Physician Employment: Does a Shortage of Family Physicians in IL Mean an Opportunity for Employment Negotiations?

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Today Crain’s Chicago Business published Dr. Carrie E. Nelson’s opinion piece arguing that Illinois may not have enough Family Practice physicians after 2014. She claims that only 9% of Illinois medical school graduates in Illinois chose family medicine as their primary practice area and only a third of those will stay in Illinois for residency training.

These numbers may not be good indicators of whether family practice physicians will choose Illinois since residency training is determined by a match program and does not necessarily indicate where a physician will choose to work as an attending. Regardless, Dr. Nelson’s perspective raises some interesting questions about whether Illinois employers and/or Illinois as a State are doing enough to attract family practice health care providers.

The recent trend in physician employment contracts has been to tie compensation to productivity. However, healthcare employers may want to start considering whether it is time to change the approach. With the Healthcare for America Plan going into effect in 2014, we expect more patients to have access to insurance. This could indicate a trend towards more preventative care.

Healthcare employers who plan ahead and have competitive employment agreements in place to attract physicians could be better positioned to to benefit from the reforms.