News & Views

Perspectives on the locum tenens industry

In the Interim: Banning Physician Non-competes, COVID Emergency Extends to April, Top Hospitals for 2023 & More

“In the Interim” is our monthly roundup of the latest news for providers who work locum tenens. No repeats, less scrolling, more knowledge. Check out the articles we found most interesting this month.   

1. Doctors No Longer Bound by Non-competes Under FTC’s Proposed Ban

Non-competes are commonplace in healthcare. These agreements prevent physicians from working within a certain number of miles from their hospital for a certain period after they depart. But the Federal Trade Commission recently proposed a ban on non-competes. This ban would not only apply to future employment contracts, but it would retroactively cease existing non-compete agreements.

The FTC claims that non-competes limit competition and salary growth; about 45% of primary care physicians have a non-compete agreement. This ban would vastly change the power dynamics of full-time contracts by adding autonomy to practicing physicians and increasing competition among local hospital recruitment and retention strategies.

(Healthcare Dive, January 11, 2023)   

2. COVID-19 Health Emergency Extended to April 

As the United States weathers its next COVID-19 surge, The Department of Health and Human Services extends the public health emergency (PHE) to April 11.

The PHE implemented emergency waivers, regulations, and several flexibilities to allow healthcare providers to improve access to patient care. Across the country, there are about 470,000 new COVID-19 cases per week and 6,000 weekly hospitalizations due to the XBB.1.5 variant, which makes up about 28% of total COVID-19 cases. The PHE’s extension helps providers continue to optimize delivery of care during the pandemic.

(Health Exec, January 12, 2023)

3. Top 10 Health IT Predictions in 2023

As we begin the new year, it’s an ideal time for trend forecasting. This article covers a unique series of predictions for how IT will impact the healthcare landscape during the coming months. Check out these 10 predictions for health IT during 2023, including consumerization of healthcare, price transparency, whole-person care, social determinants of health, and much more.

(Healthcare IT Today, January 12, 2023)     

4. Price Hikes Cause Patients to Defer Medical Care

In addition to weathering the global pandemic, Americans struggle with inflation and the staggering increases of consumer goods. They’re being forced to make difficult decisions and shift financial priorities. Unfortunately, this is impacting healthcare.

About 67% of providers noticed patients delaying their medical care and 38% of Americans have reported that either they or someone they know delayed medical treatment during 2022. 

(Fierce Healthcare, January 18, 2022)   

5. Providers Push CMS to Enact Prior Authorization Reforms 

Prior authorization requires physicians to seek pre-approval for certain medical treatments and testing before caring for their patients. Providers often waste hours negotiating with insurance companies, which creates a significant administrative burden and barrier to care. These are hours that could be dedicated to spending time with patients.

The Alliance of Specialty Medicine surveyed physicians about prior authorization and how it impacts patients. Understandably, providers continue to encourage CMS to finalize proposed reforms to prior authorization and smooth the process.

(Healthcare Finance, January 20, 2023)   

6. Healthcare Leadership: Making Medicine a Team Sport

Penned by a physician, this article sparks interesting dialogue about shifting the culture of medicine. The author suggests that the “heroic physician” is a problematic narrative, and instead, medicine should be fostered as a team effort throughout delivery of care. 

They suggest this shift can happen by applying modern technology, moving away from a fee-for-service model, and investing in healthcare teams. In doing so, they predict hospitals and health systems can increase their quality of care, access to services, and decrease costs to their patients.

(KevinMD, January 22, 2023)   

7. How Gen Z Sees Healthcare

As Generation Z starts to shift workplace culture, tech, and style, it’s also important to note how their behaviors influence healthcare preferences. In addition to tracking health with wearables and prioritizing fitness, Gen Z is susceptible to medical misinformation on social media and reports higher rates of mental illnesses.

Management consulting firm Oliver Wyman conducted a two-year study of Gen-Z, and they discovered interesting data points, such as over 50% of Gen Z would willingly share their health information via wearables for discounted healthcare prices.

(Becker's Hospital Review, January 24, 2023) 

8. Healthgrades’ 50 Top Hospitals for 2023

By utilizing 2019-2021 Medicare data, Healthgrades evaluated hospital performance across the United States. And they’ve officially recognized “America's Best Hospitals" in their coveted award lists featuring the nation’s top 1 percent, 2 percent, and 5 percent of hospitals (50, 100, and 250 facilities, respectively).

(Becker’s Hospital Review, January 24, 2023) 

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.