In the midst of healthcare industry trends of physician and staffing shortages, is it possible there were massive physician layoffs? If so, why, and does it still continue to plague hospitals and other medical facilities today?
According to a 2020 Becker hospital review of healthcare industry trends, hospitals nationwide laid off large numbers of staff. In some facilities, competition for talented clinicians created salary wars, resulting in increased cost of new hires. That brought in the talent, but left a financial shortage. In turn that shortage created the demand for cuts in other positions of existing staff.
Large physician shortages shut down entire specialization at some hospitals. Other hospitals were restructuring due to huge unfilled position vacancies, creating new layoffs of the few vacancies they had filled. Still other hospitals closed, prompting more waves of layoffs. Medical facilities went into survival mode, scaling back services and costs as patients abandoned regular treatment. Though you might assume hospitals were busier than ever, caring for COVID patients, fear kept non-covid patients away.
Patients needing any other healthcare were avoiding medical facilities of all kinds. They were reluctant to enter a medical facility even for overdue checkups. FierceHealthcare.com surveyed healthcare practices with some surprising results. They found, by the middle of 2020, practices reported experiencing a 60 percent drop in patient volume on average. The revenue was only slightly less affected, at 55 percent lower than pre-pandemic levels. Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that 48 percent of practices said they had to layoff staff at least temporarily.
Soon the repercussions spread to private practices. Many doctors had to choose between keeping their practice running at a loss, furloughing staff or going without their own salary. Refinery29.com, who celebrates women’s perspectives, spoke to Doctor Heather Bartos, MD, OB/GYN in Texas. She noted that people think US Doctors have tons of money. The reality is that many took financial hits in 2021 and are still reeling today. Medical offices shut down, or had reduced hours and services. Dr. Bartos, ended up sacrificing her own salary to be able to keep paying her team. The decision wasn’t easy, but many private practices throughout the country were in the same situation.
The work still needed to be conducted. Remaining physicians and nurses assume much of the slack. Technology, when properly integrated is offsetting some of the shortages. Some technology relief trends include translation services on tablets and smartphones. The patients are more at ease, and the doctors spend less time struggling to communicate with the patient. Another technology advance allows patient notes to be synchronized through the cloud. What once took weeks or a month, now happens instantly. Today, virtual appointments offer new ways to manage contagious illness or immobility. Even chatbots are appearing in new uses as a triage service for patients, freeing up receptionists from gatekeeping. These technological healthcare industry trends are a start in bridging the physician shortage, but there is work to do. Until the fiscal shortages are stabilized, the industry will continue to suffer physician shortages and layoffs.
PX3 Medical Staffing is dedicated to keeping you informed on recruitment strategies but also on employee retention. You worked hard to develop and market your brand. You brought on people who understood and assimilated into your culture. We can help you protect that brand as we partner with you, by becoming your brand ambassador. Just as importantly, we share resources on employee retention when you find the right candidate for your brand.
As the healthcare industry trends reflect, there is a lot of restructuring taking place. Finding and keeping the right physicians can go a long way to keeping your brand stabilized. Contact us for more information on PX3 Medical Staffing Services.