Hospitals Hiring More Physician Liaisons

Physician liaisons, or sales representatives who work for hospitals and persuade physicians to refer patients to their facility, are growing in force and number, according to a USA TODAY report.

Tenet Healthcare has doubled its physician liaison force in the past two years, now boasting 152 of them at 49 hospitals. Roughly two-thirds of these individuals are former drug and device sales reps. Major cutbacks by those industries have left a large pool of salespeople for hospitals to draw from, according to the report.

Tenet says its physician liaisons have increased the number of physicians referring to its hospitals by 39 percent since 2007 — more than 4,500 physicians. Liaisons can reportedly earn bonuses of tens of thousands of dollars if a physician increases his/her facilities to the hospital. Most liaisons focus on specialists in orthopedics, cardiac care and cancer care since they tend to work in the highest profit margins, according to the report.

HCA also has at least 150 employees who serve as intermediaries between the hospital and physicians. Duke University Health System hires nurses as physician liaisons. University of Chicago Medical Center recently hired four employees to serve in the same physician liaison role, according to the report.

Related Articles on Hospital-Physician Relationships:

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