Debunking Myths Associated with Using Locum Tenens Services

facts and myths

Healthcare facilities that utilize locum tenens providers report countless benefits – everything from meeting increased patient loads, to covering for a staff physician’s vacation or parental leave, to supplementing staff while waiting for a new doctor to start.

That being said, some misconceptions have persisted over the years as to the cost-effectiveness and quality of utilizing locum tenens clinicians. While hospitals and other healthcare organizations have used locum tenens services for decades, these mistaken beliefs have likely given some administrators and other facility decision-makers pause, causing them to forego partnering with a locums staffing company or take another, possibly more expensive and less beneficial route.

The findings of a recent study will hopefully put an end to the myths associated with locum tenens practice for good. Researchers found locums hospitalists provided care that was just as safe, and discharged patients sooner and at a lower cost compared with employed hospitalists at an academic center in Ohio. These results were published online by the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

“You expect locum services to provide longer hospitalizations, increased costs, and, possibly, worse mortality and readmissions,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Mustafa Ali, in an interview in Today’s Hospitalist. “But what most people expect turns out to be the opposite.”

Here, we debunk four myths that could without reason prevent facilities – and by extension, patients – from reaping the advantages of locums.

Myth No. 1: Locum tenens is too expensive.
Truth: Financial concerns may be the most common misperception surrounding locum tenens. But, in fact, using supplemental staffing saves money in the long run. Adequate staff means more patients are seen per day, with shorter wait times, and less chance of provider burnout and subsequent errors.

“Patients treated by locums had one full day less on average in terms of length of stay, while the hospital costs for patients under locum care were 23% less that for their employed colleagues,” Dr. Mustafa Ali, who led the abovementioned research, was quoted as saying.

Myth No. 2: Using locum tenens is too complicated.
Truth: All Star makes the entire process simple and stress-free, providing our signature “Red Carpet” Service at every interaction. Specialized teams handle everything from credentialing and licensing to risk management and travel with efficiency and expertise.

Myth No. 3: Staffing agencies use subpar providers.
Truth: All Star has a vigorous screening process. We partner with skilled, qualified, passionate providers who are committed to delivering excellent patient care. Our providers are regularly requested for repeat assignments, and they receive excellent feedback.

“Locums operate in a very competitive environment where their income depends on them being called back in by hospitals for more assignments,” read another quote by Dr. Mustafa Ali. “They have to provide good care.”

Myth No. 4: Locum tenens physicians are not invested.
Truth: A major draw for locum tenens providers is that they can focus on patient care. While they do not get involved facility politics, they are 100 percent invested and focused on their patients, wherever they may be.

If any of these misconceptions have kept you from using locum tenens providers, now may be the time to reconsider. For more information, contact us today online or by calling 800-928-0229. We can help you find the perfect locum tenens or permanent providers for your facility.