What Kind of Locum Doctor Are You?

What Kind of Locum Doctor Are You?

We don’t mean to pigeonhole locums physicians into any one role, but there are some truisms – not stereotypes – about the medical industry. Maybe you relate to one of these characteristic doctors we’ve seen through the years.

The Resident

This provider is fresh out of residency and looking for a good fit.  They are ambitious, so in some cases accepting a permanent position can be a lot like diving into a murky lake. This practitioner chooses to test the waters before he or she accepts a permanent position, using locums as a way to experience different practice settings and/or geographic areas before making a long-term commitment.  With the locum tenens agency picking up the tab for medical malpractice insurance, travel costs, rental car, and lodging accommodations, the recent residency-graduate uses locums as a way to focus on safely starting a career (and starting to repay student loans).

The Semi-Retiree

When a provider decides that it is time to slow down the practice, the workload decreases. However, the desire to heal tends to linger. The Semi-Retiree accepts locum tenens positions to earning additional income, keep their mind and skills sharp, and to continue to do what he/she loves to do most: heal their patients. When physicians are in greater demand, the semi-retired physician finds that he/she is still in high demand and can dictate a work schedule that allows flexibility to balance the joys of retirement with the fulfillment of continuing to serve patients.

The “Site-Seer”

This physician fuses work and play in his or her life. The ability to travel and experience new places is very important to this provider. Balancing hobbies, climate, family, friends, holidays, vacations and many other reasons justify this provider’s reason to offer help in new places.  This is a true win-win for the physician who can find this blissful balance.

The Entrepreneur

This physician has his or her sights on ramping up a private practice or LLC.  Building a private practice takes time and capital.  As the practice expands, the physician engages with locum tenens work in order to supplement assets while the private practice grows.

The MVP (Most Valuable Physician)

This Most Valuable Physician desires to serve a rural or underserved areas starving for physician resources.  He or she chooses to work with a remote facility or in some cases multiple facilities at once, to assist in meeting the desperate healthcare needs of the area. Often times this provider becomes well-known and is highly valued in the community which depends on his or her presence. This provider is less concerned about area amenities and is more focused on going to areas where he/she can make the biggest impact.

The “Willing to Lend a Hand” Physician

This locum tenens physician, who we like to think of as a Samaritan, provides assistance during times when there are not enough hands on deck to deliver efficient patient care.   This is the very definition of the locum tenens physician.  One who assumes his or her post “in place of” another physician whose absence could affect patient care.

So what kind of physician are you? Perhaps you fall into more than one of these categories. Perhaps you fall into a category all your own. Tell us more about why you locum.

No matter what type of locum doctor you consider yourself to be, Consilium Staffing has opportunities to fit your needs and help you achieve your locum goals. Click here to find out more about Consilium, or call us at 877-536-4696.

Written by Byron Talley Recruiting Consultant for Consilium Staffing.

Three Rules for an Effective Locum Tenens Placement

The business of locum tenens is extremely fast-paced and there are always at least three parties involved: the physician, the healthcare facility, and the locum tenens staffing agency connecting the two other entities. With so many parties involved and such high stakes (patient care, provider income, facility revenue, etc.), we have developed the following Top Three Rules for An Effective Locum Tenens Placement:

  1. Communicate
  2. Communicate
  3. Communicate

Seem redundant? That’s the point. Communication is a prolonged, ongoing thing. Obviously we’ve only made one rule here, but it bears repeating three times because it is that important. Nearly all complications in the locums world could be resolved (or lessened to a large degree) through prompt and effective communication.
In our many years of locums experience, we have seen all kinds of scenarios where a locums placement falls apart: a facility hires a permanent candidate and no longer needs a locum tenens provider, a locums provider’s situation changes such that he/she is no longer available for a locums placement he/she committed to, and countless other scenarios that have resulted in the premature end of a work relationship. Things happen, circumstances change, complications arise…but in the end, if there is no communication, there is no change in practice, no problem solved, no challenge or obstacle overcome.

Locum tenens agencies bear the same responsibility to communicate with all parties. I have often heard stories of providers being left in the dark to wonder what happened to an opportunity that fell apart. Locum tenens staffing companies must communicate with all parties, physicians and facility representatives especially, to ensure that everyone involved is operating with all of the information at all times.

By communicating together we work better together. We accomplish greater things and ensure a greater, positive locum tenens experience for everyone involved.

Written by Sheri Ossorio Director of Account Management  for Consilium Staffing.

Proposed Bill Aimed at Easing Physician Shortage

 

For some time now we have heard about the current physician shortage and the impending acceleration of that shortage with the implementation of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The PPACA is a House bill introduced by Representative Arron Schock (R-Ill.) and Allyson Schwartz (D-PA.), intended to increase the number of residency positions by 15,000 over a five-year period.

