Selecting a Physician Services Provider | Five Questions to Ask

At a time when identifying, recruiting, and hiring physicians and other clinical specialists can be a daunting task for hospitals and health care systems, a seemingly straightforward question arises:

Should you manage all hiring-related tasks and costs in-house? Or should you rely on a partner with expertise in finding and managing the physicians and specialists you need?

However, the answer becomes subject to industry nuances. The challenges are real: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% increase in health care employment through 2031, marked by an estimated 2 million new jobs related to industry growth as well as the replacement of those who are permanently leaving the health care profession.

ApolloMD is well-positioned to guide partners and hospitals through these professional staffing challenges while also serving as a source of information and guidance on decisions about practices, finances, and specific services or specialties.

Numerous staffing challenges in today’s health care

ApolloMD works hand-in-hand with key hospital-based clinical services to identify, recruit, hire, and place both physicians and advanced practice clinicians in key roles. ApolloMD’s expert teams can help address challenges such as:

  • competitive recruiting and hiring of clinicians, especially physicians and specialty roles
  • rising wages and employee demands for adequate compensation, satisfying careers, workplace safety, and work-life balance
  • ongoing regulatory and insurer/carrier emphasis on improved health care quality/outcomes, appropriate documentation, cost savings, and patient safety
  • increasing focus on value-based care and pricing transparency
  • changing corporate ownership and escalating health care competition

As hospitals and health care practices grapple with ongoing staffing challenges, key factors and offerings can help leaders decide whether to manage key clinical services in-house or outsource to a trusted partner.

1. Explore a Partner’s Ability to Tailor Coverage to Your Specific Needs

Each hospital or health care provider has its own unique needs. Across the US, ApolloMD partners with leading hospitals and health care systems, offering customized physician and APC support models. Coverage ranges from emergency care to in-house hospitalist coverage to aggressive revenue cycle management.

Determine whether a potential provider-partner understands the unique culture and personality of your hospital or health care practice, and can tailor an approach that meets the needs of the communities served.

  • Can a partner tailor its service offerings to your specific needs?
  • How many specialties can it staff?
  • Can it align the right level of provider to the right level of care?
  • Does it offer pricing or bundling options?
  • Does it encourage its physician/clinician employees to be good community citizens outside of the hospital walls or clinic rooms?

2. Examine a Partner’s Compensation Model

Ideally, the payment structure for outsourced professionals should mesh with your hospital’s strategic priorities and revenue goals. Ask pertinent questions to judge how well both models align.

ApolloMD, for example, is a privately held, physician- and APC-owned and -led practice. With no external stakeholders, ApolloMD is accountable and responsible solely to its hospital clients, partners, physicians, and advanced practice clinicians.

ApolloMD’s volume-based component promotes efficient practice, while its Quality Partner Incentive (QPI) accounts for approximately 20% of physician compensation, based on core compliance metrics, clinical/professional quality, staff satisfaction, and teamwork.  When seeking a partner, ask specifically about compensation.

  • Do the provider’s key performance indicators match those of the hospital?
  • Does its model support the provider’s emphasis on optimal performance and improved outcomes?
  • Do salary and payment structures include critical components of health care, including quantity and quality of care provided, safety and adherence to established protocols?
  • Are other factors part of the compensation equation, including community involvement/citizenship, directorship opportunities or participation in a provider’s internal initiative?

3. Seek Details About a Provider Partner’s Commitment to Quality

How will a physician services partner support your hospital or health care system, especially around quality initiatives and operational efficiencies? Several ApolloMD components widen the spectrum of the patient experience, including leadership development and support to our clinical teams via quality improvement and patient safety initiatives.

This collaborative approach enhances clinical quality while optimizing operational backing and department/clinician alignment. Bottom line, make sure that a provider partner’s commitment to quality meshes with yours.

  • Does the outsourced team coordinate and collaborate with the hospital operators to enhance throughput and improve care?
  • Does the partner have established quality benchmarks and best practices?
  • How does a potential partner rank or compare with other providers for quality and service?
  • Are a provider’s practitioners encouraged to develop strong working relationships with the hospital’s administrators and operators?
  • Is the provider partner committed to improving communication and knowledge transfer?
  • Do provider-placed specialists optimize the admission process and ensure continuity of care during and beyond a patient’s hospital stay?

4. Perform Due Diligence Around a Provider’s Financial Stability and Payer Network Relationships

With so much emphasis on health care financing and profit margins, explore a potential partner’s financial model and commitment to managing the costs associated with high-quality care. As costs increase and revenues dwindle, is your partner well-positioned for continued market volatility?

  • Is the provider financially stable? Do they operate with a strong balance sheet?
  • Are a potential partner’s contracted rates competitive?
  • Does the partner offer revenue cycle management and dedicated contacts for each health care client/partner?
  • Does it offer revenue cycle management services to enhance your bottom line?
  • Does its team include specialists in account management, documentation, coding and collection techniques?
  • Is the provider’s pricing strategy transparent?

For many years, ApolloMD has pursued a strategy of participating with any insurance plan willing to pay fair and reasonable rates for the care provided by our clinicians.  We recognize the importance of stable and reliable reimbursement and operate in-network with most major plans.

5. Explore a Potential Partner’s Support of its Clinicians and Health Care Clients

Given industry emphasis on health care costs and performance, explore key components of any provider partner’s own goals and performance.

  • Does the provider operate in a model that encourages its participating physicians, specialists, and advanced care practitioners to become truly invested in the hospitals, clinics and communities in which they work?
  • Does the partner offer a hard-wired clinical support model (core team, dedicated onsite medical director, practice coordinator, VPO, etc.)?
  • Does the partner encourage growth through leadership training?
  • Is the leadership in touch with the challenges facing today’s frontline clinicians?
  • How does the provider benchmark its metrics?
  • What types of reporting are available?

Deciding whether to hire in-house or rely on a partner for physician services for hiring/placement expertise is an important initiative for hospitals and health care providers. With a strong ability to retain physicians and a highly effective transition process, ApolloMD has successfully transitioned more than fifty contracts in the last five years. The process includes a dedicated on-site transition team within 24-48 hours of engagement.

A robust internal discussion about pros and cons — supported by due diligence about desired options and goals — starts with hard questions that lead to solid answers giving direction for a clear path forward.

Ready to move forward? Contact us today.

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