10 reasons why you should utilize locum tenens during a crisis

Locum tenens physician in PPE during the crisis

It’s never been a better time to utilize locum tenens as a low-risk path to recovery. If you are currently understaffed due to the impacts of COVID-19 or are simply eager to begin making up for lost time and revenue from procedure backlogs and delayed elective care, here are 10 reasons why you should consider this option.

1. Alleviate staff burnout

Now more than ever, physicians are experiencing burnout and exhaustion, especially those providing care on the frontlines of the pandemic. The costs and effects of burnout are significant, and healthcare leaders may want to consider mitigating fallout by having adequate staffing in place. Healthcare leaders should also 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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 50% higher than an average daily locum rate.

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

Anxiety levels are up as infection rates from COVID-19 increase around the country. The chances of exposure are higher, as are providers’ concerns about exposing themselves and their families.

6. Prepare for additional surges

It’s critical that healthcare leaders continue to adjust their staffing and preparedness to address COVID-19 surges throughout the winter months. States could see a sustained increase in infection rates. While a vaccine is coming, distribution plans and adoption rates remain unclear and uncertain, and experts say additional waves are 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

It is now safer to travel, and systems have better safety protocols in place than just a few months ago. State licensing requirements have also loosened, making it easier to quickly put locums physicians to work at your facility. 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.