Reclaiming Medicine: The Locum Story of Hospitalist Dr. Brandt

In the Interim: Healthcare Leaders Lean on Locums; New Physician Tax Implications; Proposed Telehealth Waiver Extension & More

“In the Interim” is a snapshot of the latest and most relevant news in the locum tenens industry. No repeats, less scrolling, more knowledge. Check out the articles we found most interesting for August’s roundup.

1. House Passes Bill Extending Telehealth Waivers Through 2024

At the end of July, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4040, the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act. Next, the bill goes before the Senate.

When public health emergency (PHE) began, several telehealth policies under Medicare were implemented to broaden access to care. These policies included removing geographic restrictions and expanding originating sites; allowing for an expanded group of clinicians to bill for services; permitting mental health services via telehealth for up to six months without an in-person appointment; and allowing telehealth services without video. The COVID-19 flexibilities are set to end 151 days after the end of the PHE. However, since these flexibilities have expanded access to mental health services and improved continuity of care, H.R. 4040 aims to continue their benefits long into the future.

(Healthcare Finance, July 28, 2022)

2. Tax Increases Coming? What Physicians Need to Know About the Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act (passed on Sunday, August 7) includes tax code reform, climate change prevention, healthcare cost reduction. It comes with an estimated $740 billion increase in taxes to both support the bill’s goals and reduce the overall budget deficit. How do the numbers impact physicians? Primarily, tax increases for those who earn over $400,000 and tax credits for energy efficient upgrades. What should you do? Review highlights of the bill and talk to your financial advisor/CPA to understand the implications on your income and strategize ways to reduce your taxes.

(Medical Economics, August 03, 2022)

3. HHS Investing $60M to Boost Rural Healthcare Workforce

Rural communities simultaneously make up about 14% of the American population and account for almost 75% of the primary health care shortage in the country. To combat these wildly disproportionate percentages, the Department of Health and Human Services is investing $60 million in a variety of programs and organizations to expand healthcare capacity, increase residency program recruitment, and improve overall health outcomes.

(Healthcare Dive, August 9, 2022)

4. How Telemedicine Can Leverage the Shrinking Number of Physicians

Unfortunately, we’re all too aware of the physician shortage and the insurmountable burnout plaguing medical professionals. COVID-19 exacerbated this reality. Although telehealth was widely implemented as a necessary means to see patients during the pandemic, experts claim that the technology could be instrumental in assuaging burnout—for good. This Q&A delves into the resources and support necessary to leverage telehealth as a solution without unintentionally creating a secondary “burnout cycle.”

(HealthcareITNews, August 15, 2022)

5. Financial Survival for Physicians in Private Medical Practice

A whopping 98% of physicians and medical students never receive business education during their studies. Despite that fact, private medical practice (preferred by 30-50% of graduating medical students) relies on knowledge of business and marketing. This article lists 15 reasons why a more well-rounded education would set physicians up for financial success and a plethora of additional career opportunities.

(KevinMD, August 16, 2022)

6. Strengthening Primary Care: HHS Asks for Ideas, Commonwealth Fund Answers

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) sought suggestions on the HHS Initiative to Strengthen Primary Health Care, an initiative to improve health equity and improve health outcomes by creating a federal foundation for primary health care. The Commonwealth Fund research and advocacy group suggested three strategies across the next few years: increase financial support of primary care; shift to hybrid or capitated payment approaches; and integrate primary care with behavioral health, social services, and public health.

(Medical Economics, August 18, 2022)

7. Locum Tenens Physicians Help Hospitals Address Staffing Shortages

About 90% of healthcare administrators report utilizing locum tenens physicians to alleviate staffing shortages. While many respondents reported leaning on temporary physicians for several years, nearly a quarter just began employing locum tenens staff within the past two years—the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare leaders overwhelmingly praised locums docs for increasing access to care, filling vacant positions, and increasing staffing flexibility. And nearly 60% of those who did not report utilizing locum tenens cited that they would consider using them in the future.

(Revcycle Intelligence, August 19, 2022)

8. Best Hospitals and Health Systems to Work for By State

Forbes published its market research conducted in collaboration with Statista to reveal “America’s Best Employers by State.” This article lists the 262 hospitals and health systems across the country with the best pay, working conditions, diversity/inclusivity, and schedule flexibility—conveniently broken down by state in alphabetical order.

(Becker’s Hospital Review, August 27, 2022)

That’s it for this month’s edition of In the Interim. Stay tuned for next month’s roundup of newsworthy articles for locum tenens providers. To stay in the loop on future news, follow us on LinkedIn and sign up for our monthly email newsletter for monthly news and job search tips.