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Locum Tenens Costs

How Locum Tenens Physicians Maintain Revenue as Well as Continuity

Many healthcare facilities have found that locum tenens physicians provide a good short-term solution for absent doctors, whether they are on vacation or have left the facility and coverage is needed until a new physician is found.

Although most agree locum tenens is a good way to cover physician absences, some bristle when they learn the cost.

However, if the price tag is putting you off of locum tenens providers, here’s something to consider: a physician vacancy will probably cost you more than a locum tenens replacement.

It all comes down to the revenue that each physician on your staff creates for your hospital. According to Merritt Hawkins’ 2013 Physician Inpatient/Outpatient Revenue Survey, one family physician will generate more than $5,000 worth of revenue each day for his or her hospital. For certain specialties, that figure can go as high as $10,000 plus.

According survey data, here is a breakdown of daily revenue generated by some popular specialties:

  • Family Practitioner: $5,134 per day
  • General Surgery: $7,752 per day
  • Internal Medicine: $7,679 per day
  • Orthopedic Surgery: $11,181 per day

Based on this data, if your orthopedic surgeon goes on vacation for a week, that’s more than $78,000 in lost revenue for your facility. Any way you slice it, hiring a locum tenens orthopedic surgeon would be less costly.

Although our healthcare system is transitioning to a payment system based on quality outcomes and other value metrics, a March 2013 Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) study indicates that the vast majority of payments (89.1 percent) are still based on the traditional fee-for-service model. So, for now, volume of services still drives payment, and that volume continues to be driven by physicians.

If you’re saying “no” to locum tenens clinicians based solely on cost, please contact us at 800-685-2272. One of our team members can provide a full cost/benefit analysis to help you decide if locum tenens providers make sense for your facility.

You can download a full, complimentary copy of the Merritt Hawkins 2013 Physician Inpatient/Outpatient Revenue Survey here.

Bonnie Owens is Staff Care's Vice President of Client Sales.



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