An article published in Medscape (Robert Lowes, dated March 2, 2015) discusses how locum tenens positions are now becoming a career path for both old and young physicians. The findings are based on a Merritt Hawkins survey, on behalf of The Physicians Foundation, that had over 20,000 respondents.
Many physicians look at private practice as being too restrictive and thus locum tenens opportunities are becoming more attractive. Interestingly enough, the percentage of physicians over 61 (typically those that would choose a locum tenens career path) who practice as locum tenens decreased to 35% in 2014 compared to 45% in 2013. Meanwhile, the percentage of clinicians that are 40 years old or younger who are “working on a substitute basis doubled during that time from 6.9% to 14%.” The more compelling trend is that 21% of all physicians took a locum tenens position straight out of residency, up from 14% in 2012. Physicians aren’t waiting until the end of their careers to consider locum tenens work as 54% entered mid-career in 2014 (compared to 33% in 2012) while those clinicians who start locum tenens work after retirement decreased to 24% in 2014 from 36% in 2012.
Another telling statistic from the study was that 16% of those respondents said that their intention was to work for 11 years or more in a locum tenens capacity indicating “that filling in is a way of life for many.” Overall, almost 7% of all physicians “view locum tenens as their full time occupation.” The flexibility of a locum tenens position is also appealing to many including female physicians who choose to work “part-time while they raise young children” and then have the option to either “take a full-time position or continue as locum tenens” as their children grow older. This trend will undoubtedly continue and is appealing to those clinicians who are “exiting the politics and business of medicine and focusing exclusively on the practice of medicine.” The article concludes with “physicians are choosing more work-life balance.”
To read the complete article, please click http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/840769 (log in may be required)
An article in the March 2015 issue of Today’s Hospitalist by Deborah Gesensway discusses whether moonlighting by full-time hospitalists at different hospital systems or hospitals is “anybody’s business but their own.” Those opposed to moonlighting hospitalists typically cite “loyalty to the employer” so that the physician’s primary program is “prioritized.” Moonlighting Solutions agrees that it is very important that the concerns of the primary employer are addressed including malpractice insurance, avoidance of working at competitive systems and scheduling to avoid fatigue.
One point of view that many systems have is that “letting- or even encouraging- hospitalists to moonlight elsewhere is good for both physicians and their home group. Both may benefit when doctors expand their skills and bring new insights back.” Moonlighting also helps to alleviate financial pressures that many physicians face, so many employers encourage the flexibility of moonlighting. Additionally, “given the continuing supply-vs-demand mismatch in hospital medicine, conventional wisdom holds that there isn’t much a group can do if doctors want to moonlight on their days off, as long as their full-time performance remains adequate.” Many feel that hospitalists are receiving so many requests to moonlight based on coverage needs that “hospitals with blanket prohibitions or broad non-competes may end up losing staff” as outside moonlighting “isn’t going away.”
Dr. Jerome Siy, who chairs the Society of Hospital Medicine’s practice management committee states that his program approves external moonlighting that is deemed a win-win for both the group and the hospitalist. These include opportunities to “broaden skills” or “give back to the community.” Open discussions are encouraged between moonlighting physicians and their health systems to make sure that “these particular hospitalists remain valuable members of the group while continuing to carry heavy moonlighting commitments.” Many programs also create “internal” moonlighting shifts to allow for moonlighting by their physicians but without leaving their program while outside moonlighting opportunities will continue to present themselves.
Accepting that there is a need for moonlighting physicians, the article states that “even when employers require doctors to get permission for external moonlighting, many never deny permissions” providing that the hospitalists understand the need to protect their primary institution via coverage and malpractice insurance. According to one source quoted, having proof of malpractice insurance is not designed “to discourage people from working externally, but to educate them about the business of medicine.” Open dialogue about the moonlighting opportunities between the hospitalist and their program is encouraged showing they have “malpractice coverage at their moonlighting site” while making sure “their home site is fully staffed” which makes good business sense for all concerned.
For the full article, click here.
Moonlighting Solutions will be exhibiting at the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Annual Meeting, HM15. HM15 is considered “the premier educational event for healthcare professionals who specialize in hospital medicine.” HM15 will be held at the the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, MD from March 29th through April 1st. The CEO, COO and Executive Vice President from Moonlighting Solutions will all be attending the conference and will be exhibiting at Booth #424.
We encourage all of our clients and moonlighters to stop by and visit us. Additionally, if your practice or hospital is recruiting physicians or is in need of call or locums coverage, please stop by to learn what kind of creative solutions we can provide. We look forward to seeing all of you at the Gaylord National.