Saturday, January 17, 2009

Doctor shortage, physician shortage. locum tenens - Cut and Run: Temporary General Surgeons in Demand

According to the American College of Surgeons, the number of general surgeons has declined 25% in the last 25 years.

This fact has fostered a booming demand for travelling temporary surgeons. These surgeons criss-cross the country in response to requests by community hospitals for surgical coverage. Community hospitals require a general surgeon to provide such basic services as appendectomies, gall bladder removal, gastric hemorrhage control, bowel obstructions, gangrenous limb amputation, trauma repairs, and the list goes on., a hospital staffing agency, says its revenues have doubled to $2.1 billion over the last 5 years. The agency reports that 1 in 20 of America’s 17,000 general surgeons is on the road these days. Some surgeons say the can make as much as twice as much as locums as they can in private practice, and the business hassles and malpractice worries are much less.

Temporary surgeons are not an ideal fix for the general surgical shortage. Follow up care is sketchy, and continuity of care is less than ideal. And for hospitals, already stretched thin by declining Medicare revenues and mounting debts from covering the uninsured and the underinsured, a temporary surgeon may cost $1500 a day.

No comments: