Recruitment Strategy

Define reasons for provider participation

Patients are assigned a sliding-fee-scale payment percentage, a primary care provider and specialty care, as needed.  Additionally:

  • Doctors Care screens patients to ensure financial qualification for our program and sets percentage payment rates based on that comprehensive screening. We reevaluate financial situations every six months to ensure patients’ eligibility and appropriate payment level throughout their time on the program.
  • No additional work is required for providers and their staff. Doctors Care holds patients accountable to their payments and for showing up at scheduled appointments.
  • Doctors Care is not free care. The uninsured learn how to use health care responsibly by paying affordable fees based on our sliding-fee scale.
  • Partnerships are already in place with hospitals, labs, radiology and pharmacies that accept Doctors Care patients.
  • Providers may keep and refer their current uninsured patients to Doctors Care - connecting them to other specialists, labs, pharmacy and radiology services that take uninsured patients.
  • Providers may determine how many patients they will manage and will not be pressured to take on more.
  • Mental/behavioral health services are available for Doctors Care patients.
  • We recognize providers in our community by producing and disseminating annual reports of donated care, including appreciation from our board members and hospital administrators. We also distribute newsletters that include updates about Doctors Care, often spotlighting our providers. 

Recruitment strategy for 10, 100 or 1,000 medical professionals

When it comes to developing a recruitment strategy for medical professionals, the following principles and activities are key: 

  • Dedicate a specific staff member to recruitment. Not necessarily a full-time position, but also not combined with any other part time position.  Our experience has been that if a person divides time between two duties, physician recruitment tends to take the lower priority. Prior to hiring a dedicated staff recruiter, the Doctors Care network grew 10 percent per year; but once a staff recruiter was in place, the network grew by approximately 30 percent per year.
  • Build relationships with medical providers, office managers and administrative personnel; identify who is aligned with your mission, and lean on those people to encourage others who are unsure.
  • Assume that a group is in unless they opt-out (e.g., with medical society members or hospital-owned physician groups). Hospital-owned physician groups are great ways to expand the network because the hospital is already on board. Be sure to meet with executive leadership of the physician groups to ensure that all groups receive the same messaging – this is beneficial for hospitals because they can be sure that patients leaving their facilities will receive timely care, thus reducing readmissions and hospital costs.
  • Once you have a provider’s verbal agreement to participate, follow up in writing. For most providers, we use a simple one-page participation form. For larger groups who do not limit the number of patients they will see under the program, a short Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) can be used (see Quick Reference Guide).
  • Have a face-to-face meeting with any new practice joining your network. Speak with the doctor and the office personnel in charge of scheduling and billing. Establishing this personal connection is important to ensure open communications as questions arise, and clarifies policies from the start. 

Objections you may hear:

“Private practices won’t participate in discounted charity care.”

Doctors Care founder Dr. VanderArk says, “Doctors become doctors because they want to do good, not because they want to do well (financially).” And realistically, they are already doing charity care. Private practice doesn’t consist of insurance-only patients. Providing a network of specialists for uninsured patients is a dream-come-true. Physician practices are also often relieved that patients on Doctors Care’s program are accountable to pay something for their care.

 “Hospitals won’t participate.”

Start with one. One creates a competitive engagement with others. It is great public relations to be involved, and hospitals are closely watching the moves of each other.

“It’s just too difficult.”

Actually, it’s easier than you think. Physicians otherwise have to make the arrangements for their uninsured patients, one at a time. At Doctors Care, the network of testing facilities, specialists and hospital care is already in place. And when an uninsured patient has needs beyond the primary care provider, the system can readily meet that need.

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