As the physician shortage in the United States continues to grow, many healthcare facilities are left wondering how to fill positions in order to prevent care gaps.
With a projected physician shortage of between 54,000 and 139,000 by 2033, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, healthcare facilities have to consider alternative means of caring for patients.
For many, that means utilizing locum tenens providers.
Locum tenens physicians are temporary doctors who come into a facility to cover for a vacancy, whether that’s due to physician retirement or vacation.
They offer a unique solution to the problem of the physician shortage because they can be called upon as needed and they require no long-term commitment from the facility.
In addition, locum tenens physicians often bring with them a wealth of experience from working at other facilities, which can be beneficial for the staff and patients alike.
With the number of physicians set to retire in the coming years, locum tenens providers will only become more popular as a means of filling vacancies and ensuring that patient care is not compromised.
There are many benefits to staffing locum tenens providers. According to the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO), they can yield a great return on investment (ROI).
Often, using locum tenens providers is comparable to staffing a similarly qualified full-time physician. This is because daily rates are typically similar. However, if you have a physician shortage, you could be losing thousands of dollars in revenue every day.
Patients may seek care at other facilities, or already overburdened staff will have to take on a heavier patient load. This could potentially lead to burnout, which could have consequences down the line. Therefore, using locum tenens providers can help you avoid these undesirable outcomes.
Locum tenens providers can often start working with little notice. This is beneficial if you have a last-minute vacancy.
You don’t have to go through the lengthy process of recruiting and onboarding a new hire. Instead, you can simply call a locum tenens agency, explain your needs, and they will send someone over.
This is especially helpful in small towns or rural areas, where the pool of potential candidates may be limited.
In addition, locum tenens providers can offer continuity of care. This means that if a physician leaves abruptly or unexpectedly, there is already someone in place who can pick up where they left off.
This can be vital for ensuring that patients receive the care they need and deserve.
Finally, having locum tenens providers can free up your full-time staff to focus on other important tasks. This could include working on quality improvement initiatives or taking on additional patients.
In short, locum tenens providers offer a number of advantages for healthcare facilities. They can be an invaluable asset in ensuring that patient care is not compromised by the physician shortage.
If you’re considering using locum tenens providers, be sure to partner with a reputable agency that can provide high-quality candidates. This will help you maximize the benefits of this staffing solution.