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Perspectives on the locum tenens industry

In the Interim: Tips for Physician Finances, More Efficient EMR Charting, Avoiding Lawsuits & 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 June's roundup. 

1. 88% of Healthcare Facilities Say They Used Locum Tenens & APPs Last Year 

According to a 2022 survey on locum tenens trends, 88% of healthcare facilities filled their staffing gaps with locum tenens physicians and advanced practiced professionals. This survey included hospitals, medical groups, and other healthcare facility managers. 

The physician shortage is dire, and COVID-19 intensified these staffing challenges. Thankfully, facilities leaned on locums professionals as an essential force to alleviate pressure while they searched for permanent staff, helped meet rising patient census numbers, and reduced staff burnout. 

Although this article was published on the last day in May, we loved the numbers enough to kick off our June roundup with this story. 

(Staffing Industry Analysts, May 31, 2022)   

2. The Impact of Inflation on Physician Finances, Steps to Take 

In March 2022, the consumer price index reached 8.5% and the producer price index reached 11.2%. As inflation plagues industries around the United States, healthcare is beginning to feel the burden of the financial challenges.  

So, how can you mitigate its effects on your finances as a physician? This article talks about strategies to protect your assets, how to understand the current financial environment, and suggestions to set yourself up for success in the future.  

(Healio, June 01, 2022)   

3. To Overcome Doctor Shortage, Get Rid of Obstacles to Primary Care 

By 2034, the United States has a predicted shortage of between 17,800 and 48,000 primary care physicians. According to a 2019 JAMA Internal Medicine study, more primary care physicians directly correlate to a lower mortality rate due to early screening for conditions like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory tract disease.

A recent study showed that 31% of medical students planned to practice primary care in their first year of medical school. By the end of their fourth year, they chose to switch to a more lucrative specialty to offset their debt.

Part of the AMA’s mission is to ease physician shortages in areas impacted by financial burdens and limited access to healthcare; they’re a proponent of the bipartisan “Resident Education Deferred Interest Act,” which allows interest-free deferment on student loans while serving in a medical residency program. With more financial incentives like this, AMA hopes to make primary care more attractive.

(American Medical Association, June 01, 2022)

4. National Academy of Medicine Readies Health Workforce Well-being Plan 

After six years of combined effort spanning 200 members and network organizations, The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience released a new national plan for health care workforce well-being.

This plan uses cultural and compliance factors to target the “systemic, complex, and longstanding” impacts of burnout that have exponentially increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. NAM believes in having a plan at the national level to reset the United States healthcare system and envision a more positive future for health workers.

(Medical Economics, June 06, 2022)

5. Why More Frivolous Medical Liability Lawsuits are Possible in Michigan

When someone files a medical liability lawsuit in Michigan, they must file the affidavit of merit within the statute of limitations or have the lawsuit dismissed with prejudice. 

Recently, a plaintiff obtained an affidavit of merit but didn’t file it with their complaint of negligent surgery; they still tried to push through the lawsuit without meeting proper criteria. 

This request sought to overturn the outcome from Michigan Supreme Court’s case in 2000, Scarcella v. Pollack, where the state’s top court ruled that a med mal complaint without an affidavit of merit does not indicate necessary legal proceedings.

(American Medical Association, June 8, 2022)       

6. When is the Best Time for Physicians to Write EMR Notes? 

For each patient visit, doctors spend about 16 minutes in their EMR. Since documenting thorough notes is a requirement for proper patient care, billing compliance, and legal protection, this is an essential task. But it takes hours of your time, often after your day is complete. In fact, this study revealed that 34% of physicians spend 6 hours a week on after-hours charting, which is associated with burnout.

So, how can you decrease charting after hours? When is the best time for charting? This article has the answers to make your EMR notes much more efficient.

(KevinMD, June 15, 2022)   

7. More Residency Slots Could Mitigate FL’s Projected Physician Shortage 

The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida predicts that the state will have a shortage of 18,000 physicians by 2035. The fastest growing population segments are the 65 and up segments, which typically require more extensive healthcare. At the same time, Florida’s physicians are reaching the age of retirement and will soon become patients as opposed to healthcare professionals.

In order to prevent this shortage, federal policymakers are being urged to increase Medicare graduate medical education funding. Increasing the number of residency slots could be the key to offset the number of practicing physicians to the number of projected patients.

(RevCycleIntelligence, June 16, 2022)   

8. ‘Agreeableness’ is a Factor in Lawsuits Against Physicians 

Believe it or not, your personality could be a factor in your risk of being sued. Researchers analyzed data from 12,134 doctors and discovered psychosocial and workplace predictors in addition to high workloads and a history of prior claims. Agreeableness was cited as a protective factor against lawsuits.

The study was conducted to gain understanding of why some doctors are sued over others, and it points to increasing preventative efforts to improve the doctors’ health so that our workforce is healthy enough to provide exemplary care.

(Medical Economics, June 20, 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.