Healthcare Facilities

9 reasons why you should utilize locum tenens during a crisis

Illustration of number 9 with a stethoscope

It’s never been a better time to utilize locum tenens as a low-risk path to recovery. If you are currently understaffed due to the impacts of COVID-19 or are simply eager to begin making up for lost time and revenue from procedure backlogs and delayed elective care, here are nine reasons why you should consider this option.

1. Alleviate staff burnout

Now more than ever, physicians are experiencing burnout and exhaustion, especially those providing care on the frontlines of the pandemic. The costs and effects of burnout are significant, and healthcare leaders may want to consider mitigating fallout by having adequate staffing in place. Healthcare leaders should also reengage staff by attending to their needs and expanding emotional support. Including locums into their staffing model provides the back-up support to make this possible.

2. Beat your competition to the patients

Systems that can quickly accommodate backlogged demand and avoid queued patients from defecting to competitors may be able to make up most of their losses over time. All the supply in the world will not matter if a competitor has reopened first and taken a share of the backlog.

3. Increase capacity sustainably

Systems that normally run near or at capacity for a given service should consider whether a capacity surge above normal levels could be advantageous to their recovery. Locums can help extend operating room hours or simply support existing staff with call coverage.

4. Bring in additional revenue dollars

Many healthcare facilities don’t realize that they can bill for locum tenens — even if the locum is working in addition to your existing staff. On average, daily gross charges for physician fees are 50% higher than an average daily locum rate.

5. Provide contingency in the case of breakthrough infections

While a majority of healthcare providers are vaccinated, breakthrough infections are still happening on a regular basis. Having a pool of locum tenens providers credentialed and privileged at your facility can make it possible to flex in temporary staff quickly and efficiently when your staff is out sick or self-quarantining.

6. Prepare for additional surges

It’s critical that healthcare leaders continue to adjust their staffing and preparedness to address future surges of COVID-19 variants during the winter months. While more and more people are getting vaccinated, it’s unclear how effective current vaccines will be against future variants, and experts say additional waves are likely.

7. Access out-of-state supply

It is now safer to travel, and health systems have better safety protocols in place than at the beginning of the pandemic. Licensing requirements in many states have been loosened, making it easier to quickly put locums physicians to work at your facility. If you are having difficulty finding the physicians you need locally, bringing in locum tenens from other parts of the nation can increase your ability to provide needed coverage.

8. Eliminate costs associated with permanent hires

Factoring in benefits, malpractice, sign-on bonuses and other hiring costs, locum tenens is less of an upfront investment than a permanent hire. There’s also less risk if you need to make adjustments to staffing levels based on patient demand, as there’s no need to furlough or layoff a locum tenens doctor.

9. Find a great permanent hire

24% of full-time providers have expressed interest in changing employers as a result of the pandemic. This unique climate presents a rare opportunity for your facility to find the next great permanent hire through locums-to-perm options.

Weatherby Healthcare has the physicians, PAs, and NPs you need to accelerate your COVID-19 recovery. Give us a call at 954.343.3050 to request a consultation.

About the author

Amy Coelho

Amy Coehlo has more than 10 years of combined experience in the areas of journalistic and technical writing, public relations, brand management, marketing and communications.