‘Retention is key’ amid growing provider shortages

August 17, 2022

2 min watch


Rose E. Strategies to improve provider staffing and retention. Presented at: GI Outlook; Aug. 13-14, 2022; Arlington, Virginia.

Rose reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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ARLINGTON, Va. — Staffer retention impacts the quality of patient care and is even more essential with growing provider shortages, according to a presentation at GI Outlook.

“The Medical Group Management Association did a poll that found three in four medical practices ranked staffing as their biggest challenge going into 2022, and we’re already halfway through and noticing that going into 2023 it is not getting any better,” Eric Rose, MBA, group vice president of HCA Physician Services Group, said. “Certainly, we’ve seen that COVID-19 has really thrown a wrench and a lot of things are happening. Everything has changed, and this is the new normal. Staffing and recruitment strategies are going to impact everything that we do.”

The first key to staffing is knowing your numbers; these include the practice structure, details of the opportunity, partnership parameters as well as compensation and benefits. Employees want to know exactly what they are signing up for and what they should expect out of their job. They also want to know what the community around the practice is, especially if relocation is part of the contract.

Compensation considerations

Over the years, and even heightened during the era of COVID-19, health care delivery has become more complex and demanding. The job has become harder with the perception that providers are being asked to do much more with less tools in the toolbox.

Aside from the tolls it has taken on job description, safety concerns, mandates and a changing litigation landscape have grown with external industries competing and bringing more attractive employee solutions to the table. Rose noted that long-term forecasting has only revealed worsened conditions in job satisfaction, pay cuts and stress on new grads who “lost years of training” during the pandemic.

While compensation is a critical factor in staffing and retention, it is not always just about the money. The intangibles — such as staff lunches, meaningful contact, appreciation days and relationships — and benefits matter as well.

“Physicians are coming to you knowing what the benchmark is, knowing what MGMA or say the salary range is and they are looking for that salary range,” Rose said.

“Focus on the objective: finding what that criterion is, framing this as a joint issue. Be respectful and open to reason, ask early and frequently about their expectations. But more importantly, be willing to be open to new ideas, don’t yield the pressure only to principle.”

He advised that other compensation and benefit considerations should include malpractice insurance, health insurance, paid vacation time, CME allowance, retirement benefits, technology stipends and more.

Retention considerations

To improve retention in a health care practice, Rose offered the following strategies:

  • Recruit and staff effectively, and be straightforward.
  • Address burnout.
  • Encourage leadership opportunities and professional development.
  • Offer fair compensation that aligns with organizational goals, quality and productivity.
  • Invite feedback and open communication.
  • Find ways to support a better work/life balance.
  • Cultivate a strong culture of community with a positive and efficient workplace environment.

“Retention is the key,” Rose concluded. “We need to be more clear, more concise and more upfront about what we can and are and are willing to do. The health care industry is now competing with other industries that boost their wages and their benefits. … Provider retention directly impacts the quality of patient care.”


  • Rose E. Staffing and compensations packages: From physicians to nursing. Presented at: GI Outlook; Aug. 13-14, 2022; Arlington, Virginia.

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