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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Healthcare Staffing: A Shortage of Talent and the Locum Tenens Solution

It was predicted with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that the healthcare staffing would see a boom in business. This has, in fact, been the case among many support roles. Nursing, administration, therapists, and other healthcare professionals are seeing more jobs available. 

What wasn't specifically expected was a shortage of physicians and nurses in this post-ACA system. 

As millions of previously uninsured Americans are now gaining access to affordable healthcare, the need for general and specialized doctors is increasing. This comes on top of a wave of retiring baby boomers that is reaching over 75 million and growing each year as Americans are living longer past retirement age than ever before. 

This has opened the door for locum tenens staffing. 

The temporary staffing of doctors is referred to as locum tenens, which comes from a Latin term meaning "to hold the place of." It most is often utilized by medical practices and hospital facilities when a regular physician is on vacation, out due to illness or parental leave, sabbatical, continuing education, or even active military duty. It can also be used when a practice is shorthanded and a vacancy needs to be filled immediate. 

Services that specialize in locum tenens staffing are responsible for all of the background and licenses checks required by state and federal law before the doctor is assigned to the facility. Like traditional temporary staffing they also manage the temporary or travel doctor's assignment, their expenses, and other necessities while they are working.  

Medical Economics predicts that locum tenens medical staffing will be at the leading edge of the solution to the physician shortage problem. Of the managers polled by the publication, 31% indicated that they plan to increase staffing due to the requirements of the ACA. 7% specifically pointed to temporary medical staff to address these issues. 

"The number of hospitals using temporary physicians rose from 22% in 2009 to 55% in 2013, according to the report. Of the 230 healthcare facilities surveyed, 90% reported using temporary physicians in the last 12 months—a 16% increase from the prior year."

To better address this shortage of physicians, locum tenens staffing companies may need to consider the effectiveness of their current workforce management systems. 
Here are some things to consider:

  1. Self-Managed Portal. Pre-screened nurses and doctors are able to manage their own profile, licenses, schedule. This can reduce the amount of support work performed by the recruiters, eliminate the need and cost for additional administrative staff, and allow the team to focus on hiring more talent at a faster pace.
  2. Private Talent Pool. Locum Tenens companies can efficiently reach out their candidates by location and skill. They can also establish a customized talent pool of qualified doctors to share with individual practices and facilities based on their typical requests.
  3. Client-Managed Jobs. The system can also allow clients to manage their own job orders so they can receive candidate information in a timely fashion and focus on getting the need filled as quickly as possible with the right doctor.
  4. Seamless Integration. Workforce management solutions can integrate with your current payroll systems, vendor management systems, and applicant tracking systems. This will make the transition seamless for the recruiters, the physicians, and the hiring managers. 

NextCrew, a workforce management solution for the new world, can provide all of these accommodations and more. Our white label platform can be customized to reflect your existing brand image and the details can be tailored to your specific business. If you're a locum tenens staffing service, contact us today to learn how we can help you!  

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