10 reasons why you should utilize locum tenens during a crisis

Locum tenens physician in PPE during the crisis

Whether you were already understaffed before COVID-19 or are simply eager to begin making up for lost time and revenue from delayed elective care, it’s never been a better time to utilize locum tenens as a low-risk path to recovery. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should consider this option.

1. Beat your competition to the patients

Systems that can quickly accommodate backlogged demand and avoid queued patients from defecting to competitors may be able to make up most of their losses over time. All the supply in the world will not matter if a competitor has reopened first and taken a share of the backlog.

2. Increase capacity sustainably

Systems that normally run near or at capacity for a given service should consider whether a capacity surge above normal levels could be advantageous in their recovery. Locums can help extend operating room hours or simply support existing staff with call coverage.

3. Bring in additional revenue dollars

Many healthcare facilities don’t realize that they can bill for locum tenens — even if the locum is working in addition to your existing staff. On average, daily gross charges for physician fees are 59% higher than an average daily locum rate.

4. Alleviate staff burnout

Healthcare leaders should reengage staff by attending to their needs and expanding emotional support. Including locums into their staffing model provides the back-up support to make this possible.

5. Provide contingency in the case of infection of your staff

In a recent survey by CHG Healthcare, 59% of surveyed physicians, NPs, and PAs had provided care for COVID-19 patients or patients with COVID-19 symptoms who had not been tested.

6. Prepare for a second wave

It’s critical that healthcare leaders plan for this scenario. It could mirror what the U.S. saw during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009 — a first, smaller outbreak in the spring, followed by a larger wave in autumn and winter. And as states begin gradually lifting restrictions without a vaccine, experts say a second and possibly third wave of infections is likely.

7. Explore reduced rate options

Physician demand is lower allowing staffing agencies better negotiation ability and more flexible options. According to Medscape’s Physician Compensation Report 2020, average salaries for physicians are predicted to decrease as a result of the epidemic.

8. Access out-of-state supply

State licensing requirements have loosened, making it easier to put locums physicians to work at your facility quickly. All 50 states have issued waivers with some stipulations, allowing care to cross state borders more easily.

9. Eliminate costs associated with permanent hires

Factoring in benefits, malpractice, sign-on bonuses and other hiring costs, locum tenens is less of an upfront investment than a permanent hire. There’s also less risk if a second wave hits, as there’s no need to furlough a locum tenens doctor.

10. Find a great permanent hire

24% of full-time providers have expressed interest in changing employers as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. This unique climate presents a rare opportunity for your facility to find the next great permanent hire through locums-to-perm options.

Global Medical Staffing has access to over 200,000 physicians, many of whom are ready to work. Depending on the provider, we can often arrange flexible start dates and relaxed cancellation policies during this time. Call us at 1.866.858.6269 to learn more.

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