Managed Care


Caveat Emptor For Locum Tenens

MANAGED CARE June 2012. © MediMedia USA
News & Commentary

Caveat Emptor For Locum Tenens

MANAGED CARE June 2012. ©MediMedia USA

We’ve been reporting for a long time on the physician shortage and how various stakeholders try to deal with it.

It perhaps comes as no surprise, then, that hospitals and medical groups rely increasingly on locum tenens physicians to help fill the gaps, thereby ensuring continuity of care and of revenue streams.

But what about quality?

That question was put to 106 hospital, medical group, and government health facility managers in a study by Staff Care, a physician staffing company.

“The majority (57 percent) rated locum tenens physicians’ skills as either good or excellent, down from 72 percent in 2010 ... from 66 percent in 2009 and 76 percent in 2007,” the study states. “One reason … may be the proliferation of both locum tenens physicians and locum tenens staffing firms that place physician candidates, leading to less uniform standards. The 2012 survey suggests that users of locum tenens physicians ensure the staffing firms they work with have robust quality and credentialing programs in place.”

The survey was conducted between October 2011 and February 2012 and suggests how much scrambling will need to be done as more people get insurance under the Affordable Care Act — scrambling that will include using locum tenens doctors. In fact, these temporary players seem to have carved out a permanent niche in the industry.

“In each of the last five temporary physician staffing surveys conducted by Staff Care, at least 72 percent of respondents have indicated that their facilities used locum tenens physicians sometime in the previous 12 months, suggesting that the use of locum tenens physicians has become a standard practice at the majority of health care facilities offering physician services,” the study states. In addition, 41 percent say that they are currently looking for temporary physicians. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most sought-after temp doctors are in primary care.


2014 Annual HEDIS® and Star Ratings Symposium Nashville, TN November 3–4, 2014
PCMH & Shared Savings ACO Leadership Summit Nashville, TN November 3–4, 2014
Medicare Risk Adjustment, Revenue Management, & Star Ratings Fort Lauderdale, FL November 12–14, 2014
World Orphan Drug Congress Europe 2014 Brussels, Belgium November 12–14, 2014
Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Forum Alexandria, VA November 13–14, 2014
Home Care Leadership Summit Atlanta, GA November 17–18, 2014
6th Semi-Annual Diagnostic Coverage and Reimbursement Conference Boston December 4–5, 2014
Customer Analytics & Engagement in Health Insurance Chicago December 4–5, 2014
Pharmaceutical and Biotech Clinical Quality Assurance Conference Alexandria, VA December 4–5, 2014
9th Semi-Annual Medical Device Coverage and Reimbursement Conference San Diego December 5, 2014
8th Annual Medical Device Clinical Trials Conference Chicago December 8–9, 2014
HealthIMPACT Southeast Tampa, FL January 23, 2015