Consilium Cares about National Health Center Week

As healthcare reform continues to evolve and change the landscape of our health care system in America, we see a growing need for the services provided by Community Health Centers. These facilities play an integral role in providing quality health care to low income and medically underserved areas.

With patient demand at an all-time high, health centers have responded accordingly by stepping up to meet the needs of more than 20 million Americans at over 8,000 delivery sites nationally. One can only imagine the many challenges health centers face as they expand the facilities and workforce necessary to serve our local communities in such high numbers!

For more than 40 years, the network of Community, Homeless, Migrant, and Public Housing Health Centers have provided quality, low-cost health care to millions of Americans regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. Reduced fee care allows many Americans access to primary and preventative care, ultimately cutting down on more costly hospital and specialty visits down the road.

For nearly 30 years, the second week of August has been officially recognized as National Health Center Week, dedicated to celebrating the service and achievements of health centers nationwide. Consilium joins the rest of the healthcare community this week to express our thanks and gratitude for the many contributions health centers have afforded our communities.

These Health Centers are founded on the basis of service and serving the health needs of their patients. Similarly, at the heart of Consilium Staffing lies our fundamental value of service. Our commitment to service means serving our clients, community, and each other – placing others’ needs above our own. Out of our passion for service, Consilium Cares was formed to provide an outlet for us to give back to our local community. Over the past year, Consilium Cares has taken on a number of volunteer activities with organizations such as Children’s Medical Center and North Texas Food Bank both located here in Dallas, as well as Mission Arlington in Arlington, TX. Consilium also specializes in partnering with health centers to help off-set workforce issues caused by the severe shortage of primary care physicians.  Many health centers rely on temporary physicians and mid-level providers to maintain continuity of patient care during peak seasons, vacancies, or periods of ongoing recruitment.

I encourage all of us to celebrate this week by acknowledging the role and importance of National Health Centers, visit a local community health center, explore the volunteer programs they may offer, and express your gratitude for keeping America healthy.

​To learn more about National Health Center Week, visit www.healthcenterweek.org

Written by Tisha Schwartz Director of Client Sales for Consilium Staffing.

“Tales from the Road” A locums journey

For the past 18 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the finest doctors that the medical field has to offer.   The stories they have shared with me about their locum tenens experience have made me laugh, made me cry and sometimes both in the same story.  One thing is for certain, when they share their experiences with me, they are sharing a piece of their lives with me and I appreciate every moment of it.

I’ve often wondered what it’s really like to step into a completely different hospital, clinic, practice, state, city or town and spend the next few weeks or months of your life there.  Some of the doctors I have worked with receive birthday cards every year from the people they have met along the way.  Some curse me and threaten to never work with me again if I even mention certain previous assignments.  OK, yes, that’s probably a little extreme, but you get the point.

What does strike my imagination is to consider the thought that perhaps the varying degrees of experiences are actually not that far apart after all.  Could it be possible that some of the locum tenens assignment “train-wrecks” were only just a couple of weeks away from becoming a really great experience, but assignment ended just a little too soon?

I think about the 1991 movie, “Doc Hollywood”.  Yes, 1991 is going way back, so here is a quick recap:  Michael J. Fox has just finished his residency program and is headed to the West Coast to join a financially lucrative practice.  Along the way, he causes a major accident with his sports car which happens to cause a lot of damage in this small rural town.  When he appears in front of the judge, he has no money to pay for any of the damages, so the judge sentences him to provide free healthcare (pro-bono) to the people in this small town.  Of course, Michael J. Fox is horrified at the thought and the townspeople are not too thrilled either.  However, after a series of events such as people trading pigs for his medical services, him learning “common-sense” medicine from the local doc, the town grows on him and he grows on the town.  In one scene, the local mechanics claim that the parts to repair his foreign sports car still haven’t come in.  The truth is that the parts came in weeks earlier; they just don’t want him to leave now.  Ultimately, Michael J. Fox decides to stay in this town after he falls in love and feels truly appreciated.  Of course, this is just Hollywood, right? That never happens in the real world of locum tenens. Or does it?

This is where your story comes in.  I want to know your story – good, bad, or otherwise.  Someone once said, “Truth is stranger than fiction….”  Send your story to me and let’s find out!

My email address is: [email protected]

I have also added a link to the Consilium Staffing webpage which is specifically formatted for you to share your story:  Tell us your Locum Tenens Story

I’m looking forward to hearing your story, thank you in advance for sharing yours with me.

