By Bonnie Owens, Staff Care Vice President of Client Sales
Spring break is just around the corner, and just a few
months after that, school will be out for the summer.
While this is good news for students, it can be quite stressful
for physicians who want to take time out of their busy schedules to vacation
with their families, and even more stressful for the healthcare facilities that
will need to cover those absences.
An increasing number of healthcare facilities are turning to
locum tenens providers to fill those gaps. According to Staff
Care’s 2012 Survey of Physician Staffing Trends, 75 percent of healthcare
facilities have used locum tenens physicians in the past year, and of those, 46
percent used locums providers to fill in for vacations.
Here are the top three reasons locum tenens physicians can
be an effective solution for covering vacation absences.
Your doctors need a
In the Physician’s Foundation Survey of American Physicians:
Practice Patterns and Perspectives, 24.9 percent of respondents cited
long hours and lack of personal time as the least satisfying aspect of medical
practice. Additionally, 52.8 percent said that they were at full capacity in
their practice, and 22.6 percent said they were overextended and overworked. These
physicians are facing burn out. If your physicians are burned out, your
turnover rate will reflect it. According to the Healthcare Governance Academy’s
Trustee Guidebook, to recruit a family practice physician, a hospital can
expect to spend $280,000 on items such as income guarantee or salary;
benefits/perks; recruiters; identification of candidates; interviews;
relocation; and practice marketing. When you weigh the cost of a locum tenens
provider versus the cost and time of replacing a full-time physician, the
locums option becomes more attractive.
You don’t want to
Many facilities cite cost as a deterrent to using locum
tenens. However, when you examine the cost of NOT having a doctor on staff, the
perspective changes. For example, family practice doctors generate an average
of $138,569 a month in revenue, or $34,643 per week. General surgeons produce
even more; a month without a general surgeon results in an average revenue loss
of $176,041, or $44,010 per week. (Source:
– The Growing Use of Locum Tenens Providers as a Supplement to Permanent
Medical Staff) You could very well
stand to lose more revenue from an absent physician than you would spend on a
locum tenens provider.
You want to take care
of your patients
Revenue issues aside, your ultimate mission is to provide
quality care for your patients. Your patients’ healthcare needs don’t go on
vacation with their physicians. According to Staff Care’s survey, 64 percent of
healthcare facilities cited the ability to provide continuity of care to its
patients as a top reason for using locum tenens.
If you are concerned about any of the topics mentioned above
and would like to learn how Staff Care can help you plan for vacation coverage,
please contact us today!