6 Ways to Effectively Work with a Locum Tenens Recruiter

Locum tenens practitioners are in higher demand than ever. With a nationwide physician shortage, an aging population, and increased access to healthcare through the Affordable Care Act, healthcare organizations across the country are turning to locums staffing solutions. If you find yourself working with a locum tenens recruiter, we’ve got some top tips for helping that relationship to be effective for everyone involved.

1. Be Upfront

Whether you are fresh out of your residency or a seasoned professional, you are likely to have some understanding of what you are looking for in a placement and where your strengths and weaknesses are. Being upfront with your recruiter about your ideal placement, your experiences, and your utilization will help them find the best placements to suit your needs.

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Locum Tenens Physicians: How to Find Your Ideal Setting

A critical part of a physician's career is deciding on what setting they desire to practice in. There are many different factors involved in this decision, such as patient volume, location, specialty, compensation, CME opportunities and countless more, which can differ for every physician depending on what their personal and career goals are.    While this is an important decision for all physicians, it is an especially critical juncture for newly trained physicians, residents or fellows. When it comes to physicians’ lifestyles, between seeing patients and administrative duties it can be difficult to establish long term pursuits to obtain their ideal practice setting.

Additionally, once a setting is identified, finding a proper position can be a very difficult proposition.  Since there are so many factors involved, such as interviewing, travel, or relocation, it can be a burden to search for the ideal position and setting.  When a physician has not decided upon the different aspects of their ideal setting, they may consider Locum Tenens as an option.  Locum Tenens gives physicians an opportunity to not only learn about but personally experience various practice settings, allowing them the best possible chance to identify one that they love.

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Going Locum: Why More Physicians Are Making the Switch

Physicians of all ages, experience levels, and practice areas can benefit from Locum Tenens work. Now, more doctors and other medical professionals are making the switch and enjoying the numerous advantages of going Locum. Working in the medical field no longer means sacrificing work-life balance to get the career you want.

In fact, 78 percent of residents and fellows, 63 percent of solo practice physicians, 64 percent of salaried physicians, and 68 percent of retired physicians said they would consider Locum Tenens opportunities. Furthermore, up to 90 percent of healthcare organizations used Locum Tenens physicians within the last year, making it a highly demanded occupation. The reason for the interest in Locum Tenens work is due to the many benefits, including:

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Loyalty Programs: Are They The Key to Patient Retention?

Many healthcare organizations are now offering rewards and loyalty programs in an effort to retain patients. Though these programs are still in development, they have shown promise.

Approximately 10 percent of patient appointments result in no-shows. This can be a frustrating experience for healthcare organizations that depend upon health insurance reimbursements and private payers. As a result, facilities have created cancellation policies, which allow providers to charge patients who fail to show up for appointments without reasonable notice. While this has certainly deterred a large number of patients from skipping their scheduled visits, healthcare facilities are looking to do more to retain patients.

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Automation Creating Effective Contact Solutions in Healthcare

Ensuring patient satisfaction is a critical aspect of healthcare, but it is also time consuming. Automated solutions are helping physicians effectively communicate with patients.

Patient satisfaction is essential to the success of any healthcare practice. In a world where physicians experience extreme time constraints, ensuring the satisfaction of each patient can seem like an impossible task. Fortunately, healthcare companies are now creating solutions that allow practices to effectively communicate with patients without the stress of a time crunch.

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Fact or Fiction: What to Expect From a Locum Tenens Lifestyle

If you have never experienced Locum Tenens work, it may be hard for you to separate fact from fiction. Don’t let the myths about Locum Tenens keep you from enjoying its many advantages.

Locum Tenens work is a rewarding experience that provides many benefits to both medical professionals and healthcare organizations. Sometimes, however, the myths surrounding Locum Tenens dissuades physicians from participating in the work. Below you will find out the truth behind many Locum Tenens-related myths.

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Proposed Full Practice Authority Rule for NPs Meant to Increase VA Healthcare Access

The VA has proposed a new rule that would allow NPs to see patients without the oversight of a physician. If the rule is put into effect, it could increase veterans’ access to healthcare.

There is little doubt that the Department of Veterans Affairs is struggling to keep up with the healthcare demands of former military members. In fact, some veterans wait over 100 days to see a physician at a VA facility. Despite some failed attempts at ameliorating the system, the VA has now proposed a new rule that could increase veterans’ access to healthcare across the country.

