You know you need extra help in some areas in your facility, but you have heard one too many myths about locum tenens providers, and you almost believe them. While some facilities are reaping massive benefits from utilizing locum physicians, these myths have paralyzed other facilities.
Here are some common myths associated with locum tenens debunked.
MYTH: Staffing agencies use under-qualified or undesirable physicians
TRUTH: Locum providers are just as qualified, skilled, and passionate as their permanent counterparts.
Reputable staffing agencies like Med X thoroughly screen their locum tenens physicians to ensure they are compatible with their relevant position requirements and are committed to delivering exemplary patient care. Considering health care is a matter of life and death, locum agencies would not want their physicians to be under-qualified as that not only ruins the company’s reputation but also puts patients at risk.
Additionally, the locum tenens industry has seen tremendous growth in the past decade, making the market that much more competitive. The candidates that are chosen to work are highly qualified, highly skilled, and they know that their next assignment depends on them delivering quality care at every facility they work in.
MYTH: Locum tenens are expensive
TRUTH: While it may seem costly upfront to hire a locum provider, it is far superior than going without coverage, losing revenue, and overworking your existing staff.
Cost concerns are possibly the most common misconception surrounding locum tenens providers. While different specializations and situations will carry different costs, any reputable locum tenens organization will present an all-inclusive hourly or daily amount to you prior to the locum’s arrival at your facility.
The bottom line is adequate staffing ensures your patients receive excellent care. With locum tenens physicians, your facility can handle increased patient loads, have shorter wait times, and reduce the risk of your staff's burnout, which by extension, decreases the chance of errors. In addition, having patients stay for shorter lengths of time in your facility costs you less money.
MYTH: Locum tenens physicians are less committed to patient care
TRUTH: Locum providers are extremely committed to providing optimal patient care, and will be every bit as invested as a permanent physician.
You may feel like locums are detached because they work in a facility for only a short time, but that is far from the truth! Just like most other physicians, locum tenens physicians want to help people and are extremely committed to patient care. In fact, a major benefit to working as a locum physician is that they have fewer administrative responsibilities and can spend more time with patients.
MYTH: Insurance companies do not reimburse for services provided by locum physicians
TRUTH: You can absolutely bill for the services provided by a locum tenens physician!
Before hiring a locum physician, it is essential to check with your insurance provider on the rules governing locum physicians' reimbursement. Many insurance providers offer online guides to billing for locums, and you can always contact your representative directly for detailed instructions and any necessary clarification. It is true that a number of facilities don’t know how to bill for locum services and instead opt to leave money on the table, chalking the loss up to the cost of business. But this doesn’t have to be you!
The Bottom Line
There is a stigma surrounding locum physicians, and though 80% + of healthcare facilities report using locums each year, many still don't use them, and others use them as an absolute last resort. Fortunately, the myths surrounding locum tenens providers are just myths, and hiring locum tenens physicians can actually be beneficial for many reasons.
If any of these myths have kept you from utilizing locum tenens physicians, this may be the time to reconsider. Contact Med X to learn how to get started or visit our website to design your custom coverage.