The Financial Benefits of Hiring Locum Tenens in Your Practice

Published:Mar 11, 202422:21
The Financial Benefits of Hiring Locum Tenens in Your Practice

Doctors earn nice paychecks, particularly those in certain specialties. In fact, a single doctor can bring in over $2 million in one year for a hospital. Sadly, America faces a doctor shortage today, and the problem is expected to get worse in the coming years. Hospitals and private practices must prepare for this now, as they could be facing a significant loss in revenue if they don't have replacements waiting in the wings.

Filling Open Positions

Filling an open position for a physician isn't as simple as posting a job opening. The Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment (AAPPR) conducted a study in 2021 and obtained dismal results. Today, hospitals and practices find it takes an average of seven months to fill a position for a primary care doctor. If the doctor is a specialist, the time to fill an open position increases to eight months. Not only does the hospital or practice suffer, but patients do as well. 

As this search moves forward, the healthcare organization spends money to interview, recruit, and onboard new staff members. The costs associated with doing so can reach up to $90,000. When several doctors leave a practice or hospital in a short period, the costs can be devastating to the organization's budget. There is a better way to fill these open positions. Organizations should look into locum tenens doctors. What costs come with employing these individuals? What revenue will locum tenens generate?

Maintaining Revenue Streams reports the average locum tenens physician in America makes $189,399 to $249,241 a year. Compare this to the amount of money a physician brings in for a hospital. Hiring a locum tenens is a wise move to maintain this revenue stream. These physicians may also be used to fill in for doctors when they are on vacation, taking family or medical leave, or when there is a spike in patient volume. Short-term contracts ensure the same level of patient care can be maintained without the need to hire additional providers.

Associated Costs

Hiring a locum tenens does come with costs, however.  An organization must consider not only how much it will pay the physician but how much it will spend on this doctor's malpractice insurance. It then needs to compare this number with the revenue the physician will generate during their time with the organization to get an accurate cost associated with hiring th professional. Most organizations find hiring a locum tenens will help them come out ahead when they have staffing shortages.

Physician Retention

Doctors might find they must work overtime to care for patients when an organization is dealing with staffing shortages. This overtime can lead to early burnout, less engagement, and poorer patient outcomes. Patient satisfaction might decrease. Downstream revenue falloff is less of a concern when the organization brings in locum tenens to fill staffing gaps.

Quality Assurance

Organizations don't need to vet locum tenens before employing them. This task is handled by the staffing agency, saving the organization time and money. The agency credentials these professionals and also helps healthcare organizations complete verification processes. Sharing this work means the medical professionals can be in place in less time.

One major benefit of employing locum tenens that is often overlooked is these professionals may opt to join the organization full-time. They find the practice or hospital to be a good fit and choose to give up their transitory lifestyle. The temporary assignment allows both parties to see if they are a good match before committing. Once both parties determine they work well together, the temporary arrangement can be made permanent.

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