Top Reasons for Growth of Locum Tenens Staffing
More than 90% of the U.S. healthcare industry now uses locum tenens physicians in their medical facilities. As we honor those doctors during the first-ever National Locum Tenens Week, here are the top three reasons for the growth of locum tenens staffing.
America’s Uninsured at an All-Time Low: The number of Americans without health insurance is at its lowest point in decades, dropping to near single digits according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. With a larger portion of our population able to gain access to insurance, medical facilities are feeling the pinch on a system of delivery already stressed to the max from a labor perspective.
Answer to the US Physician Shortage: That brings us to our next point. It’s now been exactly 20 years since Congress passed the 1997 Balanced Budget Act, effectively capping the output of new doctors by federally funded residency programs. Regardless of the influx of insured individuals among our population, the number of physicians to care for them has remained largely finite. We have built more medical schools, incorporated more collaboration in settings that allow for advanced practitioners, and we continue to see efforts to combat this issue at the state level as well. However, the overall fact remains that we still suffer from an overall shortage of physicians, and locum tenens staffing continues to be the predominant solution to fill the gap.
More Doctors Are Choosing to Practice Locum Tenens: As more Americans opt for the flexible lifestyle that comes with working in a contract capacity, medicine’s contingent workforce is no different. Practicing locum tenens offers today’s providers freedom in choosing their schedule, the ability to travel, work in different settings, and minimize the bureaucracy faced by their full-time peers. In addition, as reports of burnout rise and consequently the concerns over the mental health of our physician population, many doctors are finding that locums offers more peace of mind as well.
National Locum Tenens Week is an opportunity for us to honor doctors dedicated to providing care across our communities. Thanks to those in the locum tenens staffing industry, those physicians will continue to have a growing impact on delivering healthcare for years to come.
Mike Gianas (Redemption Creative LLC) is a Dallas, Texas-based healthcare marketing consultant for the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO).