so, how will that affect the patient attraction and investment plan?
  • Is there a demonstrated need identified by a local hospital or medical center?
  • Have you analyzed medical staff access plans to project as accurately as possible future demand and corresponding revenues for planned services?
  • What is the anticipated ramp-up time for a new surgeon to reach established productivity goals?
  • What resources and investments are required to support this goal?

Does adequate consensus exist among partners?
Once a thorough pro forma plan is in place, partners can have meaningful discussions and build consensus around expectations for the new hire, including the desired candidate profile, financial impact on existing physicians, requirements for partnership, and compensation model. This process fosters critical analysis from a business perspective, but it also identifies potential internal conflicts that must be resolved to create an environment for mutual success.

Are parameters related to an employment contract clearly defined?
Transparency throughout the recruiting, interviewing, and negotiating process is imperative for long-term success and retention. Having well-defined contractual parameters crafted prior to conducting a search promotes clear, effective communication. Achieve clarity on topics such as salary guarantees until production gears up (how much and for how long?), performance milestones required for partnership (described with specificity), relocation assistance, and restrictions on outside business interests.

Whether a medical group is recruiting for a new position on its own or working with a search consultant to fill a critical role, it has a vested interest in making the right hire the first time. Clarity of mission, thorough financial modeling, and contingency planning significantly increase the probability of success.

John Gramer is the president of Cejka Search, a leading physician, advanced practice, allied health and healthcare executive search firm for more than 30 years. He can be reached at jgramer@cejkasearch.com

Help in recruiting from AAOS
The AAOS offers the most comprehensive job placement service to the orthopaedic community. If you are looking for a new practice opportunity or are expanding your orthopaedic staff, the Placement Service is designed to help you in your search.

The Placement Service consists of Job Seekers and Practice Opportunities. Each opportunity or availability profile is posted on the Placement website on the next business day after submission of a listing, and the website is updated daily. In addition, the Career Center at the AAOS Annual Meeting provides a convenient opportunity for practices to meet with and interview job seekers.

The AAOS Placement Service is a member service. Participation by any professional recruitment firms or staffing agencies is prohibited. For more information, visit www.aaos.org/placement