All posts by Eric Sasser

Consilium Staffing promotes John Moberly to Vice President of Recruiting

Consilium Staffing, a premier locum tenens healthcare staffing firm bringing doctors and advanced practitioners to facilities nationwide, announced the promotion of John Moberly to Vice President of Recruiting. In this newly created role, Moberly will be responsible for hiring, training, and developing recruiters; and assisting with provider marketing and resource development. Moberly is a co-founder of Consilium and brings 25 years of experience to the role, including 10 years as a Vice President for the company.

“Creating this role for John is an important and exciting step for our company as we continue our growth in 2021 and beyond,” explained Matthew Baade, Executive Vice President of Consilium. “By further investing in the development of our people, we can better serve the needs of our clients and gear up for a transformative new year.”

Moberly’s past experience includes launching Med Travelers (a brand under AMN Healthcare Services, formally The MHA Group), which he grew to $41 million in nine years. He also spent six years in locum tenens recruiting at StaffCare.

Moberly has been an influential and highly effective recruiter at Consilium. He’s known for his mentorship and enthusiasm.

“John is one of the top recruiters in our industry. Those who have had the privilege of his mentorship have benefitted, and now everyone on the recruiting team will get to work directly with him,” said D. Kirk Johnson, Regional Vice President of Recruiting at Consilium. “John has an endless supply of passion for the work, and we appreciate his dedication and positive attitude.”

The Year of the Patient

In 2021, patient experience will be the hospital’s greatest competitive differentiator

From telemedicine to a blended care model, experts have predicted that 2021 is poised to be the Year of the Patient. While providing the best service possible has long been the mantra of competitive companies, patient experience is expected to be the top competitive differentiator for hospitals and facilities in the new year.

Findings from the Lumeon report, “U.S. Patient Access Leadership Research 2020/21,” spotlight the importance hospitals are placing on patient-centric experiences. The data reveals that whether care is accessed remotely or in person, the experience the patient has with the facility will be a critical business factor in the coming year.

Understanding Patient Experience

There’s a difference between patient experience and patient satisfaction. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says experience encompasses what happened with the healthcare facility, while satisfaction pertains to whether or not the expectations for the experience were met. To be a patient-centered facility, hospitals have to work to meet each patient’s expectations with across-the-board protocols that meet their needs, regardless of age, issue, and treatment. In 2021 and beyond, patients will expect this level of service.

“Patients are realizing that they have options, and they’ll ultimately make healthcare choices that align with their expectations,” explains Matthew Baade, Executive Vice President of Consilium. “They can choose face-to-face or telemedicine, urgent care or their family physician, and one hospital over another. In many ways, patients have long been poor consumers of healthcare: they went where they always went, or where their primary care provider referred them, and they paid whatever showed up on the bill. But things are definitely evolving.”

Lumeon’s report compiled responses from hospitals with more than 25,000 monthly patient appointments. While quality of care matters, respondents said the experience individuals have will be key in attracting and retaining patients, more so than providing access to new talent or services.

Streaming Workflows

The report revealed that 62% of those surveyed said they were prioritizing process improvement and streamlining workflows. Because reducing appointment wait times is a key component of positive patient experiences, automating tasks can enable staff members to better manage their responsibilities so they can attend to patients faster, the report explains. Faster wait times equate to better experiences, which can then translate into higher patient satisfactions scores.

Telemedicine

Telehealth continues to gain momentum, fueled by our growing comfort with technology and the need to remain remote during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as a growing number of patients opt for virtual care, the quest for experience excellence must also translate to the digital world, the report explains. Although 74% of report respondents said telehealth provided a good patient experience, only about 38% said they thought virtual care was equal to in-person care when it comes to patient experience.

Self Service and Virtual Care

Self-service portals are one way to boost patient access, but 41% of hospitals surveyed said that they have low patient portal adoption rates. But as consumers grow more comfortable with using online resources and virtual care, the mix of remote and in-person visits will fluctuate. In the next 12 months, survey respondents think up to 70% of visits will be in person, with up to 30% conducted via video. The report notes that insurance reimbursements will also play a role in whether patients come into the office or opt for video meetings, particularly if virtual visits are eligible for coverage.

As we move into 2021, the healthcare landscape will transform, fueled by technology and expectations. To capture market share, hospitals have to be aware of what their patients want, and deliver the right experience before, during, and after their visits.

Consilium Staffing supports Vogel Alcove by donating 858 snack bags to help feed homeless children.

The number of bags donated boldly surpassed the original fundraising goal.

