In a tale all too familiar to HM group leaders, whether they head two- or three-physician services or the large, multistate hospitalist companies, Heather Bellow, MD, FAAP, is trying to recruit a pediatric hospitalist to her midsize Midwest town.
Her sales pitch, though, seems to focus more on the bounties of Lansing, Mich., rather than the work to be done as the fourth full-time member of Sparrow Hospital Inpatient Pediatric Services. Dr. Bellow often talks up the culture, lifestyle, and the vibrant atmosphere Michigan State University provides the community. And yet, she struggles to find new hires.
Her story is the new norm: Group directors outside the nation’s largest markets agree that they often work for months at a time to recruit hospitalists. Some relent and hire a steady string of residents from nearby institutions. Others throw money at the problem, only to lose those well-paid hospitalists to other groups that throw more money at the problem. The problem is particularly acute in secondary- and tertiary-population areas, where hiring managers often find themselves battling each other for the same hospitalists.
“That’s the million-dollar question,” Dr. Bellow says. “How do you find that outside person that’s willing to come to small-town USA? I really don’t know.”