With the national shortage of physicians, healthcare organizations across the country are scrambling to keep up with growing patient demand. At the same time, physician turnover appears to be on the rise, due to a number of factors, including new job opportunities, changes to the U.S. healthcare structure and the wave of retiring Boomer-generation doctors.
One effective solution is engaging locum tenens physicians on a temporary basis to increase service capacity or fill gaps in coverage. Demand for locum tenens physicians – as well as physician assistants and nurses – is particularly high at the primary care level. The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) has already removed some of the major barriers to health insurance for individuals and families, stimulating demand for pediatric and primary care services, as well as specialty care services to a lesser degree.
For hospitals, health systems and large group practices, hiring locum tenens physicians provides an immediate solution to serving a growing volume of patients. It allows healthcare organizations to continue to provide high-quality service while searching for the right doctor to add to the medical staff or replace a departing physician.
In today’s changing climate, locum tenens physicians can also play a key role as healthcare organizations transition from a fee-for-service model to a salaried model for medical professionals. They can fill in for departing physicians unwilling to make the change and help to maintain the organization’s service level.
Many healthcare professionals are also interested in locum tenens positions as they consider how best to fit into the changing landscape. For physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, locum tenens assignments offer flexibility, giving them options to pursue different opportunities in the future. Locum tenens engagements can also provide opportunities to practice skills in a new clinical setting and serve a different patient population. Many locum tenens physicians also enjoy a change of pace in their lifestyle, such as spending a month or two in a vacation-oriented community.
Other advantages include flexibility in scheduling. That might mean working a new shift, taking a temporary assignment for several weeks or moving to a new location for several months or longer. A locum tenens assignment can also help professionals find a healthy balance between work and family responsibilities.
If you are interested in considering locum tenens opportunities as an organization or an individual, All Medical Personnel can provide knowledgeable advice on potential options and help you make a good decision.