Why Locum Tenens Opportunities Will Continue to Grow
The shortage of clinical providers is here. Physician, and nursing shortages, coupled with an increase in the aging Baby Boomer population, have all put unprecedented pressure on healthcare organizations trying to find top talent. That was before the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed many healthcare workers to the brink of exhaustion and beyond. The answer for these untenable situations is the same—locum tenens. Here’s why locum tenens opportunities will continue to grow in the coming months and years that lie ahead.
Why the Push for Locum Tenens?
A study published in February 2020 showed that 85% of healthcare providers in the United States report using locum tenens doctors in the last 12-months. This was for clinicians at all levels, from specialty surgeons to family practice. Not only is there a physician shortage, increases in populations with chronic disorders as well as higher volumes of aging patients, all fuel the demand for locum tenens. In addition, according to RevCycle Intelligence, 76 million Americans live in a primary care shortage area, where the need for family practice doctors is critical. But doctors aren’t the only step-in provider healthcare facilities are looking for; Health Leaders Media reports that 32% of healthcare facility managers say they’re using nurse practitioners and physician assistants in locum tenens positions.
Some of the reasons why locum tenens has grown in popularity include:
- To improve morale among staff struggling with burnout. Locum tenens brings in a fresh perspective and can lighten the workload of your existing staff. They can also come in to allow providers a vacation or time off, which will be more important after COVID-19 dies down. Your teams need a break, and locum tenens offers your team the support they need. With the current clinical shortages, it is unlikely that this need will lessen.
- To save a facility struggling with staffing issues. Some organizations face closure of critical care units because they simply cannot staff appropriately. This creates even more of a strain on care delivery in the marketplace. Instead, organizations can staff up with locum tenens to provide on-call or other services and fulfill a tremendous need in your organization.
- Improve and lessen staff burnout. Even bringing in a locum tenens doctor to handle on-call or adding a temporary locum tenens nurse to a struggling unit could tip the scales and lessen provider burnout. Don’t discount the huge impact even part-time relief help can provide.
Rising demand for care coupled with a provider shortage has created the perfect storm of need for locum tenens. Their staffing flexibility can increase care continuity in your facility while supporting the valuable members of your full-time existing staff. These are all reasons why, today, healthcare providers are increasingly leveraging locum tenens to fill critical staffing needs. With patient satisfaction scores increasingly tied to reimbursement, we’ve found locum tenens can literally pay for themselves in improved care quality as well as improved retention of your existing staff.
Organizations seeking the benefits of locum tenens should reach out to the MedSource team to begin candidate screening. We provide solutions for any size provider and can help your team meet your staffing goals.