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What Does Healthcare Reform Mean to Your Healthcare Hiring Strategy?

December 17, 2015


Contrary to popular belief, the fate of healthcare reform will NOT be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Justices will hear complex and nuanced Constitutional arguments about things like Severability, Standing and the Commerce Clause as they apply to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. (“PPACA”), but don’t confuse the PPACA with “reform”. Reform has been underway for several years, is desperately needed, and will continue no matter what the Supreme Court tells us.

HCAHPS, Value Based Purchasing, Accountable Care Organizations, serious cost containment efforts, new care delivery models and other changes that have been underway will continue and likely at an accelerated pace. How will it impact your talent strategies? Here’s an example:

I spoke last week at an event with an audience of surgeons and hospital administrators. We talked about “bundled payment” – a payment methodology currently being tested and likely to roll out on a larger scale. Bundled payment means that rather than Medicare paying a fee to the hospital and then a separate fee to the surgeon, there will be a single payment and the hospital and physician need to figure out how to split a smaller total pot of money. While this may not sound like a dramatic change –trust me, it is.

This led to a discussion about the changing relationship between hospitals and physicians. Which lead to a discussion about physician “competencies” including collaboration. Physician success or failure rarely turns on clinical or technical skills, but on behavioral abilities. In the case of bundled payment, for instance, we need physicians with business acumen, the ability to communicate, to adapt to change, to lead, to be innovative – and to collaborate. See an interesting article by James Stoller, “Can Physicians Collaborate?”

Traditional physician training and selection don’t address these behavioral competencies and perhaps that was OK ten years ago. As a hospital administrator who needs to sit down with a surgeon in the world of bundled payment – these just got a whole lot more important. Recruiting a surgeon who does thousands of surgical case for your hospital used to bolster your reputation and your bottom line. If, under bundled payment, you lose money every time he or she steps in to the OR – what now?

And this doesn’t even get into the issues of payment tied to quality and outcomes. Think you need a physician willing to look at data, accept criticism, and constantly look for opportunities work with others to improve process? Certainly, there are physicians out there who have these qualities, but they aren’t the first qualities that come to mind when thinking about some specialties.

This is what healthcare reform means on the front lines of healthcare and it’s not just about physicians. Clinical and technical skills are simply no longer predictive of success, at any level. They are important, no doubt, but hospitals are realizing that technological and process advancements are only a beginning. What’s the healthcare hiring strategy?

Not sure how to hire the right physicians for your organization? Check out our Healthcare Hiring Essentials eBook!

Healthcare Hiring Essentials

Bryan Warren Bryan Warren is the President of J3 Personica, a consulting, assessment, training, and coaching firm, and a guest blogger for PSI. Bryan is an expert in progressive talent strategies, with a particular focus on leader and physician selection and development.