The Booming Locum Tenens Industry

The Booming Locum Tenens Industry

Healthcare Blog
For decades, health care organizations have relied on locum tenens physicians and medical professionals to satisfy staffing shortages.  In more recent years, as the physician shortage has worsened, this reliance on temporary replacements has become a common practice throughout the industry.  More physicians are also using locum tenens assignments as a portal into the industry, a way to explore professional options, and a means to taper off responsibilities at the end of a long career. In 2016, almost 48,000 physicians took on locum tenens assignments.  This is a substantial increase from the 44,000 in 2014, and 26,000 in 2002, suggesting that more medical professionals view temporary placements as a normal part of the health care landscape. The widespread utilization of temporary professionals by provider organizations has also nurtured this acceptance.…
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The Shortage of Anesthesiologists is Quickly Approaching a Crisis

The Shortage of Anesthesiologists is Quickly Approaching a Crisis

Healthcare Blog
Much of the public and, of course, the medical community are aware that the physician shortage is worsening, but within the ongoing shortage is a brewing crisis that even many medical professionals and administrators may not recognize.  This crisis centers on the dwindling number of anesthesia providers that has been exacerbated by many internal industry factors like high retirement numbers as well as external circumstances including a rapidly aging population and the recent travel ban. Many providers are aware of the chronic shortage of anesthesia providers.  There are currently about 30,000 anesthesiologists practicing in the United States, down from 35,000 in 2011. There was an estimated shortage of 3,800 anesthesiologists in 2011, and trends suggest that this shortage will only grow in the coming years.  By 2020, the shortage of anesthesiologists is expected…
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As Demands Skyrocket Hospitalists Turn to Locum Tenens

As Demands Skyrocket Hospitalists Turn to Locum Tenens

Healthcare Blog
It is a wonderful time to be a hospitalist. MGMA DataDive Provider Compensation reports that the median compensation for the 44,000 hospitalists working in 2016 was $278,471 annually. Hospitalists also saw an 18.78 percent increase in compensation since 2011, one of the highest increases in pay of all specialties. This trend will likely continue as the industry moves toward value-based payments because hospitalists have a proven ability to curtail hospital re-admissions. This meteoric rise in pay has a lot to do with skyrocketing demand. This demand is rooted in the amount of time and money a hospitalist can save a provider group.  These hospital-based physicians oversee patients at the hospital, saving other physicians a time-consuming trip. Their specialized knowledge of in-patient care also optimizes resource application and improves patient outcomes. This ability to stretch…
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California Could Adopt a Single Payer System for Healthcare

California Could Adopt a Single Payer System for Healthcare

Healthcare Blog
For many years, one of the leading and most divisive political issues has been health care. Almost everyone agrees that the American health care system is too overpriced with far too little efficacy.  While various reform efforts like the Affordable Care Act have had middling results, some governing entities like the state of California are considering a single payer system to rein in costs and grant coverage to all state residents. California attempted to pass a single payer bill in the legislature in 2006 and 2008, but the bills were vetoed by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who argued that “socialized medicine” was not the solution. Much of the public used this designation to infer that the government would take over provider organizations, when in actuality, the proposed system would merely…
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How the Travel Ban Could Adversely Affect Health Care

How the Travel Ban Could Adversely Affect Health Care

Healthcare Blog
President Donald Trump has made immigration reform a priority for his administration, issuing two executive orders that restricted travel from several predominantly Muslim nations in the first few weeks of his new presidency.  Although the first travel ban was struck down for being too broad, a reworked ban targets immigration from Syria, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia (Iraq had been on the prior order). The more recent ban stalls refugee entry for 120 days and suspends entry from the stipulated countries for 90 days. The latest order is currently under judicial review. Trump has said that immigrants from these nations are more likely to have terrorist ties and pose a threat to national security. Although his national security concerns do have some merit, these new restrictions are having a deleterious effect…
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Republican Effort to Repeal the Affordable Care Act Faces Enormous Challenges

Republican Effort to Repeal the Affordable Care Act Faces Enormous Challenges

Healthcare Blog
For years, the Republican party has promised to abolish the Affordable Care Act, and with the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency, the moment appeared to have arrived. However, the GOP—which now controls the executive branch as well as both legislative houses—is having difficulty creating a legislative package that appeals to the entire party. The first GOP bill, the American Health Care Act, was authored by House Speaker Paul Ryan and appears to be a divisive proposal that many conservatives are unwilling to support. The American Health Care Act was introduced on March 6, 2017 and replaces government subsidies under ACA with tax credits. It would retain the health insurance marketplaces and allow children to remain on their parents’ plans until age 26. While it would also bar insurers…
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Physician Shortage and Impact on the Physician Staffing Industry

Physician Shortage and Impact on the Physician Staffing Industry

Healthcare Blog
As a result of health care reforms and systemic changes within the health care sector, the physician shortage has become a crisis. The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that there will be a shortage of 14,900 to 35,600 primary care physicians and 37,400 to 60,300 specialty physicians by 2025. However, many of the issues that are fueling this shortage, including rising number of retirements, professional burnout and increasing administrative requirements are being exacerbated by a new issue—President Donald Trump’s travel ban. With almost a quarter of physicians in the U.S. foreign born, the travel ban not only prevents qualified medical professionals from entering the U.S., it has also had a chilling effect on medical school student applications from predominantly Muslim countries. Many of the physicians and students from these nations are…
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The Forgotten Middle Class in Health Care

The Forgotten Middle Class in Health Care

Healthcare Blog
Of the three economic classes in America, the middle class is having the most difficult time paying for health care.  While the wealthy possess the resources to obtain medical care independently, and the poor are qualifying for government assistance through programs like Medicaid and Obamacare, the financial burden has grown for those American households caught in between.  The Brookings Institute found that middle income families now spend 8.9 percent of their annual income on health care, up from 5.9 percent in 1984.  Much of this is related to employer health plans that are shunting a greater financial responsibility onto workers. On average, working Americans pay about $440 a month for full family coverage, while their employer pays about $1,075 per month. Since 2010, the average deductible has risen 67 percent,…
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Americans Disheartened by Changes in U.S. Healthcare System

Americans Disheartened by Changes in U.S. Healthcare System

Healthcare Blog
Americans Disheartened by Changes in U.S. Healthcare System Despite the many purported triumphs of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a large portion of the U.S. populace believes that their healthcare is decidedly worse following these major health reforms.  ACA, more popularly known as Obamacare, was intended to improve quality of care, expand access and curtail rampant cost increases, but few people feel it has achieved these goals.  A new poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians found that only 15 percent of respondents feel that healthcare has improved.  More than 50 percent felt that there was no change in the quality of care, while 30 percent actually believe that care quality has dropped in the past year. Although the Obama administration has constantly repeated that almost 20 million more…
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Employers Seek Ways to Control Rising Health Care Costs

Employers Seek Ways to Control Rising Health Care Costs

Healthcare Blog
In 2016, health care costs were expected to grow 6.5 percent, far more than inflation. While not as great as in some years, this burgeoning financial responsibility has much of the business community vigorously searching for solutions to keep health care costs in check. While many employers are utilizing tactics like higher deductible plans or increased co-payments, some companies are investing in strategies that cut costs at the source. According to consulting firm Willis Towers Watson, almost 45 percent of employers with a thousand or more employees are granting employees access to health care centers of excellence (COEs), organizations that have high care quality ratings. This is a marked increase from the previous year when only 37 percent of large companies utilized COEs. In the same survey, an additional 32 percent of…
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