Doctors in the ward
Locums News December 8, 2016

By Debra Wood, RN, contributor

Demand Grows for Locum Tenens Emergency Medicine Physicians Nationwide

America’s emergency medicine departments continue to experience tremendous volumes of patients, stretching capacity and placing demands on emergency room (ER) physicians. Management changes are also coming into play, with the upshot that many hospitals are turning to locum tenens emergency medicine physicians to fill the void.

“Emergency medicine is one of the fastest-growing specialties in terms of demand for locums jobs,” Staff Care Divisional Vice President Bob Wolf told The Locums Link Blog. Wolf noted that the number of ER locum tenens days requested by Staff Care’s clients have risen significantly in recent years. According to Staff Care's Survey of Temporary Physician Staffing Trends, 13 percent of hospitals used locum tenens physicians to fill emergency physician jobs in 2014, up from 9.7 percent in 2012

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Emergency Medicine Physicians: Greater Demand, Higher Salaries

According to the Medscape Emergency Medicine Physician Compensation Report for 2014, full-time emergency medicine physicians earn an average of $272,000 annually, showing a modest increase of less than 1 percent from 2012. Self-employed physicians earned substantially more: $305,000 annually compared to $248,000 for employed EM physicians. The highest salaries were in the South Central and Southeast regions of the U.S., at $295,000 and $293,000, respectively. The lowest-paid ER physicians were in the Northeast at $248,000 annually.

Overall, emergency medicine physician salaries range from $220,000 to $400,000, with an average of $311,000, according to the Merritt Hawkins 2014 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives. Average salaries for emergency physician jobs were up 8 percent from 2012-2013, but the highest pay rate was down from $450,000.

According to Bob Wolf, EM locum tenens emergency physicians earn hourly rates that are typically higher than on-staff physician pay, but it can be difficult to compare overall compensation based on differing benefits. (Locum physicians who work with Staff Care also receive a malpractice insurance premium, adding to the overall package of salary and benefits.)

Locum Tenens Emergency Medicine Employment Patterns

Although more than 10 million people gained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, many have continued their old patterns of seeking care in the emergency room. And because of America's ongoing physician shortage, a good share of patients (especially in rural areas) experience difficulties scheduling appointments with office-based physicians in a timely manner. As emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day, all diagnostics are done and the patient leaves with a diagnosis and treatment plan or is admitted.

On top of increased demand for locum tenens emergency physicians, Staff Care is also seeing a greater demand for EM physician assistants and nurse practitioners to staff fast-track areas where they can more quickly assess, treat and move out lower-acuity patients.

Another reason for the increased demand is America’s aging population: Older adults require more health care than younger people. They can often require emergency services, further boosting the need for locum emergency medicine physicians in hospitals nationwide.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 136.3 million emergency department visits were made in 2011, 40.2 million of them for injuries. And 73 percent of patients wait more than 15 minutes at emergency rooms, the same data indicates.

Adding emergency locum tenens physicians to a hospital staff "can help reduce wait times and see a higher volume of patients presenting to the ER,” says Bob Wolf.

“There’s a lot of movement in the emergency medicine departments,” Wolf said, noting that significant changes may mean that “there may not be enough physicians. Or some physicians may not want to make a change.”

Why Work Emergency Medicine Locum Tenens Jobs?

This boom in the demand for locum tenens emergency physicians represents a significant opportunity for physicians looking for emergency medicine assignments. Working EM locum jobs gives doctors a variety of advantages, including the chance to build great career experience working in a variety of different settings across the United States.

Staff Care offers locum EM jobs in a multitude of locations. Experienced EM physicians may opt to travel to see the country, or to transition into a full- or part-time position without the demands of committee assignments or the stress of managing a practice. Additionally, traveling offers flexibility and freedom from the pressure of daily routines. Temporary emergency medicine jobs can also help newer physicians develop their skills and competencies quickly.

“It builds their competencies and experience,” Wolf said. “They want to see a variety of environments and a variety of patients. Locum tenens can accelerate their exposure to a variety of patients and settings.”

We encourage physicians seeking emergency medicine assignments to discover great opportunities across the United States. We invite you to browse all locum emergency medicine jobs here, or contact Staff Care directly to get in touch with one of our experienced, industry-savvy recruiters — the best in the locums business!

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