Consilium Staffing, a premier locum tenens healthcare staffing firm bringing doctors and advanced practitioners to facilities nationwide, announced the overwhelming success of a recent philanthropic donation. Through Consilium Cares, the firm’s dedicated philanthropic initiative, Consilium Staffing provided 858 “Bye-Bye Bags” to Vogel Alcove, a nonprofit established to support children of Dallas-area homeless families. The bags were filled with ready-to-eat, non-perishable snacks and drinks.

“These snack sacks provide additional nutrition when the children are away from Vogel Alcove, helping to bridge the gap between meals,” explained Heather Bradford, Director of Special Events and Volunteers. “We also use Bye-Bye bags when families drop by with hungry kids, or when we know one of our families will not be receiving dinner at their shelter.”

Consilium’s original intent was to provide 100 Bye-Bye Bags, but employees exceeded expectations by donating an additional 758 additional bags filled with the requested items.

“Consilium’s employees stepped up in a phenomenal way,” said Matthew Baade, Executive Vice President of Consilium. “Not only did they donate the vital items Vogel Alcove’s children need for their health and wellness, but they also decorated and filled each bag to provide a loving personal touch.”

About Vogel Alcove 

Vogel Alcove is a nonprofit organization with the goal of helping young children overcome the lasting and traumatic effects of homelessness. It is our vision that every child in our community has a home, a self-sufficient family, and a foundation for success in school and life. Programs include Early Childhood Services, School-Age services, Mental Health Services, Health Services & Family Support. For more, visit Vogel Alcove.

The Freedom of Independent Contractors

Why a statutory definition of what it means to be a contractor is key to preserving the locum tenens industry

By Matt Baade, Executive Vice President, Consilium Staffing

Even before the term gig economy described the modern labor market, locum tenens was a highly sought-after profession. The flexible, mobile nature of locum tenens means professionals stay on an assignment for a short length of time, then move on to another one, perhaps in a different area, city, or state. This freedom to pick and choose when and where to work is a core benefit of locum tenens, and it’s the main reason why locum providers are classified as independent contractors.

As the gig economy continues to gain momentum, a growing number of employers are struggling to define the difference between full-time employees and independent contractors. This worker classification matters because it impacts overtime, pay, taxation, and more.

In response to the changing labor market, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) submitted a new proposal on September 22, 2020, to the Fair Labor Standards Act with the purpose of streamlining the criteria used to classify workers. While locum tenens providers have always been considered independent contractors, the proposed rule would invite greater interpretation on exactly what classifies an independent contractor and an employee – and it could have a potentially negative effect on locum tenens. This is precisely why entities such as the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO) are working diligently to protect the classification by pushing for legislation that statutorily defines locum tenens as independent contractors.

Right now, locum providers have the unique opportunity to participate in the process, namely by advocating for their independent contractor status – and making their voices heard.

Financial Benefits 

As an industry, locum tenens has an enormous impact on patient care. Locum professionals provide an estimated 1 million days of coverage and more than 20 million patient visits annually. The industry also plays a key role in alleviating the nation’s doctor shortage, which is expected to reach 90,000 by 2025. In addition,

over the next 10 years, the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that up to 250,000 physicians will retire. Many of these physicians would like to continue working on a part-time or temporary basis, and the locum tenens industry empowers them to remain active.

These stats are important to consider because today, 90% of facilities utilize locum providers to solve staffing shortages, realize operational efficiencies, and meet seasonal or temporary patient demand. Providers, in turn, choose locum assignments because of the freedom and autonomy.

And then there are the financial benefits.

Since locum tenens providers are considered independent contractors, the IRS defines them as self-employed business owners who report taxes through Form 1099. Because independent contractors don’t have state, federal, Social Security, or Medicare taxes automatically withheld from paychecks, they settle up with the IRS with estimated quarterly taxes. (By contrast, full-time employees file taxes through Form W-2 and have taxes taken out of every paycheck.)

As a self-employed business owner, the tax structure empowers independent contractors to write off travel, lodging, meals, and other job-related expenses. Independent contractors can also maximize their retirement savings by contributing the full amount allowed to a self-employed 401k account while also lowering their taxable income.

Autonomy Benefits 

Independent contractors also enjoy the freedom and autonomy that comes from being in control of their work schedule and income potential. Locum providers can decide where they want to work, when they want to work, and what assignments to take to fulfill their career goals. They can accept an assignment because they’re interested in a particular specialty, or turn one down if they don’t want to work in a certain setting.

From a work-life balance perspective, locum providers determine how much they want or need to work and construct their schedules around holidays, vacations, family obligations, and personal commitments. Providers can travel, take time off, or work extended contracts. In essence, the career of a locum provider is customized to his or her ambitions.

What’s Happening Now: Proposed Rule

The proposed rule from the DOL or is designed to help employers distinguish between full-time employees and independent contractors. The rule includes an “economic reality” test to help classify the worker’s status by determining if he or she is self-employed (and thus an independent contractor) or economically dependent on the employer (which would make him or her fall into the “employee” classification).

The rule also lists five factors to help employees classify workers, including the nature of the work, worker skill level, and level of worker’s economic dependence on the employer’s business. While the criteria is specific, the interpretation of the criteria is much more subjective.

How To Participate

The outcome of the proposed rule, which may come at the end of the year, will have a direct impact on the locum tenens profession, and now is the time for providers to speak out. One way to participate is by contacting lawmakers and leaders and ask them to support legislation to statutorily define locum tenens as independent contractors. (You can find contact information for your congressman/congresswoman at www.house.gov.)

A second way to participate is by making a public comment that states your support for statutorily defining locum tenens professionals as independent contractors. DOL’s proposal was published in the Federal Registeron September 26, 2020. Providers can click the green button and submit a public comment on or before October 26, 2020.

You can also read the full proposal from the Department of Labor here. Contact Consilium Staffing for more information on locum tenens opportunities

The New Urgency in Emergency Medicine

Why we must prioritize the well-being of emergency medicine providers 

Emergency care clinics and emergency rooms look quite different today when compared to just a year ago. While there’s long been a shortage of emergency medicine doctors and nurses across the U.S., and particularly in rural areas, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation, significantly stressing an already overburden system.

Today, as emergency medicine responds to the new environment, healthcare is finding ways to take care of another wave of patients — namely the providers themselves.

Stressing the System

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that emergency department visits are down nationally by 42% because of patient COVID-19 fears, there remains an overall shortage of emergency medicine providers – and the gap is growing. By 2033, the Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortfall of at least 139,000, a majority of which will be at hospitals and facilities located in rural areas. While retirement is the impetus for declining numbers, the system is being stretched even thinner by the pandemic.

As emergency rooms and clinics ramp up testing and treatment for COVID-19 patients, a growing number emergency medicine providers are leaving their positions because of burnout, depression, and mental health-related issues. Disappearing Doctors, a coalition started by FCB Health New York, estimates that three out of four doctors meet the criteria for burnout. And this year alone, 400 physicians are projected to succumb to suicide.

Source of the Struggle

According to this April 2020 article in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, physicians are battling emotional fatigue and burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues such as:

  • A lack of resources, including personal protective equipment, ventilators, and beds
  • Increased number of patients
  • Inability to socialize to blow off steam
  • Pressure to make critical decisions
  • Increased personal risk
  • Longer work hours
  • Self-isolation from family and friends; loneliness

Making a Provider-Centric Move

In response to the skyrocketing number of emergency medical providers struggling with mental health issues, the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and many others issued a joint statement explaining the importance of prioritizing provider mental health and creating an environment where struggling doctors can feel empowered to seek help without fear of losing credentials. This need is exactly why Disappearing Doctors was created. The website offers a highly responsive community where doctors can share experiences, discuss issues, and seek assistance.

When a doctor needs a break, facilities can turn to locum tenens providers to ensure the continuation of patient care. With locum tenens, facilities can properly manage their staffing needs, supporting permanent providers with the peace of mind that they aren’t abandoning their responsibilities. Locum providers benefit too, not only from the satisfaction of helping where needed, but from flexible schedules, a work-life balance they can control, and gaining valuable experience working with different colleagues and settings.

“Locum tenens providers can step in as needed, fill staffing gaps, and help ease the stress and burden physicians may feel,” explained Christian Hall, Regional Vice President of Consilium Staffing. “Locums providers offer a flexible schedule and can be on site for a day, week, month – whatever is needed. They’re available across all specialties and are ready to work immediately.”

As the pandemic continues, the importance of giving providers grace and support has never been more critical. Taking care of the caregiver is a necessity – and the only way to ensure we can triumph over COVID-19.

Learn more about how Consilium supports emergency medicine providers

Locum Providers Solve Holiday Staffing Shortages

Whether you’re a provider looking for seasonal career opportunities, or an administrator searching for a timely staffing solution, locum tenens continues to be a popular choice during the holidays.

At the heart of locum tenens is efficiency. As the holiday season approaches, locum tenens providers and the facilities that book them benefit from the flexible nature of the profession — as do the patients and communities they serve.

Facilities: Locums Brings Efficiencies 

In the last year, 90% of healthcare facilities have used a locum professional, and the trend shows no sign of stopping.

The most advantageous benefit for having locum providers is the ability for a facility to adjust its staff at a moment’s notice. This is because vetted locum providers are ready and able to step in with very little lead time, making short-term decisioning possible.

“The holidays are a crazy time for everyone especially when you are scrambling to find a healthcare provider to fill in for last minute holiday coverage,” explains Brent Burrows, Divisional Vice President and Partner, Consilium Staffing. “We’ve been very successful in securing holiday coverage for our clients to ensure their patients and communities aren’t left underserved. During the 4th quarter of 2019 Consilium Staffing saw a 23% increase in days booked for locum providers over the same time period in 2018.”

Overall, staffing efficiencies save resources by reducing redundancy, or in the case of a shortage, relieve overburdened on-staff providers. Locum providers are regularly the go-to solution for staffing gaps, and provide management with valuable expertise when permanent staff takes off for holiday vacations or personal time.

Providers: Why Locums Is the First Choice 

For providers looking for extra income, locums assignments can be a lucrative way to go. Data shows that many locum providers can make up to 50% more than permanent providers, which can be invaluable to those working to pay off student loans and medical school debt.

The flexibility locums providers enjoy refers to more than just picking when to work – it also includes where to work. Locum providers have the choice to work in a variety of practice settings, from an urban ER to a rural clinic. And depending on the assignment, locum providers may also be able to experience an array of different specialties, giving them access to new and different colleagues, patient groups, and knowledge sharing.

Providers also choose a career in locums because there are significantly fewer administrative burdens. Most required paperwork is handled by the employer, and each assignment comes with defined roles, pay, and expectations. This clarity helps the locum provider do the job with precision so they can meet expected outcomes.

Tip: Get Started Now 

Locum providers and assignments will be popular over the holidays, which is why Burrows advises getting started now. “Many healthcare providers are actively looking to work additional time over the holidays,” he says, “and they often book well in advance.”

A people-centric healthcare staffing firm like Consilium Staffing can help you get the licensing and credentialing processes moving, and set you on the path for true success with locum tenens.

Contact Consilium today for more information about locum tenens placements.

Great Minds: The Rising Demand for Psychiatrists

Medical providers are the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the media focus has largely been on those helping patients overcome the physical symptoms of the disease, psychiatrists are also rolling up their sleeves, helping patients find their way to mental wellness.

With an estimated 46 million adults in the U.S. battling mental illness, psychiatrists have long been in demand, and experts predict a shortage of 15,600 professionals by 2025. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the situation, casting a spotlight the necessity of hiring locum tenens providers to fulfill patient need.

COVID Creates Complex Issues

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new set of complications that prove to have a dramatic impact on mental health. Issues related to loss of income, isolation, loneliness, depression, job stress, anxiety, and fear of getting sick can be devastating. Approximately 53% of adults who participated in a Kaiser Family Foundation Tracking Poll in July said that stress and worry about the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health. As a result, many of these individuals reported issues ranging from difficulty sleeping to alcohol and drug abuse.

With more people in need of treatment from mental illness, the more desperate the shortage of psychiatrists has become. Issues like long appointment wait times and shorter sessions are a detriment to patients, and increased workload leads to provider burnout. As a result, not only are psychiatrists necessary to augment existing staff, but now even more are required to give full-time providers a much-needed break.

Crossing Rural Roads

While psychiatrists are in short supply around the nation, the gap is even greater in rural and underserved areas. For these patients, barriers to healthcare include the inability to find transportation, long distances from homes to providers, and lack of medical insurance. Locum tenens positions empower providers to go to far-reaching communities, bringing relief to those who would otherwise not receive treatment.

The Cure for Provider Shortages
Around the nation, 96% of counties have a shortage of psychiatrists. Locums providers can be the solution to filling the shortfall. Across clinical settings and states, locums providers are comfortable stepping in for a specified timeframe, and then moving on when the assignment concludes.

Amy Gentile, Divisional Vice President and Partner, Behavioral Health, for Consilium Staffing,  said locum tenens psychiatrists can be a smart, sustainable solution for adequately staffing facilities that face a provider shortage.

“Before starting in the locum tenens industry, I worked as a Master Level Therapist with clients who suffered from both substance abuse and mental health diagnoses.  I saw firsthand the importance the role of psychiatry plays in the quality of life for so many individuals,” Gentile explained. “Having a career in locum tenens has offered a unique vehicle to continue my passion for impacting patients’ lives by providing access to psychiatric care.”

As the pandemic carries on, the need for psychiatric care continues to climb. Locums providers can be the voice on the line bringing expertise to hospitals and facilities – and offering treatment and comfort to the patients they serve.

Learn how Consilium Staffing can assist with your locum tenens healthcare staffing needs