OK, I'm creeping toward retirement in a few years. My hospital(s) have committed verbally to help recruit a replacement Family Physician and another and maybe another to help us grow to three physicians. Eight years ago we were included in their search process. My replacement hasn't shown up, though. One candidate did interview and agree to work with me as a full time Family Physician seven years ago. She called a week later and apologetically withdrew her acceptance of the position because the job she really wanted had suddenly come available. I agreed with her that she had to go with her heart and wished her well. Oops!, she said when she called back a week later saying she made a mistake since the "dream job" she went to finalize wasn't exactly what she thought it was. And... was the position in my office still open for her. I reaffirmed that I thought her heart had spoken to the effect that she really wasn't supposed to be coming into my practice and something else would be the real "Dream Job".
Six months later, a very good Family Physician interviewed with me as a result of the system ad. She was about to deliver her second child and wanted to work three days weekly. She started a few months later and is still in the practice, along with a part time Family Nurse Practitioner, who just got a four day a week job in a geriatric house call company and will reduce her work at our practice to one day weekly.
Since then (five years), no other qualified applicants have been identified by the search process being used by my hospitals. Eight Family Physicians have left our county and two have been replaced, one in a hospital owned practice and one in a large group practice.
I met with our hospital physician recruiter today. It looks relatively hopeless for them to recruit another physician to our practice. The only persons responding to their ads in Family Practice journals and online want a permanent employed position with a fair amount of security, not a small private practice, such as ours.
We are "Family Fanatics". We only take families as patients (entire households). It's been fun for me these last 32 years and I suspect that it would appeal to another Family Physician, as it has to the woman practicing with me. We also just started a Direct Family Medicine track for uninsured new patients who want a "Medical Club". They pay $80 to enroll, $60 at the end of each month and $20 per visit for basic Family Medicine (in office acute, chronic and preventive care with flu shot included, but there's a separate fee for other immunizations, outside laboratory tests and surgical procedures).
I've posted before about the inadequate number of medical students selecting Family Medicine for their specialty training. Also, I've posted about how the two flagship hospitals for the two local hospital systems both closed their Family Medicine Residency Training Programs. They don't even train primary care internists in my hospital system, even though they have several residency programs in several specialties. Overall, the primary care base for the health care non-system is shrinking. Duck. Here come the wrong specialists to provide your primary care services.
I wonder if we are too much of a fossil practice to get a young Family Physician to join us? I wonder if we have to find our own recruit since we're possibly lumped in with the wrong group of practices seeking another physician (hospital and large group)?
What do you think?