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Make locum tenens a permanent contingency expense in your pay plan

Today’s physician juggles high malpractice insurance rates, decreased Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, and a host of managed-care issues. Toss in a nationwide doctor shortage and surging patient demand, and it’s not surprising that the use of locum tenens, or temporary doctors, is on the rise. The use of locum tenens, a Latin term meaning "to stand in the place of," started 20 years ago with a government grant aimed at offsetting severe physician shortages in rural areas. As physician shortages spread through every specialty and region, the industry flourished. As of 2004, spending on temporary physician services approached $3 billion nationwide, according to the Staff Care, Inc., Growing Number of Physicians Working as 'Temps’ analysis, released in 2005.