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Avoid a Bad Hire in Your Medical Practice


Hiring a new physician is a big deal. If you make a bad choice, life can quickly become very difficult. Here are four red flags you shouldn't ignore.

Hiring a new physician is a big deal. If you choose the right one, he can have a huge impact on your practice - bringing in new patients, increasing revenue, and making the office a better place to work. If you make a bad choice, life can quickly become very difficult for you and for your staff.

It's October. It's the perfect time for horror movies, haunted houses, and scary ghost stories. But the scariest thing that can happen to your practice this month - or any time of the year - is a bad hire. So how do you avoid a scary situation?

It starts by knowing how to evaluate a physician on paper. Here are four red flags you should watch when screening curriculum vitae (CV).

1. Work history with employment gaps that don't make sense.

Employment gaps aren't uncommon - a physician who takes locum tenens assignments may only work a few times per year and have month-long gaps in between jobs, and a doctor who participates in medical missions may leave his or her practice for months at a time. If you have a question about a large gap (generally more than six months), ask the physician to explain. If she doesn't have a good reason for unemployment or seems to avoid the question, consider what the physician might be trying to hide or whether she is stable enough to accept a new job.

2. CV with frequent jobs in different areas.

Again, locum tenens work explains short assignments throughout the year, often in different parts of the country. But if a physician's CV indicates he has had several new jobs within the past year in the same state or in neighboring states - sometimes within 30 days of each other - red flags should go up.

3. Medical school and qualifications that don't seem legitimate.

Internationally trained physicians are often highly qualified, especially those who received their education in Israel, England, Singapore, or other countries with universities affiliated with American universities, such as Duke and Harvard. However, if you research the physician's medical school and certifications and can't find much information (or can't get in touch with a reference there), you may want to ask more questions before extending a job offer. Make sure the school is an approved ACGME residency/fellowship facility and that training is up to U.S. standards.

4. Education that doesn't match the physician's work history.

If a physician trained as a surgeon but has worked for the last 10 years as a family practitioner, it may indicate that she has skeletons in the closet from her time as a surgeon or was unable to renew a license. Ask the physician why she now works in a different field before going any further in the hiring process.

Even if you have a personal relationship with a job candidate, it's important to really dive into the CV and get to know the work history. Once you're sure there are no scary secrets, you can focus on the fun part of the hiring process - testing a physician's emotional IQ - to make sure the candidate is going to be the right fit for your practice and your patients.

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