 

In a recent article, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) quoted AAMC president and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, saying, “We have been expressing concern for some time about the inadequate number of doctor training positions because of federal caps imposed in in 1997.”

 

Dr. Krich was referring, in part, to the cap on federally supported residency training programs that was implemented 15 years ago. The limit on the number of training programs resulted in a limit to the number of residency slots available for medical school graduates. The aftermath is a limit to the number of U.S. residency-trained physicians entering the work force; a problem that is exacerbated by an ageing population, more physicians retiring, and more patients with increasing medical issues. Take these factors and add a need for several thousand additional physicians, plus the PPACA, and you have yourself a massive physician shortage.

 

While the proposed bill will certainly not flood the healthcare market with thousands of new physicians overnight, it is a step in the right direction toward addressing the shortage, which the AAMC projects could result in a physician deficit as large as 90,000 by 2020. The proposed bill, known as the “Training Tomorrow’s Doctor’s Today Act” would add 15,000 new residency positions over five years, which once up and running, would result in a large continuous flow of new physicians into the healthcare system.

 

Matt Baade  - Executive Vice President/Partner

Locums and Healthcare

No matter what kind, or how you cook them, I will never be a fan of vegetables. However, this does not mean that I haven’t realized it would be in my best interest to eat them anyway. Shown to prevent illness, and considered to be the most health-promoting food group on the planet, I have forced myself to deal with the unpleasant tastes and textures of vegetables in order to do what’s best for my health in the long run. Would America be better off if we stopped eating vegetables? No. We don’t eat enough vegetables now.

The healthcare industry needs its vegetables. It needs Locum Tenens.

Our healthcare scene is changing rapidly. No matter your political preference or current health status, this is something we can all agree on. The healthcare process that your parents or grandparents grew up with is already completely different than what we experience now, and it will be completely different than what our kids and grandkids will experience in the generations to come. There are too many ‘X’ factors within our current healthcare model that keep us from accurately predicting exactly what our future system will look like. Modest changes to things like billing reimbursement, insurance coverage plans, and the funding of Medicare and Medicaid, could all make drastic waves in the healthcare pool further down the line, or sooner than we expect.

There are very few constants in healthcare, but one we can always count on is the growing shortage of available physicians; a problem that will only get worse once roughly 40 million new patients are added to the equation under the government’s new Affordable Care Act.  Supply simply isn’t able to keep up with demand, and considering that it takes 7+ years to develop a well-trained physician, it might seem like finding an immediate solution is unrealistic. Right now, Locum Tenens coverage is the only chance we have to reduce this shortage. Providing the ability to immediately place quality physicians into areas where coverage is scarce makes Locum Tenens a very viable option for all medical-based facilities. Hospitals, clinics, community health centers, and correctional facilities alike can all benefit from using a Locum Tenens provider to alleviate their gaps in coverage, and allow them time to plan and implement a quality solution for the long term.

The go-to reason – or excuse – for avoiding locum tenens coverage is the premium cost of bringing in a short-term provider. Facilities and clinics will place Locum Tenens on the back burner while they continue to search for a more cost-effective solution. The reality, however, is the opportunity costs that are lost by not providing immediate coverage far outweigh the costs to bring in a temporary provider, so the damage that you’re trying to avoid is actually happening in real time. The longer you wait to implement a plan, the more damage your clinics and patients suffer. Patients will go elsewhere, and that’s revenue that cannot be recovered. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that it would benefit all parties to bring in a Locum Tenens provider? Patients are treated, revenue streams stay constant, and providers are able to earn additional income to help alleviate the burdens of medical school loans. That’s a win-win-win situation, if you ask me.

Let’s look at this another way: if the pipes in your bathroom were to burst, pushing a constant stream of water onto the floor and causing damage by the minute, would you sit by idly and wait for the plumber to arrive? What if he can’t make it for a few days? Do you simply allow water to run rampant all over your house until then? Of course not.  Instead, you will look for a quick fix until a professional can arrive to provide a permanent solution.  Why should healthcare be looked at any differently? That water all over your floor is lost revenue from patients going to another clinic to be treated, and it’s difficult to gain that patient back once they’ve left. Locum Tenens places a band-aid over that break in the pipes, allowing you time to find the most qualified provider for your clinics while still allowing the facilities to continue operating effectively.

So instead of watching the healthcare industry panic over the looming concerns ahead, let’s work together to provide immediate relief and allow more time to look for a long term solution.

Eat your vegetables, America.

Written by Landon Webb, Director of Account Management  for Consilium Staffing.