Health centers across the country share a common pain point- a limited supply of clinical professionals. According to the latest research by American Family Physician, 95% of health centers said they had at least one clinical vacancy. From the same surveyed group, 69% shared that there was a vacancy for Family Physicians. This gap in family medicine is not easy to solve. In fact, it takes the average health center nearly a year to fill the position of a family physician.
Other positions that community health centers find difficult to fill include nurse practitioners where an average of 50% more are needed, medical assistants with a 48% need, and registered nurses at a 41% need. Although many community health centers have high vacancies and filling these positions is a top priority, the health centers’ core competencies doesn’t usually include head hunting.
Historically many centers were not competitive enough to attract the needed providers, as the salaries were not on the same pay grade as other larger healthcare systems. Many medical schools were also not partnering graduates with health centers to allow the familiarity. NACHC studies have shown that students or residents that have spent time in a community health center setting are more likely to desire a full-time role with one. Studies show that 40% of graduates who have spent time working at a community health center will go onto work full time at one. Programs like Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Agency (THCGME) help by supporting new and expanding primary care medical programs through community patient care opportunities, but they still need more.
It’s not just about recruitment, though. Physician retainment can be a significant challenge for community health centers — particularly those in rural areas. The loss of a single physician in a rural community health center can be devastating to the practice. For these health centers, backfilling those positions in a timely manner is essential — but not easy. To empower community health centers to find the ideal providers at a faster pace, more and more organizations are looking to outsource these engagements, mainly to locum tenens recruiting firms or allied medical staffing agencies.
At CNECT, we partner with three impactful locum tenens recruiting firms: Enterprise Medical Recruiting, Medicus Firm and Merritt Hawkins to assist our member health centers in hiring the right candidate. AMN Healthcare rounds out our offering with workforce solutions with Managed Service Providers, Recruitment Process Outsourcing and Staffing.
If you are feeling the strain with staffing, get your provider vacancies taken care of here.