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Leadership and Clinician Retention: Baptist Memorial Hospital Case Study

Case Studies

Hospital Information

Facility: Baptist Memorial Hospital – Memphis, Tennessee

TeamHealth Services: Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, and Orthopedic Surgery

TeamHealth Impact

  • Clinician retention rate of 95% in 2016, 100% in 2017 and 2018
  • No use of locums/premium labor since Q4/2015
  • Three-year program volume growth of 26%
  • Three-year productivity growth of 25%
  • Observed over expected readmission ratio of less than 1

“The quality and stability of our hospital medicine team is outstanding. This is a group of medical professionals who are truly working as a team to support efficient, evidence-based care. We’re proud to partner with TeamHealth.” -Chris Patrick, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Baptist Memorial Hospital—Memphis


As the flagship facility of Baptist Memorial Health Care, Baptist Memorial Hospital (BMH) – Memphis had a small team of hospital medicine clinicians covering the hospital’s 500 beds. The busy facility had difficulty recruiting additional hospitalists needed to cover all shifts. This led to frequent reliance on locum tenens coverage resulting in excess cost, inconsistent performance, poor engagement and lack of alignment with hospital priorities.


BMH called on its partner, TeamHealth, for help. TeamHealth quickly assembled a dynamic leadership team consisting of a TeamHealth facility medical director (FMD) and associate medical director, vice president of operations and regional medical director (RMD). This leadership team completed TeamHealth’s national leadership training program and was supported by the TeamHealth performance improvement team.

The leadership team identified culture as the root cause of the hospital’s recruiting challenges. They worked to create a clinician-friendly environment, recruiting those who would be a good fit with the team already in place. A transparent line of communication was established with the team to ensure hospitalist frustrations were heard and addressed, program goals of the program were shared among the team and any process changes were clearly communicated. The numerous opportunities for discussion and feedback in the group’s monthly meetings as well as monthly one-on-ones with the FMD dramatically improved clinician engagement, leading to rich conversations focused on continuous performance improvement and solving the challenges or workflow issues affecting the group. This skilled leadership team’s focus on supporting the hospitalist team produced a culture of teamwork and ownership. This translated into a high retention rate with the hospitalists becoming the most effective and most successful recruiting tool for the program.


Within three years, TeamHealth grew the hospital medicine team to 18 clinicians with only one clinician leaving the practice. Use of locum tenens was eliminated. The hospitalist team had a retention rate of 100% in 2017 and 2018, and zero premium labor utilization dating back to the fourth quarter of 2015. The stability and cohesion on the clinician team contributed to greater efficiency (25% improvement in wRVU per hour), strong performance on quality metrics (the hospital exceeds readmission benchmarks), three-year program volume growth of 26% and positive relationships with the hospital’s other specialties. Instead of relying on premium labor for shift coverage, the BMH Memphis hospitalist team now provides support to other system facilities as well as new start-ups, enabling those facilities to reduce their reliance on locum tenens.

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