The 5 Biggest Mistakes That Hospitals Make When Relocating Physicians

Physician recruiting is fierce—which means relocation benefits must be, too. But too many hospitals’ relocation programs aren’t competitive, and it’s costing them talent. So, when top physician recruitment firm, PracticeMatch, asked us to shed some light on this subject, we happily obliged.

As a result, UrbanBound’s co-founders Michael Krasman and Jeff Ellman recently held a webinar on this timely topic (watch here). After all, the healthcare industry is one of our specialties.

In a nutshell, we’ve found that hospitals—whether big or small, city or rural—often make the same mistakes. Typically, it’s because the relocation industry has changed, but hospital programs haven’t. Especially when it comes down to these five common blunders, as covered in our webinar.


1. Treating Relocation as Compensation vs. a Benefit

Many hospitals still treat relocation as compensation: they offer physicians a lump sum or reimbursement arrangement, then let them figure the move out on their own.

But planning a relocation is massive, and physicians want—and deserve—assistance. The compensation-only approach depresses offer-to-acceptance rates because, as Jeff put it, “caregivers don’t feel cared for.”

That’s not all. With lump sum plans, hospitals end up spending more than needed, because physicians pocket any surplus. Conversely, with reimbursement plans, physicians pay thousands out-of-pocket—which rarely sits well—then spend their first weeks chasing down reimbursement.

Neither scenarios work, but the solution is simple: switch to a managed budget plan. These plans include relocation services—like vetted providers and relocation consultants—and end the reimbursement chase.

Better yet, they let physicians spend up to a budget amount on relocation—but unlike with lump sum plans, the hospitals, not the physicians, keep any unspent funds.

It’s a win/win. In fact, UrbanBound’s healthcare clients save about $3,000 per move (24% of budget), while physicians rate their experience 4.8-4.9 out of 5.0, because everything’s handled smoothly.


2. Assuming Consumer Moves and Corporate Moves Are Equal

When physicians must plan their moves on their own, they get none of the protections covered under corporate service-level agreements, not to mention the buying power.

“One in four household moves have a problem, says Michael. “When it’s a corporate move, movers are driven to make it right because they know there’s thousands of future moves attached to that relationship.”

Also, corporate moves are less likely to get bumped when movers get over-scheduled, which means new physicians report for work as scheduled, saving hospitals money.

In short, corporate moves give physicians more of a white-glove experience, and that’s a great way to start.


3. Failure to Provide Community Information Resources

A recruiter’s job is to sell candidates on the job. It’s a lot to expect them to sell them on the hospital location, too—especially if they recruit for multiple locations.

Many hospitals fall short when it comes to promoting their local areas effectively—i.e., identifying the best neighborhoods, top schools and attractions. Not to mention providing firsthand tips from coworkers who know the inside track, plus reassuring FAQs for commuting, parking, etc.

The “old way” is to provide some email attachments and links, but it’s hit or miss. A better approach: provide comprehensive community information, all housed on one easy-to-access online hub.

If this sound like a lot of data to pull together, keep in mind: when you use a tech-based relocation provider like UrbanBound, it’s all handled for you—along with access to top realtors and destination services providers who help physicians become part of the community faster.

Watch Webinar

Check out our on-demand webinar on "The 5 Biggest Mistakes That Hospitals Make When Relocating Physicians"

4. Not Investing in the Candidate Experience 

The relocation process really begins before the job offer. 

“Ninety-three percent of physicians who accepted offers rated their candidate experience as positive,” says Michael. “Whereas 44% declined an offer due to a poor experience.”

How do you ensure a great candidate experience?

  1. Share that cool, hyper-local information with candidates. Get them excited about your city before they commit.
  2. Switch to an electronic reimbursement system that pays interview-related travel expenses in days, not weeks or months (a widespread industry fail).
  3. Make sure candidates enjoy their visit by guiding them to great hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc. Leave nothing to chance.
Keep in mind, a great relocation provider does all these things for you.


5. Lack of Visibility and Robust Reporting

When you treat relocation as compensation, you have zero visibility into how physicians are managing or how your program is working.

But when relocation is administered through one central place—as it is with a tech-based relocation program—you’re collecting a wealth of information. Where each move stands. How much money you’ve spent. Where the hitches and holdups are. Even how the physicians rate their experience. All in real-time.

This comprehensive reporting allows hospitals to not only better manage their spending, but continually improve their relocation benefits—and therefore their recruiting.

In other words, it all works together.

These mistakes are common in the healthcare industry, but the answers are closer than you think. Feel free to read up on UrbanBound’s solutions for the healthcare industry

Human Resources Today