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Primary Care Physician Turnover Leads to Nearly $1 Billion in Excess Costs

There’s no question that today’s hospitals and healthcare organizations are dealing with a crisis when it comes to recruiting and retaining physicians.

In addition to creating problems for patients, physician turnover costs the healthcare system millions of dollars. For example, a recent study led by the American Medical Association (AMA) linked primary care physician turnover to $979 million in additional healthcare costs annually.

Broken down by individual physicians, the study finds an extra cost of $86,336 associated with every time a primary care physician leaves their practice. For example, patients of the primary care physician who left their practice may spend extra money by visiting emergency rooms or urgent care facilities.

So, there is a growing need for healthcare organizations to find ways to keep primary care physicians in their roles.

First, though, we need to answer a critical question–why are primary care physicians leaving their practices in the first place?

Burnout: The Reason So Many Physicians Leaving Their Practices

There are many reasons for primary care physician turnover. However, of particular concern is burnout and burnout-behavior among primary care physicians.

The study found that 27 percent of the additional healthcare costs associated with job turnover ($260 million) are related to physician burnout.

Physicians of all stages, ages, and specialties are at risk for burnout. For example, roughly 25 percent of primary care physicians have expressed signs of burnout, according to a recent study.

The study found that workplace factors play a significant role in determining whether a physician will exhibit signs of burnout. Some common reasons for physician burnout include juggling professional priorities that take them away from their patients, navigating a toxic work environment, and lacking appropriate work-life balance.

Is Burnout Among Physicians on the Rise?

The AMA-led study looked at pre-pandemic data based on a cross-sectional survey of over 5,000 physicians in the U.S. that was conducted between October 2017 and March 2018. The researchers used survey results to estimate burnout prevalence and physicians’ intention to leave their practice within two years.

Because the survey took place before the pandemic and was only recently released in this study, it is likely that the number of physicians experiencing burnout and deciding to leave their practice is higher than what has been published.

Therefore, it’s critical for healthcare recruiters and healthcare recruitment teams to understand how burnout plays a role in physician turnover so they can be prepared to fill open positions.

Use HCP Navigator to Find Physicians in Your Area

Healthcare recruiters can’t afford to waste time filling positions with unqualified candidates. Higher costs associated with physician turnover impact private and public payers alike, not to mention the concern about the quality of care patients receive when they are suddenly left without a primary care physician.

That’s why so many of today’s healthcare recruiters are turning to solutions from HCP Navigator.

One challenge in healthcare recruitment is finding physicians in the right geographical area. Physicians are more likely to stay in a position and feel less stressed when they have existing ties to the community. PracticeAlert from HCP Navigator helps employers find candidates with geographic ties to the community, leading to higher retention and job satisfaction.

You’ll get notifications when there are new candidates considering your geographic location, ensuring that you’re able to reach out to them in a timely manner. Best of all, PracticeAlert helps you find candidates who aren’t on traditional job boards, giving you an edge over other employers.

HCP Navigator has several tools to help healthcare recruiters quickly fill positions with qualified candidates. Schedule a demo to see how it works!

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