Founded within Providence over 20 years ago, PS&D decided to do recruiting differently. Our goal was simple: Put clinicians first.
February 13, 2020
In 1996, four Providence employees in Portland, Oregon, threw out the playbook and began recruiting physicians in an unprecedented way – as a start-up within a 150-year-old health system.
Providence, which would soon become the third-largest, purpose-driven health organization in the country, needed a solution to costly, commission-based recruiting agencies. It needed a team that would provide a red carpet recruiting experience for executives and physicians, handling everything from sourcing and marketing to site visits and contracting.
This new venture – Provider Solutions & Development (PS&D) – would grow exponentially over the next two decades, forming partnerships with 21 health systems in 10 states, building a vast candidate database and securing more than 1,250 hires a year.
Rachelle Daugherty, PS&D’s Chief Executive and one of PS&D’s first employees, says her “why” remains the same today as it was almost two decades ago.
“We set out to fix the broken provider recruitment marketplace,” she says. “Nothing about the process or experience was working. Hospitals and clinics couldn’t get the providers they needed. Providers couldn’t find the jobs they wanted. And the end result was that our communities suffered, because people didn’t have access to care. PS&D changed that landscape by transforming the way healthcare is accessed and delivered.”
The broken marketplace is a multi-layered challenge.
The U.S. is facing a physician shortage of nearly 122,000 doctors in the coming decade as demand continues to grow faster than supply, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The time it takes to fill positions is also increasing. It takes an average of 124 days to fill an advanced-practice clinician role, 221 days to fill a primary care role and 252 days to fill a specialty role.
As health systems wait for providers to be hired, they must often turn to costly locum tenens staff. Becker’s Hospital Review estimates that in the last decade, 113 critical access rural hospitals closed their doors – 19 shut down in 2019 alone. Other recruiting firms – where employees are often working on commission to meet quotas – fill positions as fast as they can without regard for long-term fit. This leads to short tenures and frequent job vacancies.
Putting Providers First
PS&D has operated differently since day one – putting providers’ needs first and focusing on fulfilling individuals, not positions.
A pivotal moment for the team came in 2015, when a community hospital in a small Washington town came to PS&D and asked for help. Lacking the resources to recruit for themselves, they opened up three searches with PS&D – two general surgeon positions and one family medicine physician role.
“That was when Providence leadership said, ‘Let’s do this,’ ” Rachelle says. “Here was this community that needed our help. The question was, how were we going to help them? And it was this collective realization – Now is the time to provide our expertise and differentiated experience to the marketplace and fundamentally improve the way the provider marketplace operates.”
PS&D became a limited liability company, or LLC, allowing it to build partnerships with external clients who shared our mission to serve all, especially the poor and vulnerable.
Dr. Doug Koekkoek, Chief Medical Officer for Providence, says PS&D has been a game changer for the health system, which employs almost 8,000 providers.
“PS&D doesn’t just hire a doctor for us,” Dr. Koekkoek says. “They offer strategic thinking about how we can find the right person for our harder-to-fill roles. They help us offer clear recruitment and compensation packages, and, throughout our rapid growth, they’ve helped us think through how we can be a united organization.”
It’s easy to see why more than 15 health systems outside the Providence family have also chosen PS&D as a recruiting partner, he says.
“This is not a recruiting firm that is here today, gone tomorrow,” Dr. Koekkoek says. “PS&D has the stability of being backed by a larger organization. Knowing you’ll have a partner you can work with for years is really reassuring. The breadth of the positions they recruit for is vast, and they have a proven track record of matching the right provider to the right position.”
Today, PS&D has almost 100 employees in multiple locations who do just that, helping health organizations across the country reduce time-to-fill by 21 percent and cut client spend by up to 40 percent. These savings and efficiencies have allowed Providence and PS&D partners to increase access to care in hundreds of communities, aligning with Providence’s mission.
“I’m incredibly proud of my team and of what we’ve been able to provide to our partners,” Rachelle says. “Through our passion for putting providers’ needs first, we’ve reinvented provider recruitment, and become an innovator and disruptor in this space. The best part is helping to create healthier communities. That’s why we do what we do.”