A common myth about locum tenens providers is that they are problem doctors who are unable to find work elsewhere. In fact, the opposite is true! Many locum tenens physicians are among the best in their profession and highly sought after. That said, Weatherby Healthcare goes above and beyond to ensure that we present only quality locum tenens providers for every job. Here are six steps we take to guarantee you get a high-quality provider every time.
1. We get to know our doctors really well
Well before a candidate is ever presented to you, Weatherby consultants are learning everything they can about the provider to vet them for quality.
“One of the things we do differently than other companies is we really spend a lot of time getting to know our doctors,” says Felicia Price, director of the hospitalist division at Weatherby. “We’re looking to see if this is a doctor we can work with or not. We ask a lot of questions about the experiences they’ve had, their work history, any malpractice issues they’ve had, or anything else that would preclude them from working with us.”
Consultants also dig into a provider’s motivations for wanting to do locums. “We explore other considerations that can affect the fit of an assignment — family, travel, and compensation, for example,” says Lindsay Gaughran, senior director of gastroenterology and anesthesiology at Weatherby. “It’s important to understand all of the motivators that are leading this provider to have an interest in locums.”
2. We work as a team to spot possible concerns
In addition to one-on-one conversations with providers, consultants are constantly checking in with each other to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
“There’s a lot of eyes on any particular doctor,” says Price, explaining that consultants are always discussing potential locums with their team leaders. “We’ll come back and say, ‘Did you ask this question? Did you ask that question? What about this? There’s a gap here.’”
In addition to extensive training on how to vet for quality, all consultants meet with their leaders weekly to discuss their physicians, says Jim Eulo, director of primary care and physical medicine and rehabilitation at Weatherby.
“They go over the doctors that are in their pipeline, and the details of the application to see if anything was missed. If it is, we’ll call the doctors back and the leader will listen to that consultant make the phone call and help coach them through it,” Eulo says.
3. We emphasize getting the right match
By the time a doctor is presented to a client, they’ve had on average 13 conversations with Weatherby consultants, says Gaughran. This helps ensure a good match between the provider and client so things can go as smoothly as possible, she says.
This means not only learning about the physician, but also going in-depth with the client to learn about their needs for the job. “It gives us a better opportunity to create a good match that will stick,” says Eulo. “If we just get a general job description, that’s where things can fall apart because we don’t know the nuances of that particular job. If clients will take the extra few minutes to pick up a phone and speak to the consultant, we can better ensure the quality of the match.”
At Weatherby, client-side consultants work with provider-side consultants and providers to ensure that expectations are met for all parties. “For instance, if I have a busy facility, that could be a deterrent for some doctors. I need to make sure that my client-side consultant is having that conversation with the physician and double-checking that the doctor is okay with a high patient volume,” says Eulo.
4. We follow a stringent credentialing process
All providers who work with Weatherby go through a stringent credentialing process, one that is in line with and sometimes surpasses accreditation standards, says Jill Martinez, senior director of MSS.
While other locums companies may focus more on work experience, Weatherby also evaluates a provider’s interpersonal skills, says Veronica Woodard, senior manager of MSS for Weatherby. “We take the initiative to ask those additional questions, whereas other companies or credentialing processes focus on work experience. Ours is a lot more in depth than that.”
“Not only are we asking for ratings and evaluations on their clinical skills and ability to perform specific procedures, we’ve realized that the doctor with the best bedside manner is just as important as a doctor with the best clinical skill, because billing and patient satisfaction is tied to a patient’s experience with the provider,” Woodard says.
5. We take complaints seriously
Despite Weatherby’s best efforts to match the provider and client, problems still can pop up. When a client notifies Weatherby about a problem, “we take these situations very, very seriously,” says Price.
Weatherby works closely with the facility to find out what happened. “Where are the allegations coming from? Have they brought it to the provider’s attention and tried to work through the issue? If they have, or they’re choosing not to, we ask for permission to share this feedback with the doctor, and then a decision is made based on those conversations whether or not we’re going to continue to contract with the provider,” says Woodard.
In the most serious cases, a physician may be asked to stop working immediately. If the issue is smaller, sometimes Weatherby consultants can assist by coaching the provider to make changes.
“We’ve had some clients where we’ve been able to say, ‘We can coach the provider on this. Will that work? Can we give them a little bit more time if we’re working with them?’” says Price. “And then there are other situations where it’s an automatic, ‘Please let the provider know that he cannot come to work tomorrow.’ Once that happens, we will get our QA department involved right away for guidance.”
6. We ensure problem providers don’t work with us
When a client has a negative experience with a provider, a determination is made whether or not to continue working with the provider.
“If we determine that the doctor is responsible for the problem, and it’s a problem that can’t be fixed through coaching, we will add notes in the Weatherby system about whatever is occurring and put them on a hold status,” Woodard says.
Because the quality assurance team is centralized, any hold status will be reflected throughout the CHG Healthcare system. This prevents problem providers from working locum tenens through Weatherby Healthcare’s sister companies, CompHealth and Global Medical Staffing, as well.
Depending on the severity of the problem, it may be reported even more broadly. “If our risk management team is notified of an actual complaint and an adverse outcome comes from it, we also report it to the National Practitioner Data Bank. We use those queries as a mechanism to let other hospitals and other healthcare entities know that this is a provider with quality concerns,” says Woodard.
We’re here to help
At the end of the day, everyone’s goal is a successful assignment with a quality locum tenens provider. “As we qualify our providers, we always think to ourselves, ‘Would we send one of our family members to this provider?’ We take what we do very seriously,” says Martinez. “We understand that we play a key role in providing healthcare to patients around the country, and we want to provide the best healthcare possible.”
We have quality locum tenens physicians ready to help provide coverage at your healthcare facility. Give us a call at 954.343.3050 to request a consultation.