Why Hire Locum Tenens for Your Rural Healthcare Facility
Staffing a healthcare facility with highly skilled medical providers is critical to its success. For hiring managers or medical directors who work in rural healthcare facilities, sometimes finding the right medical providers to fit into your facility and the community can be difficult. That’s why you should choose to hire locum tenens for your rural healthcare facility.
Locum tenens medical providers come with certain distinct benefits, especially in rural settings. Here’s why.
Locum Tenens Create Continuity of Care for Patients
Continuity of care for your patients is important whether you work at a small healthcare facility or a large healthcare consortium. Continuity of care can improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. When healthcare providers take a vacation, resign, or when patient volume increases, having another healthcare provider to take their place or lighten their workload can help to keep your medical facility running smoothly.
This is especially true in a rural setting, where you may only have one or a few healthcare providers on staff. Some of the healthcare facilities we work with only staff locum tenens healthcare providers who are solo capable because the communities they serve are so small. In these types of locations, it’s imperative that the community has a healthcare provider available to help, especially if emergency situations arise.
With locum tenens, you get the benefit of an experienced healthcare provider temporarily taking the place of an existing provider or filling in an opening you may otherwise have a hard time filling.
By hiring locum tenens, you often have a larger pool of talent to pick from because they temporarily fill positions. In rural locations, this can be appealing to medical providers who still wish to have a permanent residence in an urban area, but also enjoy practicing more meaningful medicine in rural locations.
At WMS, we specialize in staffing rural and remote locations with excellent medical providers. Learn more and fill out a staffing request form here.
Locum Tenens Helps to Combat Provider Burnout
Healthcare provider burnout is no secret to anyone in the healthcare industry. Healthcare professionals can get burnt out for a variety of reasons including patient load, bureaucracy, lack of autonomy, hectic work environments, and poor work/life balance. For many healthcare facilities, burnout is the number one reason they decide to hire locum tenens.
According to a report from Dovepress, burnout can cause, “lower patient satisfaction, impaired quality of care, even up to medical errors, potentially ending up in malpractice suits with substantial costs for caregivers and hospitals.”
Since many rural healthcare facilities require emergency medicine providers, burnout can be especially prevalent. In rural locations, burnout can happen due to isolation, as well, which is one reason many rural healthcare facilities often staff locum tenens medical providers.
Giving full-time providers a welcome break in rural healthcare facilities with locum tenens helps providers manage stress and combat many of the reasons they face burnout.
Hiring Locum Tenens Closes Gaps in Provider Coverage
Locum tenens providers give healthcare facilities more flexibility with their provider coverage. Some healthcare facilities use locum tenens to fill in temporarily for a permanent provider who will be away from the facility. Others rotate locum tenens providers into their overall staffing mix with permanent providers. By rotating the providers, there aren’t gaps in provider coverage and the locum tenens can cover the full-time workload of a permanent provider.
Locum tenens can also fill in the gap for the weekend, on-call shifts, and holidays. For healthcare facilities that staff permanent providers, this allows those medical practitioners an often needed, consistent break and a more manageable lifestyle. When the permanent providers are working, they can perform higher-quality healthcare because locum tenens are helping to fill in while they are not on a shift.
This type of scheduling can be a win for the locum tenens, as well. Locum tenens go into the position knowing when they will need to work and what their responsibilities will be once they arrive. If they have agreed to take on-call or holiday shifts, they may be anticipating making more pay for these types of shifts, which can be a great incentive to staff the locum tenens. Additionally, patients won’t lose care and permanent providers will enjoy a better work/life balance due to the locum tenens stepping in.
Hiring Locum Tenens Saves Healthcare Facilities Money
In rural healthcare missed shifts can be a big deal. Since rural facilities are smaller in size than their urban counterparts, the staff size is also smaller. If a medical provider is out sick, on vacation, or unable to cover shifts for certain parts of the day, this can be a burden for the community and healthcare facility.
For the healthcare facility, missed shifts equal missed revenue. When providers can’t see patients, they cannot bill for medical services. This means no or lower-income is coming into the medical facility during these downtimes, depending on the additional medical services your facility may offer, such as labs. Staffing locum tenens helps to eliminate this downtime, so your facility can continue to treat patients and bill for those services.
In addition, compared to hiring a full-time permanent provider, with locum tenens, you don’t need to pay for relocation fees, workplace insurance, or other expenses that come with an on-staff employee. Since locum tenens are 1099 contractors at your facility, they are responsible for their insurance. If your facility works with a locum staffing agency, like Wilderness Medical Staffing, we’ll also facilitate “A+” medical malpractice insurance for any medical provider who we staff at your facility.
Locum Tenens Lets You Try New Employees Before Hiring
Sometimes, medical facilities like to trial locum tenens before hiring for permanent positions. Often, these are locum to permanent positions, so the medical provider goes into the position knowing that they may eventually be hired for a permanent role.
In other situations, the facility is intentionally staffing a locum tenens provider, who ends up being a great fit for the facility and a prospective candidate to convert to an on-staff team member. In these instances, facilities will typically buy out the staffing agency’s contract for the healthcare provider.
For rare occurrences that a locum tenens provider isn’t a good fit at your medical facility, it’s often easier to get a different provider to take over the role than it is to fill a permanent position. Especially when working with a staffing agency, like WMS, we handle the heavy lifting of working with the providers to become licensed and credentialed for the specific assignments our clients need to be staffed. We also hold preliminary interviews with the candidates to find the best fit for your team.
In comparison, it’s typically more difficult to hire a permanent provider in a rural location, so if it doesn’t work out, it can be even more costly to your organization. It can also cause more disruption for patient care for your community. Utilizing locum tenens can be a great way to ensure you’re choosing the best permanent provider for the role.
Staffing locum tenens for your rural healthcare facility can be a convenient and effective solution for your healthcare staffing needs. We’re here to help you through every step of the process.