Adding a provider to your team can be a daunting task. Competition is fierce for new physicians, especially ones with specialty training. Before you hurry off to list your position, take a moment to plan and highlight your goals. What does the practice need? How are you going to encourage the candidate to join you? How will you know who is the right person for the job? With no shortage of options available to new providers and those looking for a change, a practice has to be prepared to know what it has to offer. By following specific guidelines and timelines you will better be able to acquire a provider who is well suited to your practice.

First Steps

Before you get too far ahead of yourself, it is best to set out a strategic plan that lays out everything you require, as well as what you can provide.

Initial Questions to Start the Process:

  • What are the positives about the practice?
  • What does the practice have to offer a physician?
  • What qualities are you looking for in a physician?
  • What are the responsibilities, schedules, and locations?
  • Do you have enough patients, staff, and space?
  • What skill sets would add value to the practice?
  • Are you looking for part-timers only?
  • Do you need to cover a particular day of the week that others are not willing to commit to?
  • Are you looking for someone with an entrepreneurial bent or someone who simply desires to work hard and clock out when the scheduled day is finished?
  • Should your prospect have his/her own patient or referral source following that can supplement your current practice?

Answering these questions will help you find a suitable match for your practice. An important decision requires careful consideration. Hiring a physician is a long-term investment for a practice and just like any other capital expenditure needs to be looked at as such.

Your objective is to determine how to create a retentive and motivating environment. If you take the following steps ensuring the process is structured and strategic, the success rate of your new provider is likely to be much higher. Establishing a recruitment process can become an easy-to-initiate part of your procedure manual.

STEP 1: Develop a New Physician Business Plan

What are the capital requirements? Review the financials. Revenue minus cost will be your profit.

Cost includes base salary plus about 25 percent for insurance and taxes and an additional five to six percent for supplies.

Integrating a new member of your practice can be a balancing act on all fronts. A cost analysis will make sure all expenses are clear and accounted for.

Expenses may include:

  • Salary and bonus
  • Malpractice insurance
  • Benefits
  • Office space
  • Additional staff
  • Billings and collections
  • Clinical supplies

Once these liabilities have been defined, compare them with the assets of obtaining an additional service provider for your practice. At the top of the list should be improved quality of care, which may include new or different services, possibly extended locations and hours, or a reduced workload. Increased revenue ought to be calculated to ensure it offsets the expenses.

Calculate the following:

  • Charges per provider
  • Charges per patient visit
  • Overall costs per provider
  • Staff costs per provider
  • Medical and office supply costs

These figures will help to draw up the return on investment and other financial information pertinent in this decision making process. Completing this step also helps keep the business side of things top of mind during this sometimes personal process.

Step 2: Start the Search

Initial steps to start the search involve a detailed description of what you are looking for and what you have to offer. Take time in creating your job description so you can vet applicants in the early stages. Once you have received applications and the deadline has passed, spend time reviewing each application individually.

Applicant Review Process:

  • Check CV for qualifications and experience
  • Ascertain valid credentials
  • Conduct a screening phone call for qualified applicants
  • Set an in-person recruiting visit

Step 3: Meet AND Greet

The recruiting visit is where all questions should be addressed on both sides.

All the partners and any other decision makers (if applicable) should all be in attendance. This process is integral in showing the professional structure of the practice and how the new provider will fit in.

Important questions to ask:

1. How did the applicant find out about the opening?
2. Why this location?
3. Where are they relocated from or intend to reside when they relocate?
4. What are their interests?
5. What are their short-term career goals?
6. What are their long-term career goals?

Oftentimes after the meet and greet, both sides require some time to digest all of the information. That is why it is important to conduct a post-visit interview, to re-address any further questions. Once both sides have agreed, you are off to contract negotiations.

Step 4: Define Contract Terms

Successful onboarding should be a sure thing if due diligence and adequate disclosure of compensation terms were done during the recruitment process. However, with accountability, structure, and support, the transition will be smooth for everyone involved. Discuss policies, job description, and responsibilities to be sure everything is clear.

Ron Lebow, Esq., of Michelman & Robinson, LLP, who represents dermatologists across the country, points out that, “Candidates are often surprised when an assurance is given on certain matters but the prospective employer refuses to write it in the agreement. This sends a message to the candidate of untrustworthiness and can sour the prospect if another prospective employer comes across as more accommodating. Show fairness in your agreement, while hedging your risk where there is reason to.”

Negotiating Tips:

  • Start from a strong place in your contract but leave room for negotiation and concession
  • Emphasize benefits and expense coverage when available
  • Know your market, including competitive salaries in the area
  • Calculate your bottom line
  • Incentivize with percentage compensation or bonus formulas
  • Consider the threat of competition if the provider leaves and determine your patient catchment area

Even with careful consideration and ample planning, the provider that joins your practice might not work out. The costs of an improper selection cannot be understated. From the recruiting costs, interview costs, and credentialing, to attorney fees, and moving costs, it can all add up quickly. Most important, though, is the possibility of a loss of patients and perceived professionalism for your practice if the new provider makes a mistake or is not a good fit, or if you become known for high turnover.

Provide feedback and success measurements, coaching and counseling when necessary. Obtain recruit feedback from leadership and peers, initially monthly then quarterly. Monitor patient satisfaction surveys and online reviews. Be consistent, measure productivity, and handle problems appropriately. Be motivational and consistent—most new providers fail when they do not receive the respect, recognition, and support that is needed.

Structured, Analytical, Comprehensive

By following a specific strategy with an attitude of positive growth for your practice, you will be able to cover all bases. Recruitment should be structured, analytical, and comprehensive.

Do a financial analysis so that you know your Must Haves and Can’t Stands. Taking in all these factors can avoid costly consequences in the future. Then, once you have found the person who fits what you are looking for, mentor him/her.

Look for more practice management coverage in our September edition, focused on business development. We’ll take an in-depth look at Mergers and Acquisitions and how trends are shaping the dermatology specialty.

Kim Campbell is the Founder CEO of Dermatology Authority, which is the leading matchmaking agency for the dermatology market.

Dermatology Authority helps practices grow by adding providers, practices, marketing, and practice start up services. If you are looking to advance your career, Ms. Campbell can be reached at or call 800-577-0125.