Survey: The Use of Locum Tenens is Widespread
85% of Healthcare Facilities Used Temporary Doctors in 2019 to Address Staffing Needs
DALLAS, Texas -- The use of temporary physicians, known as
“locum tenens,” to fill staffing shortages continues to be widespread, according to a new survey from Staff Care, a
leading national physician staffing firm and a company of AMN Healthcare (NYSE:
2020 Survey of Temporary Physician
Staffing Trends indicates that 85% of hospitals, medical groups, and other healthcare
facilities used locum tenens doctors in 2019, primarily to maintain services
until permanent physicians are found and to fill gaps caused by turnover.
every hospital in the United States now uses locum tenens doctors,” said Jeff
Decker, president of Staff Care. “They have
emerged as a key part of the medical workforce in an era of physician shortages
and evolving delivery models.”
According to Decker, locum tenens physicians are filling openings that
last from a few days to over a year while healthcare facilities seek
difficult-to-find primary care physicians and specialists. They also can be used to fill-in when
healthcare facilities experience turnover on their medical staffs, an event
made more likely by the growing employment of physicians by hospitals and other
employed physician model replaces physician practice ownership, physicians have
more latitude to change jobs, according to Decker, creating more temporary
openings and hence more demand for locum tenens physicians. Employed physicians commonly enjoy a month of
vacation and continuing education time off each year, which also creates demand
for locum tenens doctors, Decker said.
rising demand as “temps”
physicians, including family physicians, general internists, and pediatricians,
are the most in-demand type of locum tenens doctors, according to the
survey. 30% of healthcare facility
managers surveyed indicated they used locum tenens primary care doctors in
2019, higher than any other type of physician. However, this is down from 44% in 2016, the last time Staff Care conducted
the use of locum tenens specialists has accelerated. For example, 21% of healthcare facilities
managers reported using locum tenens surgeons in 2019, up from 11% in 2016, 17%
reported using locum tenens internal medicine subspecialists, up from 9%, and 22%
reported using locum tenens anesthesiologists, up from 11%.
The need for
specialists is being driven by an aging population and by an aging physician workforce,
with many specialists entering retirement age. In its April 2019 report, the Association of American Colleges projected
a shortage of up to 122,000 physicians by 2032, including up to 55,000 primary
care doctors but an even larger shortage of up to 67,000 specialists.
patients need specialists to care for ailing organs and body systems,” said
Decker, “and we simply don’t have enough of them to go around.”
Each year it
conducts the survey, Staff Care estimates the number of physicians who work as
locum tenens based on the number of doctors the company places annually and its
knowledge of the locum tenens staffing industry. Staff Care estimates that approximately 52,000
physicians worked as locum tenens in 2019, or about one sixth of the active
tenens is an increasingly popular practice style among physicians because it
allows them to focus on what they like to do best, which is treat patients,
while minimizing the administrative duties they like least,” said Decker.
For complete results of Staff Care’s 2020 Survey of Temporary Physician Staffing
Trends call 800-685-2272 or visit www.staffcare.com.
Staff Care is a leading healthcare
staffing firm providing temporary physicians, advanced practitioners and
dentists to hospitals, medical groups, government facilities, and other
healthcare organizations nationwide. Staff Care is a company of AMN Healthcare (NYSE: AMN) and is the sponsor
the Country Doctor of the Year Award. For more information about AMN Healthcare, go
About AMN Healthcare
Healthcare is the leader and innovator in total talent solutions to healthcare
organizations across the nation. The Company provides access to the most
comprehensive network of quality healthcare professionals through its
innovative recruitment strategies and breadth of career opportunities. With
insights and expertise, AMN Healthcare helps providers optimize their workforce
to successfully reduce complexity, increase efficiency and improve patient
outcomes. AMN delivers managed services programs, executive search solutions,
vendor management systems, recruitment process outsourcing, predictive
modeling, mid-revenue cycle solutions, credentialing and other services.
Clients include acute-care hospitals, community health centers and clinics,
physician practice groups, retail and urgent care centers, home health
facilities, schools and many other healthcare settings. AMN Healthcare is
committed to fostering and maintaining a diverse team that reflects the
communities we serve. Our commitment to the inclusion of many different
backgrounds, experiences and perspectives enables our innovation and leadership
in the healthcare services industry.
more information about AMN Healthcare, visit www.amnhealthcare.com.