Hawaii is paradise.
Millions flock there every year for its sandy beaches, lush forests, and breathtaking mountain vistas. Hawaii offers the freedom and flexibility to choose between the beach, mountains and everything in between. Travelers work hard for their vacation dollars, and Hawaii offers one of the biggest pay-offs.
Physicians working locum tenens assignments are also looking for paradise; assignments that offer freedom, flexibility and competitive pay. For locum tenens hospitalists, this paradise is increasingly being found in the Midwest.
Anticipated changes in health care reimbursement have resulted in hospitals hiring their own physicians to bolster their employment program. They are increasing their own in-house physician staff while using outside groups to satisfy patient volume fluctuations or to meet special challenges. This increase in demand, coupled with ideal working conditions in the Midwest, has made assignments there preferred among hospitalists.
Compared to other regions, physician’s compensation is highest in the Midwest. A greater demand for services means hospitals are willing to pay more for those services; knowing the increase in revenue those doctors bring to the hospital outweighs any increase in costs.
Brian Ishmael, Regional Vice President at Staff Care, says demand is being driven by a greater number of hospitalist positions in the Midwest compared to other regions. “Hospital systems in the Midwest were early adopters of the hospitalist model. As a result, demand has outpaced supply and hospitalists are in a position to demand a higher pay rate.” Hospitalists who place a premium on salary will find the highest rates in the Midwest.
Why Do Physicians Work Locum Tenens? Freedom and Flexibility
Freedom and flexibility are the primary reasons physicians choose locum tenens work. When deciding on their next assignment, these values are given a high priority. Again, due in large part to demand, hospitalists are finding assignments in the Midwest offer the greatest amount of freedom and flexibility. Assignment length, location setting and new clinical opportunities are important factors physicians weigh when choosing their next assignment.
Doctors want the freedom to choose how long they will work. Some want to fill short periods in between a regular practice business, while others want long term assignments for greater stability. While some physicians feel more comfortable in rural settings, others are happiest in larger cities. Many doctors also seek out opportunities to learn new specialty areas and expand their medical training.
Dr. Syed Saghir has worked locum tenens for several years and confirms the benefits of the Midwest assignments: “There are lots of good opportunities for working and travel is not difficult. Having more opportunities for different hospitalist assignments allows me to keep up my skills in general medicine, while also expanding my knowledge through working specialist assignments. The Midwest also has very friendly people who treat everyone with respect.”
Freedom, flexibility, and a big pay-off are values we seek when vacationing, making Hawaii a preferred vacation destination. For hospitalists, the Midwest offers the same values with strong compensation, as well as diverse opportunities in location setting, length, and medical opportunity. While most of us dream of sitting on white sandy beaches with tiki drinks in hand, locum tenens hospitalists are dreaming of the Midwest.
Bob Wolf is Divisional Vice President of Staff Care.