Gastroenterology: Physician Needs Assessment

A large health system (“System”) was evaluating a community physician practice’s (“Practice”) request for recruitment support of an additional gastroenterology provider into a hospital’s geographic service area (“GSA”).


The Practice had stated there was a demand for gastroenterology services that outweighed the current supply of physicians in the GSA, and as such, needed assistance from the System in recruiting an additional physician to fill that need. The System was looking to assess whether support could be provided based on a physician needs assessment conducted utilizing the Stark Law’s recruitment exception guidelines.


VMG Health conducted a physician needs assessment for the specialty of gastroenterology in the System’s GSA. The assessment included utilizing database resources to assess the current supply of physicians in the market, an analysis of the current population in the System’s GSA, and an analysis/selection of the appropriate physician-to-population ratio for the specialty. In assessing the appropriate physician-to-population ratio, VMG Health conducted research on the population in the market and incidence rates of conditions treated by gastroenterologists in the market relative to national incidence rates. In addition, VMG Health interviewed management to gain an understanding of any market optics not assessed in VMG Health’s initial research such as long wait times to see specialty physicians, patient outmigration for specialty services, etc.


VMG Health determined an appropriate supply and demand for the System’s GSA and determined whether the market had a deficit/surplus of gastroenterologists both in the current state, as well as a forecast of deficit/surplus in the future (based on population growth and anticipated physician retirements). This deliverable was then utilized by the System to assess whether to pursue recruitment support arrangements with the physician practice.

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