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Do Locum Tenens Physicians Fit Your Strategic Plan?

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, May 16, 2011

Working as a locum tenens can help these younger physicians narrow down the parameters of what they are looking for before they join a hospital. "By working with a hospital first as a locum tenens, both the hospital and the physicians can decide if it’s a good fit. In the long run, that helps the hospital with physician retention," he says.

(2)     The middle-age physicians: This group consists of physicians who have practiced medicine for a while. They have settled in at a facility, but they may feel the practice or position didn’t turn out the way they had hoped.

"There are also a number of physicians in these middle years that want to pursue alternative careers, such as painting or playing music, but they want to have the stability of an income," he explains. These physicians may want to work part-time, which can fill in service line gaps at a hospital or they can cover time off when employed physicians go on vacation.

(3)     The older physician: This group may have already retired but want to return to work. They are usually empty-nesters who may also want to travel, or relocate to an area where their children now live. "This is the group we like because they have the art of medicine down and they understand how different systems work—that’s beneficial to a hospital," he says.

Q: Using locum tenens is expensive, although vacancies in staff may dictate the necessity to use them. Are they worth it?

A: "What an institution ultimately wants is full-time staff that can provide quality care to the community. It isn’t often you see locum tenens being used to provide services over a long time," Kolff explains.

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