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Telemedicine: The Engaging Approach to the Future of Medicine

Telemedicine connects patients with providers regardless of location. Using a variety of devices, healthcare providers can assess, diagnose, and treat patients across the nation.

The use of telemedicine is expected to grow up to 30 percent in less than a decade. Despite its seemingly impersonal nature, the popularity of telemedicine (otherwise known as telehealth) continues to increase. It offers numerous benefits, making it an exciting new approach in the future of medicine.

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Rural Physician Shortages: How Locum Tenens Can Help

Across the nation, the limited supply of physicians cannot keep up with the demand. Nowhere is this shortage more apparent than in rural areas. Fortunately, Locum Tenens can help.

The current physician shortage has negatively impacted patients’ access to quality healthcare. By 2025, it is estimated that there will be a need for up to 90,400 new doctors. Despite this growing need, the demand for physicians continues to outweigh the supply. Unfortunately, the impact of this shortage has hit rural areas the hardest.

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Learning to Work with MACRA

President Obama signed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA, into law in April, 2015. MACRA replaces the SGR (sustained growth rate) formula that regulates payments to healthcare professionals that treat patients covered by Medicare. The law reforms the reimbursement process for healthcare providers and addresses several other issues as well.

The MACRA reimbursement framework includes technical assistance for providers, data sharing, and a federal advisory group, among other measures. The system ensures quality care by basing payments on the value and effectiveness of care. Healthcare providers that meet the highest standards are rewarded for their efforts on behalf of patients.

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Transitioning to Locum Tenens Work

If pundits are to be believed, there will be an overwhelming need for qualified healthcare workers in the coming years.  With many doctors and nurses approaching the age of retirement, fewer students entering healthcare professions, and a growing number of insured individuals seeking medical services, there will soon be a shortage of professionals to care for those in need.

What does this mean for current healthcare professionals and those just entering the medical field? For one, it could mean a lot more job openings as well as alternative job types. To fill this growing need, many healthcare providers and facilities are opening up locum jobs to fill any gaps in coverage.

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3 Benefits PAs Have Over Physicians

Just like doctors, physician assistants can assess and treat patients. While PAs frequently work in collaboration with physicians, they bring many unique advantages to a practice.

In 2015, there were nearly 110,000 physician assistants employed across the country. This profession is growing in popularity, and it is estimated that the market will increase by 30% in less than a decade. These individuals can work across a range of practice areas, from family medicine and dermatology to surgery and other hospital settings. Just like doctors, PAs can use their broad spectrum of knowledge alongside a general practitioner, or they can choose to specialize in a particular area, such as women’s health, primary care, cardiology or orthopedics.

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Taxation and Locum Tenens

As a locum tenens worker, you'll find you have new responsibilities when it comes to taxation. Your status as an independent contractor, coupled with the fact that you may work in several different states over the course of a year, adds to the complexities you will face come tax time. You may be required to file in several states, and you will almost certainly face expenses that other medical employees never have to deal with.

Of course, these annual headaches are greatly outweighed by the many benefits to locum tenens work. You are likely to earn more money and gain more control over your schedule.  Additionally, you can also enjoy a variety of write-offs designed to reduce your tax burden since you're virtually acting as your own employer, to an extent.

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Learning EMR Systems as a Locum Tenens Worker

As a locum tenens worker you can expect to encounter new electronic medical records (EMR) or electronic health records (EHR) systems at every job. The can all be very different, so learning one will not always make it easier to learn the next. How can you cope with having to learn your way around new systems at every job? Is it even worth trying?

All you have to do is speak with your locum tenens network to discover that locum workers are not only making the best of the situation, but many are reaping even greater rewards in the process. Here's what you should know before you turn down the opportunities inherent to locum tenens work.

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The Pros and Cons of Locum Tenens for Physicians

Locum tenens is an exciting and rewarding experience. Latin for ‘to hold the place of’, locum tenens workers are, in effect, temporary health care providers utilized to supplement a facilities existing medical staff. When a private practice, hospital, or health care facility is in need of temporary workers, they call healthcare staffing agencies or locum tenens companies to place temporary workers. A healthcare facility may find themselves in need of a locum tenens provider if a staff doctor takes an extended vacation, is on maternity leave, is out sick, is terminated or otherwise requires addiontino providers to address growth and demand for services..

