How do specialty practices compensate for how difficult it is to find specialists in today's market?

May 08, 2008

"You must foster an environment where people want to work," says Dr. Karen Felsted, CVPM, CPA, a consultant with Gatto McFerson in Santa Monica, Calif. "If you have a culture where people want to work, you're going to attract more people than a practice where people don't like the environment. It doesn't hurt to be located in a cool part of the country, but you can definitely make up for that."

A competitive salary is usually the best way to draw a specialist to your practice, but it's not the only thing that matters, Dr. Felsted says. Factors that pull specialists to your practice include having a good reputation for practicing great medicine and surgery, good leadership and nice people to work with (not to mention work for), a team environment, and perhaps some kind of official recognition.

If money does most of your talking when fishing for a good catch in the ever-shallow pool of available specialists, Dr. Felsted says your revenue needs to be a solid constant. "If you're going to pay higher salaries, then you'll need to keep your revenues up," she says. To that end, utilizing the specialists you already have and making sure their productivity is at its maximum will ensure you stay profitable. If you're making more money, use it when offering a job to a deserving candidate.