Gaining Physician Buy-In: Carlos Alberto, III

Carlos Alberto III was the administrator of the laboratory at Canton-Potsdam Hospital in upstate New York in 2005 when the CEO summoned him to his office. To Carlos’s surprise, his boss asked him to consider a job in physician recruitment. Carlos’s first question? “What is physician recruitment?” His second question: “Why on God’s green earth would you think that someone who runs a laboratory would be a good physician recruiter?”

So when Carlos found himself nominated for a Staff Physician Recruiter of the Year award in 2015 from physician recruiting firm Jackson & Coker, you can be sure that it wasn’t something he expected. By training and experience, Carlos is a microbiologist, chemist, and lab manager. But according to that executive,

When Carlos came on board at the lab, only 75% of the physicians in their rural service area were using the hospital’s lab. The other 25% were using other hospitals’ labs or the big corporate labs. “You managed, in just over a year, to bring back almost 100% of the physicians,” the CEO said.

“That was easy,” Carlos replied. “I just went out and talked to the physicians, told them about the services we provide, and said I would answer any questions they had.”

“That’s what you can do as a recruiter,” was the response. So Carlos became a recruiter, but with one caveat. For the next nine years, he was both the sole physician recruiter and the administrator of the lab. According to Carlos, it was challenging but not difficult, “if you stay on top of things.” In 2014, he was named vice president of medical staff and business development.

As the hospital staff began to see the value of recruiting outstanding physicians, they became very supportive, making Carlos’s efforts more effective. Like the proverbial chicken and the egg, Carlos wondered, “Which comes first in a hospital setting, the patients or the physicians? Most people would say the patients, but if you have really good and talented physicians, you can’t stop the patients from coming to your organization. That’s what happened to us,” he said. When Carlos began recruiting, one physician was employed by Canton-Potsdam. Now that number is at about 60 employed physicians and 15 nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

He stays in touch with all of the physicians he recruits, and they, in turn, encourage candidates to join Canton-Potsdam.

When Carlos became a vice president, he was able to turn lab management over to someone else, but as his expertise at contributing to the hospital’s growth grew, he picked up additional responsibilities. In addition to being the staff physician recruiter, Carlos also oversees the anesthesiology department, the gastroenterology service line, and clinical research efforts. Not bad for a former lab manager who took a chance at physician recruiting.

 

The Staff Physician Recruiter of the Year program is designed to recognize those in the profession who make outstanding contributions to healthcare through their work. Recruiters are nominated by hospital administrators, physicians, and fellow staff recruiters from across the U.S. Nominations are reviewed by an independent panel that selects 10 finalists and one overall winner based on the individuals’ dedication to the in-house physician recruitment field. The award is sponsored by Jackson and Coker, the oldest and one of the most prominent physician recruiting firms in the U.S., serving hospitals and facilities nationwide. To learn more about Jackson & Coker and the Staff Physician Recruiter of the Year awards, click here.