Physician turnover in 2012 reached its highest rate since 2005, according to a survey from Cejka Search and the American Medical Group Association. Medical groups reported an average turnover rate of 6.8 percent last year, up from 6.5 percent in 2011 and much higher than the lowest rate of 5.9 percent in 2009 at the depth of the recession.

Medical groups are not optimistic about reduced turnover this year. The report indicates that competition to hire and retain top-performing docs will intensify as retirement climbs among an aging physician workforce and the Affordable Care Act increases the demand for primary care. In fact, 36 percent of medical groups expect the pace of retirements to increase.

Other findings include:

  • Groups with fewer than 50 docs are experiencing 19.4 percent turnover among physicians older than 64, compared with 12.7 percent for physicians of this age in all groups.
  • The average turnover rate for physicians in their second to third year of practice is 12.4 percent, while small groups have 20.8 percent turnover.
  • Groups who assign a mentor during the physician onboarding process reported a lower overall turnover rate of 6 percent compared with the 6.8 percent average rate for all groups.

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