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5 Tips for Physician Recruitment in ASCs

Blayne Rush, MHP, MBA, is the president of Ambulatory Alliances. Here are five of his tips for ASC physician-owners to recruit other physicians to their practice.

1. Be committed. "Recruiting surgeons that will invest in your ASC and increase its profits can't be a hobby that you think about and pay attention to every once in a while. It must be a focused and coordinated ongoing process with someone that is accountable for its outcome," he said.

"Recruitment of new physicians should be an agenda item at almost every board meeting. During discussion on this item, physicians should identify which physicians the ASC should be reaching out to. Ask physician-owners to come prepared to put forth a few names of physicians and a little background — if known — so that the designee responsible for recruitment can pursue that physician. Part of the ASCs plan should be to have a continually updated target list of physicians in the community that should be contacted and a list of physicians coming into the community for future consideration," he said.

2. Be proactive. "Surgery centers proactive in their recruitment efforts often provide their physicians with printed information — such as brochures — about their ASC to help with the elevator speech mentioned earlier. Some provide recruitment cards, which are similar to business cards but have the highlights of the ASC printed on the back of the card. These are small and easy for the doctors to carry around," Mr. Rush said.

"ASCs can also consider using a consistent, direct mail campaign to prospective physicians that alternate between letters from the partners, to brochures, to postcards, all with the end-goal of keeping the surgery center on the minds of the physicians that you are recruiting," he said.

3. Put the right person in charge of recruiting. "Another issue that I have seen that has not worked is putting someone in charge of the recruitment process that does not have the experience and expertise to be able to champion your center and convey your unique message," Mr. Rush said. "This is an important role that needs someone who is tenured and has a history of success of speaking with physicians and recruiting. Putting someone in charge who cannot represent the ASC in a positive, encouraging manner may result in the projection of a misleading and negative image of the ASC on prospective physicians."

4. Get physicians involved. "I have never seen a situation where a physician was too involved," he said. "The process typically leans towards not being involved enough. Physicians as a whole tend to be very busy people. While I understand this, I would counter that the process needs to be drilled into them that the added cases and revenue is going to be of great benefit to them personally in that it will increase the value of the shares they own."

"For those physicians who are not involved enough, it's tends to be impactful if you frame the physician recruitment results in terms of increased patient volume and profitability. This mindset can go a long way in helping physicians understand that being involved in recruitment is a good, worthwhile — and potentially profitable — use of their time," he said.

5. Continuously recruit. "Physician-owners sometimes look at physician recruitment as an 'event.' The most successful surgery centers understand and make the recruitment ongoing process," Mr. Rush said. "For some centers, this will be a paradigm shift and one that they will need to make. The market is changing, and those centers that do not adapt will not survive."

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