More hospitals bringing in freelance physicians to fill staffing gaps

Hospitals are increasingly using locum tenens to address a shortage of physicians, according to a STAT report.

Locum tenens is Latin for "to hold the place of, to substitute for." A locum tenens physician will contract to provide services rather than work in a permanent spot long term.

A 2017 survey from Staff Care, a Dallas-based locum tenens staffing agency, revealed nearly half of healthcare facility managers (47 percent) are now seeking locum tenens physicians. That's 5 percent higher than 2014. Additionally, the survey showed 94 percent of healthcare facility managers said they used locum tenens physicians sometime in the last 12 months, up 3 percent from 2014 and up 20 percent from 2012.

Staff Care notes healthcare facilities pay a rate "that can range from several hundred dollars to over $2,000, depending on the specialty" for locum tenens. The survey found 79.8 percent of healthcare facility managers said locum tenens physicians are worth the expense.

Read the full report here.



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