Locum tenens refers not only to physicians, but also includes nurse practitioners, physician assistants, or medical specialties. The industry was started in the early 1970’s out of a need to staff rural and medically underserved health care facilities in the Western US. Locum Tenens services has continued to advance as a necessary and accepted tool among physicians and administrators across the country to satisfy their short term and long term staffing needs. The success of the locum tenens industry is due in large part to the flexibility it provides for both physician and healthcare provider.

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NALTO Multiview Briefing #1 — Interstate Licensure Compact

NALTO Multiview Briefing #1 — Interstate Licensure Compact
Key Facts About the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

In early October, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators endorsed the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. In a letter to the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), the lawmakers stated, “As strong supporters of the state-based system of physician licensure, we believe the Compact represents a significant step forward in the licensure of physicians and we applaud the work of the FSMB and its member boards in this area.”

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NALTO February Multiview Briefing: National Relations Labor Board & 1099s

National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations, February Multiview Briefing: National Relations Labor Board & 1099s

NRLB & Locum Tenens
How a National Labor Relations Board ruling could impact locum tenens staffing companies. What “Independent Contractor” Means to the IRS A closer look at what defines an independent contractor for tax reporting purposes, and locum tenens companies.

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NALTO Multiview Briefing #4: DEA Rulings

Medications can be a critical component to treatment plans. They alleviate pain, minimize symptoms, and combat infection. However, the government has deemed it necessary to regulate these controlled substances in order to prevent illegal distribution or abusive practices. Because medications vary from mostly benign over-the-counter products to powerful narcotics, they have been divided into five Schedule categories. Schedule V drugs contain limited amounts of narcotics or stimulants—cough syrup is an example of a Schedule V controlled substance. The most powerful medications administered in medical settings, such as oxycodone and fentanyl, fall within a Schedule II classification. Schedule I substances typically have no medical applications under federal law.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, determines who is qualified to dispense regulated medications. And according to the DEA, as it
applies to practitioners, the term “dispense” means to “deliver a controlled substance to an ultimate user or research subject by, or pursuant to the lawful order of, a practitioner, including the prescribing and administering of a controlled substance.” Physicians, and where legally applicable, mid-level providers must apply for and receive registration from the DEA to legally dispense/prescribe scheduled medications to their patients.

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ROI Article - Locum Tenens: A Smart Investment

Not so many years ago, locum tenens physicians were a rare breed and demand for their services on behalf of hospitals and clinics was minimal. Times have changed. All around the country, in rural and metropolitan areas alike, physicians shortages and long recruitment cycles have become the norm. Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar to you?

For the third time in less than a month, you’ve had to close one of your hospital’s operating suites due to lack of anesthesiology coverage. The group that covers your facility has been trying to recruit new associates for some time now, but the shortage in the specialty is making it tough. They don’t want to settle for anyone less than top-notch, and you don’t want them to. But hearing about your “loyal” surgeons taking cases to the hospital across town and seeing the weariness in the eyes of the anesthesiologists you do have on staff is making you nervous. How much longer can this go on without seriously impacting revenue, not to mention your institution’s reputation as a full-service facility?

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How locum tenens physicians stay fit while traveling

As every physician knows, eating well and exercising are two key factors in preventing illness and disease and for maintaining optimal health. But as every locum tenens physician knows, making good food choices and finding time for regular workouts while on the road is no easy task. Here are practical tips for staying fit and healthy while traveling.

Study your schedule in advance. Exercise—a brisk walk, yoga class, or hardcore gym workout—is often the first thing to fall off the list when life gets busy. Before you leave for a locum tenens engagement, look at your schedule and write in your calendar times when you can commit to exercise. Suzanne Schlosberg, author of The Ultimate Workout Log andThe Ultimate Diet Log says exercising four days a week is ideal, but doing something is better than doing nothing. "If it's a short-term stay, you don't necessarily have to maintain your usual level of exercise," she notes. "It doesn't take much to maintain your fitness. If you usually exercise five or six days a week, you can stay fit with twice-a-week workouts if you keep up the intensity of your workout." Schlosberg recommends a morning workout if possible because it's so easy to tell yourself that you're too tired at the end of the day.

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