Locum Tenens Return on Investment: Yours and Theirs
By now you have probably read dozens of articles detailing all the benefits of becoming a locum tenens practitioner. This article will not go down that route. Rather, it will discuss locum tenens from the perspective of return on investment (ROI). Looking at locum work from this perspective gives a whole new meaning to the discussion.
This article will examine ROI from two angles: your position as the locum and the position of the employer who contracts for your services. While there are some similarities between the two, there are enough differences that warrant discussing them separately. Let’s begin by talking about your ROI.
ROI for Locum Physicians
Locum tenens physicians are self-employed contractors under the law. As such, they are also small business owners. So talking about your ROI is more than reasonable. You are running a business – albeit as a sole proprietor of sorts – requiring an investment of your own time and money to make it work. So what do you get in return?
For starters, you get more take-home pay. Locums tend to earn more than their private practice or employed counterparts per day. But above and beyond that, recruiting agencies tend to offer a package of benefits that translate into more money in the doctor’s pocket. Free housing, paid travel, and malpractice insurance are just a few examples.
In terms of your investment in time, consider that locum physicians can choose the assignments most suitable to their needs and wants. You can work as often as you want; you can choose the length of your assignments; you can even choose where you want to work. Most importantly, you get to practice medicine without the investment of time necessary to run a private practice.
Compared to what you put into it, working as a locum physician offers a fairly sizable return. So much so that a growing number of doctors are pursuing locum tenens work as a full-time occupation.
ROI for Locum Users
Healthcare facilities have their own ROI concerns to worry about. The question then becomes whether using locum tenens staffing is good for the bottom line or not. It is. According to a report from the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO), hospitals collect far more in professional fees every day than they pay out to the locums providing service. Healthcare facilities are by no means losing money on locum tenens.
The NALTO report goes on to explain that the ROI for locum users can be measured in ways other than daily cash flow. It cites patient satisfaction, physician satisfaction, and physician retention as other viable metrics.
For example, consider the possibilities of maintaining a high level of patient satisfaction at a hospital you run. Patients are customers at the end of the day. If they are satisfied with the service and treatment they receive, they are more likely to return to your hospital for future needs. Therefore, a good measure of your hospital’s ROI is the number of satisfied patients who return.
It Is a Sellers Market
In keeping with the ROI theme, let’s wrap this up by talking about the current market for locum tenens professionals. In short, it is a seller’s market. Practitioners are in a position of strength that enables them to name their own terms for contracts. The ROI for doctors is, therefore, very good.
Although facilities are now at the mercy of their locum staffing, their ROI is equally attractive. The amount of money they invest in locum staffing pays off in greater patient satisfaction, happier doctors, and better outcomes overall.