Written by John Moberly Vice President and Partner for Consilium Staffing.

 

What Makes a Good Locums Company?

 

Good Locum Company

With any subjective question like this, if you ask 10 qualified people, you’ll probably get 10 relatively different, but acceptable, answers. However, if you speak to enough people, you can see a pattern forming at the surface. Certain truths or best practices work their way to the front; and you realize that a question like this really isn’t subjective at all…

As I’ve built relationships with countless clients and providers over my 7 years of locuming, I’ve asked this very question to myself and to others. I’ve asked it often. And not just to clients and providers, but many people in various roles. What follows are the 3 most common responses I’ve received over the years.

1. Communication

A good locums company communicates effectively with every single person involved. The whole is the sum of its parts, and there are many moving parts that have to all come together, sometimes in just the right order, for coverage to be secured utilizing a locums tenens provider. I can tell you from personal experience that a lack of communication from any party involved can be severely damaging. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for many of us to get caught up in the business aspect of what we do. So what’s the outcome of a breakdown in communication in the world of locums? A provider might not go to work. A facility might experience an immediate loss of revenue, and in some cases, a permanent loss due to patient migration. But beyond that, the sad and ugly truth is that in the end, the patient suffers. Not you. Not me. It is always the patient.

 2. Patient Focused

At the end of the day, everyone involved in the locums equation should have the same goal. Take care of the patient. Many times people in certain roles within a facility, and in some cases the provider too, can get too snagged on the bottom line. Unfortunately the bottom line isn’t always patient care. Getting caught up in negotiating rates and figuring out who’s going to cover travel and/or lodging costs is too easy and too common. It happens hundreds of times a day all over the country among numerous agencies. Those types of negotiations are necessary. They make sure things stay in motion. But those things are too often the entirety of the equation, instead of a function within the equation. I can tell you that the most successful and longest lived relationships between me, the facilities, and the providers have all come as a result of a patient-focused approach.

3. Solution Oriented

This one may sound like a “no-brainer” or downright common sense. But when I say solution oriented, I’m not referring to simply “filling an order”. Anyone can fill an order. It’s not difficult. I’m speaking about much more than that. You’ve probably noticed by now that there’s a common end-game in locums: patient care. Sometimes just filling an order doesn’t meet that end. Sometimes it takes a much more creative approach than either the facility or the provider expected.

In this industry, there is a solution to every problem. The best locums companies find those solutions.  Often times the solution looks nothing like what was originally “ordered”, but turns out to be exactly what the patients’ need. And after it’s all said and done, if patient care isn’t your ultimate goal… locums may not be for you.

Written by Tobey Decker, guest author for Consilium Staffing.

Road-Tested, Locums Approved: Tips For the Well-Traveled Locum Tenens Physician

Locum Tenens Travel Tips

Life for a locum tenens provider often means hours spent on the road or at the airport, but traveling to an assignment doesn’t have to be drudgery. By following a few simple tips, it can be a stress-free, and even fun, rewarding experience.

  • Communicate.  Aisle or window seat? Emergency aisle for extra legroom? First-floor hotel room? At Consilium, you will always have a dedicated Assignment Coordinator to handle all of your arrangements.  Let us know your preferences ahead of time. Ask for the name and number of your coordinator and build that relationship! We’re here to help you.
  • Members Only.  Enroll in airline frequent-flyer and hotel rewards programs, tell your travel coordinator about these reservations – the perks can add up to priority boarding, seating upgrades (Hello First Class!), baggage fee waivers, and hotel room upgrades.
  • Be prepared. By always keeping a suitcase packed with basic necessities, you’ll be ready to go on a moment’s notice. Keep a second set of toiletries, shoes, lab coat, chargers, pens and paper, etc. to stay ready for a last minute or repeat trip. When it’s time to go, grab fresh clothes, your laptop or other necessities, and you’re ready to hit the road or tarmac!
  • Avoid the rush. This may seem obvious to some, but all airlines now offer online check-in at the airline’s website 24-hours before your departure flight, and you can even print your boarding pass from home! Note your gate number and give yourself ample time to check bags and go through security.
  • When technology fails. It’s a good idea to print your flight itinerary, hotel address, and worksite contact information on old-fashioned paper in case your smart phone or GPS decides to go on vacation without you.
  • Phone a friend. Make sure you have the number for after-hours emergency travel assistance and your Account Manager’s direct cell number. Our goal is to make your travel stress-free, and while we can’t control everything, we do our best to be available 24/7 to assist you the best way possible.
  • Stock up. Ask for a room with a kitchenette or a refrigerator/microwave and hit the local grocery store after you check in to stock up on snacks, beverages, sandwich makings, cereal, etc. No need to hit the drive-through or an expensive restaurant every night. If you’re driving to the assignment, pack a lunch or an ice-chest with your favorites.
  • Local flavor. Ask around to find out where the locals eat. Chain restaurants can offer convenience and consistency, but you’ll be missing out on local culture or a great mom-and-pop experience.  Websites and smart-phone apps such as Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Local Eats are a great source for local eateries and attractions.  Also, ask the hotel for local delivery menus if you’d rather just hang out and relax at the hotel.
  • First day. Know your route to the clinic or hospital and give yourself ample time to negotiate traffic and find parking. Some cities are messier than others, so do some light research. Bring the worksite phone number in case you need a local’s directions. Know who you’ll be meeting with at the site for orientation.

