With ongoing demand for telehealth services and a need for flexible staffing models, locum tenens can be a strategic and cost-effective way to enhance your telehealth program. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about using locum tenens providers to help staff a telehealth program.
Why should I consider using locum tenens providers to help staff my telehealth program?
Just as locum tenens providers can fill on-site staffing needs, they are also a flexible option to help cover gaps in your telehealth schedule. With a need for greater flexibility in their staffing model, many health systems no longer default to one-to-one coverage when they have open positions. Instead, many organizations are using a combination of staff physicians and locum tenens providers to fill the gaps. For telehealth coverage, locum tenens gives your organization more flexibility in terms of cost, availability, and clinical effectiveness and allows for more sophisticated staffing models when managing the physician workforce in individual units. For organizations looking to expand their telehealth program into new service lines, locum tenens providers are a way to gradually increase staffing without putting extra burden on your team.
What are the different models for staffing telehealth locum tenens providers?
Telehealth locum tenens services are as flexible as the locums themselves. You can use a telehealth locum for a full working day, by the hour, or per consult, so it’s easy to fill the gaps in your schedule. It just depends on what works best for you.
Can locum tenens providers provide both telehealth services and on-site care?
Yes! Locum tenens providers can provide both telehealth services and on-site care while on assignment at your facility. One distinct advantage of locums is they are well-situated to provide hybrid care. They have the flexibility and experience to transition easily between virtual care and on-site visits.
Do locum tenens providers have to travel to my state to provide telehealth services or can they provide them from their home location?
No, healthcare providers do not need to travel to the state where they are providing telehealth services, with a few exceptions (including Alaska and U.S. territories). However, a provider must be licensed in both the state from which they are working (the distant site) and the state in which the patient is receiving care (the originating site). For example, if a provider lives in Washington and conducts a telehealth visit with a patient in Florida, he or she must be licensed in both Washington and Florida.
Can a locum physician provide telehealth services from anywhere?
Locum providers can offer telehealth services from a distant site within the U.S. but not from international locations.
How do licensing and credentialing work for telehealth locum tenens providers?
Weatherby Healthcare handles the licensing and internal credentialing process for all our locum tenens providers, whether they work on-site or telehealth. However, because most of our locum tenens providers hold multiple state licenses and are already credentialed with many hospitals and health systems, we can often help speed up turnaround times for your in-house credentialing and privileging processes for telehealth services.
How long does it take to get a locum provider ready to work telehealth?
Licensing is typically the longest part of the process. Some states have a fast-track licensing process for telehealth, which may help to expedite the process. One of the key advantages of staffing telehealth with locums providers is that most locums are already licensed and ready to practice in multiple states. If they have worked for your organization in the past, they may already have privileges at your worksites. When a provider is already licensed in the state in which they will provide services and already credentialed and privileged with your healthcare system, they can often be ready to work telehealth in a matter of days. Training time is often shorter as well, because most locum providers are already familiar with many electronic health record (EHR) systems.
Who provides the technology/equipment for telehealth locums providers?
Weatherby Healthcare doesn’t sell or support front-end telehealth technology. Instead, our locum tenens providers use your preferred technology platform, whether it’s an in-house EHR with telehealth capabilities or a third-party technology vendor. We do assist in helping you deliver the needed equipment to the locum provider.
What specialties are available for staffing telehealth?
Weatherby Healthcare can provide locum tenens providers in nearly every specialty and profession, including advanced practice providers and allied health professionals. We have a deep pool of providers in both outpatient and inpatient specialties, ranging from urgent and primary care to neurology, cardiology, and oncology. Because many of our providers already hold multiple state licenses, we can quickly find providers to fill almost any telehealth staffing need.
How do the fees compare for a locum provider who does telehealth vs. on-site care?
Telehealth reimbursement levels can vary depending on the services provided and state and federal parity laws. Locum tenens providers who work from their home state typically work at a lower rate, because there is no travel and housing reimbursement.
How does malpractice coverage work for telehealth locum providers?
Weatherby Healthcare provides the same claims-based malpractice coverage for both on-site and telehealth locum tenens providers. However, some healthcare organizations opt to provide their own malpractice coverage for locum tenens providers who provide telehealth services for their system.
Why should I use Weatherby Healthcare to help staff my telehealth program?
Weatherby Healthcare has a sophisticated pool of highly qualified locum tenens providers who are adept at working in dynamic environments, in multiple states, and with multiple health systems. By working with our existing pool of providers, we are ideally situated to support enterprise-wide telehealth solutions.
I’m looking to expand my telehealth offering, can Weatherby Healthcare consult on developing my program?
Yes, Weatherby Healthcare works closely with our clients to help formulate a cost-effective telehealth strategy that provides the coverage you need. Because our providers are comfortable working in dynamic environments, we are platform agnostic and can work with customers to use their existing EHR or preferred tools and technology to create a manageable, efficient workflow that provides positive clinical outcomes. Weatherby Healthcare has extensive experience working with different models, technologies, and health systems, and we can offer best practices and insights to help inform your telehealth strategy.
Have additional questions about how locum tenens can help staff your telehealth program? Give us a call at 954.343.3050 to learn more.
FAQ updated June 9, 2022