Dan Bensimhon, MD, CEO of Moonlighting Solutions, was interviewed and quoted in a recently published article in ACP Hospitalist titled “Moonlighting has become an essential perk for hospitalists and a mainstay of hospital staffing strategies.” In the article, Dan describes how “working extra shifts on top of his regular schedule was grueling but necessary to make ends meet.” A recent JACC article stated that moonlighters can make up to $60,000 annually by working an additional weekly shift. Dr. Bensimhon stated that the “extra earning potential is also attractive to full-time hospitalists, especially younger physicians struggling to establish their careers and climb out of debt.” Bensimhon continued that “of the physicians employed by Moonlighting Solutions, about half are fellows while the remainder is made up of full-time hospitalists at community hospitals or academic medical centers and early career private practice doctors.”
“The availability of fellows has gone down due to Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education [ACGME] work-hour restrictions,” said Bensimhon. “Meanwhile, physicians are coming out of training with large amounts of debt, and moonlighting helps get them on track and pay off their loans.” In fact, moonlighting is a key point of discussion during job interviews, say hospital medicine directors. Hospitalists have come to view moonlighting as a basic job benefit, while hospitals count on having an internal pool of moonlighters to handle daily fluctuations in staffing.
Many hospitals and health systems are attempting to keep moonlighting “in house” for reasons such as knowing protocols, accountability and financial satisfaction but have to admit that “even with a stable pool of in-house moonlighters, however, busy hospitals sometimes struggle to fill open slots, creating a competitive market.”
“Part of the appeal of Moonlighting Solutions for hospitals is handing off issues like credentialing and insuring nonstaff physicians without using a standard locum tenens company, which typically charges more in overhead fees”, Bensimhon said. Moonlighting Solutions takes 10% to 15% of the hourly fee that clients pay to use its moonlighters while the rest goes to pay the moonlighter and cover malpractice.”
There are certainly pros and cons for hospitalists with compensation obviously being a large motivating factor. However, others reasons for moonlighting are cited in the article including that it gains a familiarity with the hospital and staff, “experiencing how other hospitals handle different issues can enhance quality improvement at your home hospital or health system”, it can be “an effective recruiting tool” and “for fellows, moonlighting can help build confidence before starting full-time staff positions.”
To read the full article, please click https://www.acphospitalist.org/archives/2015/04/moonlighting.htm