How Locum Tenens Providers Can Boost Facilities

The disinclination some healthcare facilities have towards taking advantage of locum tenens services is simply:

“We don’t use locum tenens providers.”

When a healthcare facility is moving forward and running smoothly, the decision to not utilize locum tenens services is understandable — if the facility is generating revenue and has committed permanent providers, why should they seek out locum tenens services?

While locum tenens providers are commonly hired to supplement coverage due to temporary absence or permanent departure of long-term providers, there are a variety of additional reasons for healthcare facilities to hire a locum tenens provider — even if they don’t necessarily need to.

Locum tenens providers can help a facility build its patient volume.

Patient volume directly affects the amount of revenue a facility generates. If patients aren’t coming into a facility, the facility isn’t making any money. If patients are leaving a facility — whether a result of overall dissatisfaction, lengthy wait times, a lack of services offered or otherwise — a facility is losing money.

Hiring a locum tenens provider can help a facility grow. If a permanent provider is unable to accept new patients, a locum tenens provider can allow more patients to be seen — especially if a facility is tight on the funds and resources required to hire a long-term provider.

Locum tenens providers can prevent a facility’s permanent providers from burning out.

While working as a healthcare provider can be rewarding, the work can also be stressful, exhausting, and overwhelming. Particularly for physicians, experiencing feelings of burnout is extremely common.

When a permanent provider resigns or retires, a substantial burden can fall on the rest of the team. In a long-term provider’s absence, the workload, patient volume, and availability of every other provider at the facility are affected.

In such instances, hiring a locum tenens provider can keep a facility’s patients happy and prevent its permanent providers from being overworked. The more providers there are available, the less overwhelmed they’ll be.

Hiring locum tenens providers can be more cost-efficient than hiring permanent providers.

A facility typically does not offer locum tenens providers the same benefits a permanent provider would receive — this can save facilities tens of thousands of dollars per year.

Locum tenens providers can help maintain a facility’s trauma status.

When other providers are unavailable to be on call, locum tenens providers can offer the crucial trauma coverage healthcare facilities need. Because that often necessitates providing weeknight and weekend coverage, locum tenens providers are the ideal candidates.

Locum tenens providers have flexible schedules that can be adjusted depending on the time and place they’re needed. In fact, many locum tenens providers prefer working weeknights or weekends, especially if they’ve chosen to work locum tenens as a source of supplemental income — it’s not uncommon for locum tenens providers to maintain a permanent, full-time position alongside their locum tenens assignments.

Hiring locum tenens providers can reduce a facility’s readmission rates.

When a facility is adequately staffed, readmission rates can plummet. When ample personnel is available, a facility can afford to make those crucial follow-up calls and appointments to check in on patients and their recovery.

Locum tenens providers can offer support during peak seasons.

Many healthcare facilities experience a spike in patient volume during specific spans of time throughout the year. The winter season can bring in an increase of patients displaying flu-like symptoms, and the summer months can bring in a high number of patients with heat-related conditions or injuries caused by outdoor recreation.

Because these busy stints are short-lived, hiring another permanent provider is typically unnecessary. Based on a facility’s patient volume trends, periodically enlisting the assistance of a locum tenens provider to meet the appropriate demand can make peak seasons feel more manageable. Plus, having more staff available will prevent extended wait times for patients, keeping them from seeking medical assistance elsewhere.

Locum tenens providers can offer coverage while permanent providers take advantage of opportunities.

Part of working as a licensed healthcare provider includes staying up-to-date on the latest medical technologies, continuing medical education, enhancing medical training, attending relevant conferences and conventions, and maintaining licenses. Because taking advantage of these opportunities can require a few days away from work, bringing in locum tenens providers as stand-ins can allow a facility’s staff to have those career-enriching experiences.

Locum tenens providers can be used to test new services — and they can be tested as potential permanent hires.

Perhaps a facility’s trends and demographics demonstrate that offering a new service may benefit the health and experience of the community it serves, that there are areas in the facility that need improvement, or that patients are frequently coming in with symptoms the staff simply isn’t equipped to treat — locum tenens providers can help. By utilizing locum tenens providers to explore new possibilities, a facility can experiment with new changes without the hassle and expense of bringing on long-term staff members — especially for a change that may not be around for long.

A locum tenens position can often serve as a “working interview” for the facility in need. If the work produced by the provider aligns with the facility’s expectations, and the provider is interested in making a permanent commitment, that facility benefits both short-term and long-term.

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