6 Compelling Reasons to Utilize Locum Tenens at Your Facility

Every healthcare provider desires efficiency in their operations and effectiveness in serving patients, but change and uncertainty are standard operating conditions in the healthcare industry. When healthcare employers face temporary staffing shortages due to emergencies such as illness or death, maternity leave, military deployment, etc., many turn to locum tenens physicians to fill the gaps in the schedule until permanent staff is able to return or be hired. Locum tenens are a surefire way of maintaining continuity of your operations and ensuring your facility's smooth running.

But locum tenens physicians are more than just bodies to fill the schedule! Read on to see six of the many ways that bringing on a locum can benefit your facility.

1. They Let You Find the Best Permanent Hire

When building a successful team, personal chemistry matters! Even highly skilled, extensively trained personnel can bring unpleasant attitudes to the workplace. If a candidate shines on paper but doesn’t work well with existing staff, it can cause long-term problems, so you don’t want to rush the process.
On average, it can take from six months to over a year to recruit a physician depending on specialty and location, and another 6-12 months for the physician to obtain licensure, relocate, and be ready to start working. If you have a physician retiring or leaving and don’t have ample time to recruit someone new, it’s not ideal to let your existing staff pick up all the slack in the meantime, as you run the risk of overwhelming your physicians and burning them out. With locums, you can “test-drive” physicians until you find your perfect match.

2. They Help Spread Out the Workload

Speaking of burnout, locums physicians can help with that as well. In times of crisis, such as when a physician passes away or has to leave unexpectedly, the remaining staff can easily feel overworked as they carry the extra workload.
An overwhelmed team gradually experiences compassion fatigue and disengages, which negatively affects your facility's performance. Rather than rushing the recruitment process and potentially hiring a physician that may not be a good fit, consider supplementing the schedule with locums. They can fill the gaps which will spread the workload so that you can focus on finding the best match for your facility while keeping your existing staff from getting burned out.

3. They Provide Access to Hard-to-Find Specialties

The growing physician shortage has made it increasingly difficult to staff many vital specialties such as radiologists, anesthesiologists, and pediatric subspecialties. Rural areas are being hit the hardest; according to an article published by PatientEngagementHit.com, breast cancer patients in rural areas travel an average of 40.8 miles to their radiation treatment, compared to only 15.4 miles traveled on average for patients in urban areas.
With the Association of America Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicting a shortage of between 38,000 and 124,000 physicians by 2034, it’s fair to assume that most healthcare organizations will find themselves hunting for hard-to-find roles at some point. Whether you’re in a rural area, urban area, or somewhere in between, locum tenens can help you stay competitive and give your patients access to the quality care they deserve, right in their own community.

5. They Increase Revenue

On that same note, if patients must be referred to alternative healthcare facilities because the specialized care they require isn’t available at your facility, revenue suffers. Locum tenens providers can bring new skills that allow you to serve your patients’ needs better, while also saving you the hassle and expense of hiring new employees or training existing staff members on a service you may not continue to offer.

6. They Eliminate Costs Associated With Permanent Hires

One of the most common myths surrounding locum tenens is that they are more expensive than hiring a permanent physician. But in reality, locum tenens physicians are an excellent cost-saving alternative to hiring permanent physicians. When you factor in benefits, malpractice coverage, sign-on bonuses, and the myriad of other hiring-related costs associated with permanent hires, locum tenens are actually less of an upfront investment.

Locum Tenens: The Solution You’ve Been Looking For

85% of healthcare facilities report using locum tenens physicians in the past year, and for good reason as you can see! You can utilize locums to improve your facility's performance, empower your team, or help your hiring manager get the best match for the facility. Contact Med X to learn more about locum tenens coverage and its benefits to your facility and for your immediate or upcoming locum coverage needs.