Contributed by David Alemian
Physician recruitment and retention can be an ongoing challenge for healthcare organizations. For rural healthcare organizations, the challenge can be monumental, because very few people want to live and work in the middle of nowhere.
The solution to this problem is relatively simple. If you want to recruit and retain physicians, you need to give them what they want. So the question is: what do physicians want? The answer can be found in two studies conducted by the AMA Insurance Agency which is owned by the American Medical Association.
In 2013 the agency conducted a study titled: “The Financial Preparedness of All US Physicians.” In 2014 the agency conducted a follow-up study titled: “The Financial Preparedness of Employed US Physicians.” Both studies had similar findings including the following:
1) About half of all US physicians are behind in their retirement savings.
2) The number one concern of all US physicians is providing a comfortable retirement for themselves and spouse or partner.
3) The number two key concern is providing for long-term care expenses for themselves and their spouse or partner.
4) One of the areas of least concern is paying off medical school debts.
Interestingly, school debt reimbursement is a recruitment and retention tool used by some healthcare organizations. Healthcare organizations looking to recruit and retain physicians should shift their focus onto their retirement benefit plans. The typical 401(k), or 403B definitely is not sufficient to meet the needs of physicians. Those plans were originally intended to be supplementary plans and were never originally intended to be a primary retirement savings vehicle.
Physicians want a plan that will provide lifetime tax-free retirement income that will fully support their desired retirement lifestyle and many will go to great lengths to get it. Cash value life insurance policies have the ability to meet this need. Cash value life insurance policies with chronic illness riders will not only fill the need for retirement income, they will also satisfy the number two key concern providing for long-term care expenses.
To physicians in their 40s 50s or even 60s, comprehensive retirement benefits with lifetime retirement income is pretty tough to say no to, or to walk away from. Combined with a vesting period of 10, 15, or even 20 years, you will attract and keep the talent you want.