At Consilium, we truly appreciate our road-warriors who leave the comfort of their homes to provide quality healthcare that might otherwise be unavailable to an under served community. If there is anything we can do to make life on the road easier, we want to hear from you!

Written by Jessica Ferguson Logistics Manager for Consilium Staffing.

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.

Why Locum?

Why We Locum

Consilium Staffing was founded by a group of individuals with decades of combined experience in the world of physician staffing. We came together with the purpose of creating a locum tenens staffing company that was more than just a job placement agency. We wanted to create a quality standard for our industry; we wanted to stand for something. Our goal was to build an organization that had more meaning and value than just our bottom line. We wanted to create a company that served as a true partner to the hospitals and clinics needing locum tenens coverage and to the physicians and mid-level providers who choose to work in a locums capacity. We wanted to make an impact in the lives of the people that we work with and beyond. We believe we accomplish that goal by creating a locum tenens staffing company that operates at the highest ethical and moral level, conducting business with true integrity and a customer-first mentality. Whether you are a clinic seeking assistance, or the locum looking for work, we treat every partner with the same grace and service as we would treat ourselves.   We believe we are here to serve; here to serve our clients, our providers, our community, and one another (our fellow Consilium teammates). This dedication and commitment to service returns tremendously rewarding results, and that motivates us further to continue to do what we do. It is the satisfaction of knowing that we helped a rural community health center keeps its doors open because we were able to find just the right physician to provide coverage when they had no one else. It is the pride we feel in helping a provider earn additional revenue by working with one of our locums, creating opportunities to help supplement his or her practice, which is reliant on Medicare and Medicaid patients alone. It is the smile of a young child at the local Children’s Hospital where our employees volunteer. It is the realization that because of our client and provider relationships, patients are being treated and hospitals are continuing to help those in need. Those are the reasons that we locum.

Why I Locum

For me, personally, the “why” has drastically changed since I first entered physician staffing more than a decade ago. In all honesty, I entered the business without any previous knowledge that such a field existed, and I did so for no reason other than that I needed a job. A good friend of mine suggested a company to me; he got me an interview, and I got the offer. At the time it was simple: I figured a job in physician staffing, whatever that was, would be much better than not having a job.   After working in the field for several years, at times struggling, and at times succeeding, I left the industry for a while thinking that my days of locums staffing were done. But I was lured back in by those who would become my fellow founders of Consilium. What lured me back was the opportunity to create a new and better locum tenens experience for the clients and physicians we would serve. It seemed to me, and to us as a group, the industry was going through a shift which created an opportunity for a company to focus more on service, building personal relationships, and adding a personal touch. We saw an opportunity to offer a small-town type of personal experience, yet offer “big city” amenities. We believe we can offer all the best that the largest, oldest, or most accomplished locum tenens companies can offer in terms of opportunities, insurance coverage, travel accommodations, pay, etc., but that we can do it without losing the personal touch of a true business relationship, making the locums experience more meaningful and more successful for everyone involved… We subscribe to the Zig Zigler school of thought: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” We here at Consilium can accomplish all our own personal goals if we help achieve the goals of others. Our focus is on those we serve, and I believe that is unique in this industry. And that is why I locum.   In summary: I locum because I believe that Consilium can make a difference.

Why do you Locum?

So you have heard a little about me, about us, about our company… What about you? Why do you do locum? What motivated you to enter the field? What keeps you engaged with locums now? Let us hear from you….Tell us why you locum today!

Matt Baade  - Executive Vice President/Partner