Dr. Kolff took over for Kronhaus in 1976 and served as director of HSRI until 1978. During his time, he recruited and managed 65 physicians who he placed in 25 clinics across seven Western states and in Yellowstone National Park. HSRI, in conjunction with the University of Utah, managed the placement for all of the staff at Yellowstone to treat the 65,000+ visitors who visited the park daily.
Dr. Kolff became increasingly interested in the structure of locum tenens and how it could be done best. He worked locums in Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah, and eventually, got the idea that there was the possibility of creating a permanent locum tenens format. He set out in 1978 to study health policy and management at Harvard University. He wanted to apply his studies to create a business around locum tenens.
Although HSRI dissolved, the two had begun carving out a nationwide network of doctors for what would become locum tenens work. Enough physicians were working on a temporary basis for Dr. Kolff to start CompHealth in 1979. Dr. Kronhaus followed up with his own locum tenens business, KRON Medical, at the dawn of the ’80s.
Initially, the two friends set a dividing line: KRON Medical would handle locum tenens coverage in the Eastern US, and CompHealth in the West. Both operations thrived, and they quickly realized the need was significant enough that they could both work independently without stepping on each other’s toes.
Dr. Kolff and Dr. Kronhaus began discussing the possibility of combining forces again in a merger. They were still good friends, and by merging the two companies, the businesses would immediately become the largest temporary healthcare staffing agency. The two companies merged into what would one day become CHG Healthcare, the largest locums agency by revenue today.
With the transaction complete, the two relished the thought of working together moving forward. Dr. Kronhaus was happy because he knew he would gain relief from the daily grind, and he was more than happy for Dr. Kolff to take over responsibilities as CEO.
In the earliest days of locum tenens, Dr. Kolff’s team at CHG divided recruitment by the Mississippi River. Certain groups would pick and choose which states they would work in along the border, and together they began recruiting a network of fill-in physicians. They quickly realized there was more than enough need to go around.
They weren’t the only ones who realized it.