Care Innovation Forum: Hospitals and Doctors Go Loco over Locum Tenens
Afflicted with or exhibiting irrationality and mental
crazy, daft, demented, disordered, distraught, dotty, insane, lunatic, mad, maniac, maniacal, mentally ill, moonstruck, off, touched, unbalanced, unsound, wrong. Informal: bonkers, cracked, daffy, gaga, loony. Slang bananas, batty, buggy, cuckoo, fruity, nuts, nutty, screwy, wacky. Idioms: around the bend, crazy as a
loon, mad as a hatter, not all there, nutty as a fruitcake, off, out of one's
head, off one's rocker, of unsound mind, out of one's mind, sick in the head,
stark mad, ravings, insane.
In the past it would have been considered irrational for doctors to
traipse around the country serving as temporary replacements for
No longer. Now, with physician shortages (1 or 10 hospitals
report vacancies in their medical staffs), and with physician surveys
indicating widespread dissatisfactions with traditional practices, locum tenens practices has become a growth
industry. With nursing shortages, locum tenens nurses has also become popular among
hospitals and nurses.
Going loco over locum tenens is a loco way of expressing this widespread growth of temporary physician and
nurse staffing of hospitals and some large physician groups. Locum tenens, after all, is a perfect rational, national, and
innovative way of solving staffing problems
and appealing to doctors and nurses in search of adventure, income, and a yen to see how the health
system works in the rest of the country.
I have explained what is going on
out there in the world of locum tenens
in two previous bleog posts.
November 29, 2009 - Book Review -
Have Stethoscope, Will Travel
Staff Care’s Guide to Locum Tenens, by Tomothy Boes, Aaron Ray
and Phillip Miller, Practice Support Resources, Inc, www.Practice Support, com,
This little book is a book reviewer’s dream.
• It is short, 108 pages.
• It is authoritative. Its authors are executives in Staff Care, the largest
locum tenens staffing firm in the United States.
• It addresses a growing and large locum tenens physician market- $2.1 billion
spent in 2009 with 37,000 physicians placed.
• It graphically tells why the market is growing – physician shortages and
doctors’ unhappiness in traditional practices.
• It specifies what specialists are in demand primary care 43%, anesthesiology
29%, behaviorial health 16%, radiology 11%, surgery 8%. Fenistry 3%.
• It places doctors who choose primary care into five categories: alternatives
(those escaping from troubles and pressures of traditional practices), sunset
seekers (experienced doctors who want to cap their careers), test drivers
(young doctors who want to see what’s out there), transitionals (mid-career
doctors looking for the next step), moonlighter (those seeking extra income).
• It tells of the benefits of locum tenens (freedom 31%, no politics 19%, travel
18%, pay rate 15%, professional development 9%, a way to find a permanent job
7%), and the drawbacks (away from home 31%, uncertainties 25%, lack of benefits
17%, quality of assignments 13%, other 2%).
• It answers a variety of questions that invariably arise in the prospective
locum tenens physicians mind.
• It devotes chapters to the licensing process, hospital privileges, and
• It describes why the doctor shortage and the demand for doctors is growing –
aging baby boomers, shrinking supply, exploding population, shortfalls in rural
America, technology changes requiring more doctors, feminization of medicine,
with women doctors working shorter hours, younger doctors seeking shorter hours
and more balanced lifestyles.
• It outlines the 2009 trends in locum recruiting – more primary care doctors,
surgeons, and behavior specialists.
• On top of all this, the book is well-written, pithy, with ample charts and
survey results, with catchy chapter titlesl and appropriate opening quotes.
• It is grounded in reality. It explains what is transpiring on the ground in
American medicine without editorializing, pontificating, or posturing. This is
real world stuff.
• Recommended for all of you interested in what is happening in American medicine
and what is causing doctors to act the way they do.
May 17, 2012: A Survey of Locum Tenens Physicians
There is probably no single health care firm and no single
individual who knows more about the supply, demand, shortages, and situations
of physicians than the staff of Staff Care, AMN Healthcare, Inc, and their VP
of communications, Phillip Miller.
AMN Healthcare is the largest health care staffing firm in the
United States, has done countless surveys of doctors and other health care
professionals, and has recruited thousands of physicians for hospitals,
physician groups, and government entities. With the Physicians Foundation, It
is now engaged in an e-survey of 650,000 U.S. physicians, the largest of its
kind ever conducted.
AMN Healthcare have just completed a survey that polled hospital
and medical group managers about use of temporary physicians (locum tenens).
Most of those surveyed (75%) said they had used locums in the past year, and
41% said they were currently looking for temporary physicians.
Sean Ebner, president of Staff Care, commented, “There are
simply too few physicians to fill all the available vacancies. Temporary
physicians are providing critical, intensive patient care for many health care
faciltiies until they can the find the full-time physicians they need.”
Most in demand are family physicians, general internists,
psychiatrists, and behavioral health specialists. Of those facilities
requesting help, 20% are seeking primary care physicians, 19% behavioral
specialists, 16% anesthesia providers, 10% hospitalists, and 8% surgeons. The
number of physicians trained in the US has been flat for 20 years as the
population has aged and grown by 50 million people.
In a poll of locum tenens physicians, 97% said patients accepted
them, 84% of physician colleagues welcomed them, and 81% found temporary
practice satisfying or more satisfying than permanent practice. For a
comprehensive analysis of locum tenens practices, read Have Stethoscope,
Will Travel(Physician Practice Resources, 2009)
Tweet: In a survey by AMN
Healthcare just completed of hospital and medical group managers, 75% said they
had used locum tenens physicians in the last year.
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