Overcoming Clinical Staffing Shortages: How the Medicus Transition Program Can Pave the Way for Permanent Staffing Solutions

In an interactive session at Becker's 11th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable, Shannon Peterson,Vice President of Delivery at interim staffing firm Medicus Healthcare Solutions, led a discussion on overcoming staffing shortages in healthcare and how a staffing firm can help.

The panelists shared their personal experiences and offered advice on how to navigate staffing challenges, especially during times of transition. They highlighted the need for proactive solutions, such as creating a heat map of potential staffing vulnerabilities and investing in training programs to retain staff. They also discussed the importance of understanding the market, finding the right leader, and creating a structured onboarding process for new hires. The panelists also touched on the need for a more sustainable physician practice model. Speakers also included:

  • Jamie Smith, President of Denver-based Intermountain Health Saint Joseph Hospital 
  • Mason Van Houweling, CEO of Las Vegas-based University Medical Center of Southern Nevada
  • O'Neil Pyke, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Miami-based Jackson Health System
  • Matthew Broom, MD, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of St. Louis-based BJC Medical Group

Key Takeaways:

1: While many factors can affect staffing levels, one of the biggest drivers of physician shortages is the supply versus the demand. 

Dr. O'Neil Pyke: "With COVID and with all the things that have happened over the last few years, we are recognizing that a lot of physicians are actually exiting stage left and saying that we can't do this the way we did before. That's also one of our biggest challenges. So, I think the aging population being the primary [driver of physician shortages], and we can't bridge that gap between the demand and the supply. Medical schools are not putting out enough residents out of training programs to actually meet the demand."

2: An interim staffing firm like Medicus can help health systems fill gaps when provider contracts end.

Jamie Smith: "What we faced was a short-term termination of our contract for anesthesia. And so rather than jumping in and just signing the next deal really quickly, we wanted to pause and do it right, do an RFP process. Medicus allowed us to have that pause and they allowed us really to dovetail and feather in some local providers that were going to stay with us over the long term."

3: Strategic staffing solutions, such as the Medicus Transition Program can help systems transition from a contracted model to an employed model. 

Mason Van Houweling: "We were faced with shortages, burnout, residency slots not being filled in our community. So, we really felt like we needed to take action in our own hands, and so partnered up with Medicus to find the solution. The doctors that we've known and loved for many, many years we're no longer from local groups. They were national groups and we were being leveraged four or five times the cost in our services and with less services. … So we've set out to bring out an employee model and we had within a matter of weeks anesthesiologists and CRNAs working in our shop."

4: An interim staffing firm is one piece of a larger strategy to find long-term staffing solutions.

OP: "And as I talked about before, the gap that we have in our coverage just continues to expand. And so having the proper partnerships like Medicus offers, but beyond that is actually really being proactive and looking at the marketplace, understanding your respective marketplaces. And for us as CMOs, I know that we have all these service lines from anesthesia to surgery as being the moneymakers, but then the hospital medicine and the critical care service lines have to be foundational elements."

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