Our Approach to Medical Staff Development

The cultivation of a strong and loyal medical staff is recognized as the key to survival for many hospitals and medical centers. Physicians draw patients, attract payers, and drive the quality of care that is essential to all successful healthcare enterprises. Structured, focused, and regular medical staff planning efforts that identify both community and institutional needs have become the planning tool of choice for hundreds of successful healthcare organizations.  Regulatory issues also make medical staff planning essential, as ever changing laws and interpretations restrict physician recruitment and require documentation of community need and benefit.  A comprehensive medical staff development plan provides justification for recruitment while allocating scarce resources in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

The most effective approach to medical staff planning is no longer the simple “more is better” philosophy that guided medical staff development efforts for so many years. Today’s demanding environment requires hospitals to pursue the needs of the community, respond to the desires of the medical staff, and prioritize based on complicated ratios of contribution to acquisition or development cost.

In formulating a medical staff development plan, The La Penna Group, Inc. pursues a multifaceted approach that acknowledges community need, institutional demand, and the potential contribution that particular specialties or services could make to the product lines and initiatives currently being pursued.

If you have any questions regarding our approach, please contact us toll-free at 800-527-3662.  We would be pleased to discuss your project with you without charge.

Our Methodology

The process employed by The La Penna Group, Inc. for most medical staff development projects generally begins with an assessment of the primary, secondary, and, if appropriate, tertiary marketplaces served by the system’s facilities. Objective market-based findings are reviewed relative to input received from the medical staff and the strategic direction of the facilities involved. Specific steps in our process are included below:

  1. The first step in the development of a medical staff development plan, which we believe is critical to defining the structure of the project, is to obtain specific strategy and market information from the facility and service area in question. This is most often done through a combination of interviews with key administrators and medical staff leaders, as well as market research.
  2. In preparation for the development of the provider supply database, we will collect and assess data and material available from in-house and publicly available sources.  Based on the material readily available, we then perform a gap analysis that would highlight the missing information.
  3. A plan would then be developed to obtain and secure the missing information including physician demographics, work status, specialty, and facility analysis.  We have assumed that a portion of the information that we will need to complete the database is currently available from the medical staff offices of the facilities involved.
  4. After obtaining objective population statistics and adjusting for age/sex distributions, we attempt to project need based on industry standards for both physician to population ratios (by specialty) and visit volumes according to Medical Group Management Association statistics.  At the same time, we collect current physician supply information for each locality, paying attention to historical referring patterns, production measures, and current efforts related to recruitment and retention.  In your case, we would attempt to look at similar efforts underway at other area facilities.
  5. In addition to the visit-based projections, we also compare the supply data to ten other industry-accepted benchmarks for physician supply. The benchmarks are used to highlight areas of potential surplus or deficiency.  This exercise also takes into account the utilization of midlevel providers.
  6. With a set of data in hand and the general observations that might be drawn from the interview and data collection process, we then design a comprehensive medical staff survey. Design of the survey includes definition of the survey pool and statistically significant response targets. Questions posed in the survey are intended to confirm or dispel assumptions drawn from the objective market and benchmark data. Typically, we survey the top 10% of the medical staff through on-site, one-on-one interviews.  We then design a simplified written survey to be distributed to the remainder of the medical staff.
  7. Most important to the process is the opportunity to review the quantitative findings of the supply analysis and medical staff survey with a representative sample of the administrative and medical staffs, allowing them the opportunity to shed light on more subjective factors that may not be apparent in the ratios, lists, and statistics utilized in the data analysis and survey. We believe the adjustment of preliminary targets to reflect the local flavor of a community is the most important step in developing a medical staff development plan that truly meets the needs of that community as well as the institution, and one that will be welcomed by the existing medical community.
  8. The strategic goals of the facility are then revisited to be sure that the findings of the market assessment and staff survey will support the strategic direction of the facility. In instances where the data will not support the intended direction of the facility, adjustments to the final recommendations will be made along with documentation supporting the suggested adjustments.
  9. The final work product includes a formal document that should support the community services plan of the hospital. We will also provide recommendations concerning the market needs with those identified by a review of the strategic necessities of the organization and the referral resource needs of the medical staff.
  10. Finally, The La Penna Group, Inc. will work with the hospital staff to develop action plans for the implementation of the approved medical staff development recommendations including projected time line, responsible parties, and anticipated costs. These action plans translate the findings of the planning process into an institutionally endorsed roadmap for the recruitment of new providers, the retention of current physicians, the focusing of institutional loyalties, and the conversion of non-affiliated practices.
  11. We are also committing to the development of specific product line strategies to address areas of community and institutional need. These may include oncology, orthopedics, cardiology, etc.

Our Final Product

Our medical staff development work on behalf of most clients results in five primary project outcomes:

  1. A comprehensive report that serves to confirm, identify, or propose alternatives to the hospital’s strategic direction relative to the hospital’s primary care base and select specialties. Understanding that the primary objective of the project is to strengthen overall hospital volumes, we will evaluate all relevant clinical services and geographic market areas.
  2. Current specialty specific supply counts and projections for future needs as defined by objective market data compared to industry accepted benchmarks for physician supply per 100,000 lives (including age and sex adjusted population and specialty specific visit standards).
  3. Current and future adequacies/gaps in physician supply relative to existing strategic direction and market development goals as identified by hospital leadership.
  4. Stakeholder reviewed and endorsed recommendations for affiliation, recruitment, retention, and long-term provider success including strategies and tactics for graduating primary care residents, senior physicians approaching retirement, employed physicians, physicians with divided loyalties, and physicians currently practicing at competing institutions.
  5. Identification and evaluation of realistic legal structures and financial strategies that could be employed to enhance utilization of specialty services by non affiliated primary care physicians and recruitment of physicians to fill identified community and institutional gaps, and strengthen partnerships with physicians/groups through mutual benefit and unity of purpose.

Our final report typically contains both summary and detail level information that can be easily edited for presentation based on the appropriate needs of the intended audiences. Whenever possible, we will provide our clients with both electronic and hard copies of all material.

If you have any questions regarding our methodology or deliverables, please contact us toll-free at 800-527-3662. We would be pleased to discuss your project with you without charge.

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