Saturday, March 9, 2013

Health Care Innovation Forum: Hospitals and Doctors Go Loco over Locum Tenens 
Afflicted with or exhibiting irrationality and mental unsoundness: brainsick, 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.

Roget’s Thesaurus

In the past it would  have been considered irrational for doctors to traipse around the country serving as temporary replacements for physician-short hospitals.  

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, 2008

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 malpractice issues.

• 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.

No comments: