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The Great Deception in Locum Staffing

Vendor managed systems are deceiving healthcare organizations when they present their ability to deliver sustainable locum tenens coverage options.

Van Nostrand
Van Nostrand

Mar 26, 2022

It's about time hospitals and other healthcare facilities being thinking logically in their locum tenens vendor selection. The current path looms dangerous for sustainable solutions as demand continues to soar, most significantly in subspecialty medicine.

So, what's this foolish decision?

The choice to use Vender Management Systems ("VMS") in their locum tenens process.

The VMS companies sell an all-inclusive solutions to an often aggressive market of locum tenens agencies. Administrators love the fact they have a single point of contact that gives them access to hundreds of agencies without fielding a barrage of phone calls and emails. Clinical Managers are sold on the fact they will receive multiple pre-qualified candidates. Lastly, one set of terms, in one contract, is music to the ears of those in legal and accounts payable.

If only the solutions worked as perfectly as they are promised! Here's what really happens, and how it effects the future...

The VMS company uploads the coverage description and it's then sent out to every locum company. Those companies instruct their recruiters to send bulk emails and SMS messages to all physicians in their database while simultaneously calling those physicians.

Not-So-Fun Fact: The majority of locums companies have the same candidate pools, from the same pay-to-play job boards.

Due to this fact, physicians receive multiple calls regarding the coverage. This makes the  HCO in need look INCREDIBLY DESPERATE. Physicians assume the desperation means no one wants to work for the facility.

Added to this, inexperienced physician recruiters pitch a rate higher than what the physician typically earns in order to gain their interest. Physicians eat this up. They play the recruiters rates off of each other until they are sure they have driven the rate as high as possible. In the physicians eyes the HCO is incredibly desperate and it's fair to request an ultra premium rate.

I am the first to advocate for physicians to get paid appropriately. Their value is virtually unmatched in society, however it must be a gradual and controlled increase following both industry advancement and nationwide inflation. If HCO's continue to buy the pipedream, utopian, VMS BS, the rates for locum tenens coverage will be astronomical and borderline unsustainable within 5 years.

Time to start making wise decisions. Find a primary agency you like, and a back-up company you like. If the coverage you need is realistic, they'll get it done.


Van Nostrand

I've been doing this a long, long time.

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