Quigley Eye Specialists Has Staying Power
Organization’s physician turnover rate holds steady at about one percent.
By Delmy Marquez, Vice President, Human Resources
Staff turnover in health care is an ongoing issue—and the COVID-19 pandemic has almost certainly exacerbated it. For some years, the physician turnover in the U.S. hovered around six percent to seven percent annually. But in the midst of the pandemic, nearly one-of-every-five physicians was seriously considering retiring.
This is not just a “retire early” situation. According to the Medical Group Management Association, nearly half of the physicians surveyed were seriously considering leaving to work for a different health care employer. With a workforce of about 18,000 ophthalmologists in the U.S., and the number remaining almost flat or increasing by only a percent or two per year, it is possible to see how the stresses of the pandemic and the work demands could be a factor in turnover.
Yet at Quigley Eye Specialists, our physician turnover rate holds steady at about one percent. That illustrates a level of satisfaction with the support, workflow, work/life balance and opportunities for advancement here.
In February 2022, the American Journal of Ophthalmology included an article, “Factors Influencing Career Decisions Among Newly Practicing Ophthalmologists.” Two-thirds of the respondents were in private practice, and the bulk of the rest were academic ophthalmologists. Here are the factors that were rated as either moderately important or very important in influencing the final career choices by at least half of the respondents.
- Types of patient problems in practice: 70 percent
- Continuity of care: 67 percent
- Challenging diagnostic problems: 64 percent
- Role models/mentors: 62 percent
- Geographic location: 59 percent
- Rotation(s) in subspecialty area: 58 percent
- Work hours: 57 percent
- Income: 53 percent
- Job market: 51 percent
A positive level of happiness with work life was reported by 83 percent of respondents, and 89 percent were happy with life outside of work.
At Quigley Eye Specialists, there are 24 clinics and five surgery centers under the umbrella of Quigley Health Services. Recent doctors who have joined Quigley Eye Specialists have said that the top factors in their decision were the ability to maintain autonomy, a clinical environment dedicated to the highest levels of patient care, sharing the leadership’s philosophy on patient care and the financial package.
What makes Quigley Eye Specialists doctors so content? Here’s what a few say.
Juan Fernandez de Castro, MD says that when Beraja Medical Institute in Coral Gables, Florida, joined Quigley Eye Specialists, “the biggest difference we felt before and after the merger was a peace of mind.” The administrative tasks and the worry about COVID-19 practices, protocols and the impact on the practice were not carried solely by the practice owners and the physicians on the team. “Now we were backed by an organization that has proven itself successful.”
Emmanuel Kai-Lewis, MD had built a tremendous reputation for himself at St. Erik’s Hospital in Stockholm. When he and his family decided to return to the U.S., he sought long and hard for a clinic where he could still practice independently and follow his passions. “Working at Quigley [in Naples, Florida] has allowed me to branch out and utilize all of my skill sets. I’ve been able to establish a cross-linking practice and expand on the level of cornea subspecialty care that I can provide for our patients,” he says.
Mark Liebetreu, OD left the cold Swedish winters to come to Florida 26 years ago. He’s been with Quigley Eye Specialists in Ft. Myers, Florida, ever since. “What has kept me here all these years is how well people get along and work together. There’s an expectation for technical excellence, as seen by many of the surgeons who have joined the company, and a culture of caring,” he says.
Duane Wiggins, MD was not ready for retirement—but he was ready for a change. So he left his partnership in Arizona when he and his wife started looking to places where they wanted to retire. Florida’s oceanside towns held great appeal—as did Quigley Eye Specialists. Not only does the practice in Naples, Florida, have a longstanding, excellent reputation in the community, it is willing to provide charity care to those who cannot afford essential eye care services. “Making a difference in the community is important to me,” he says.