Locums CME #22: House Bill Aims to Fix Prior Authorization; Versatile Specialties for Locums, Understanding Locums Contracts; Retirement and Locum Tenens & More

Locums CME is a bi-weekly roundup of recent news that matters to locum tenens providers. Stay in the loop on what’s new in the locums industry, and make the most of the locum tenens lifestyle with our fresh finds. 


House Advances Legislation Introducing ‘Gold Card’ Model for Prior Authorization


Bipartisan legislation introduced in the current US Congressional session could relieve doctors and patients from the time-wasting burden of prior authorization.

Prior authorization is something that has long been a massive point of frustration for physicians because it’s nebulous and often responsible for delaying critical patient care, which can sometimes lead to worse outcomes for patients. Prior authorization can have an administrative and emotional toll on physicians practicing medicine as they are forced to watch patients in dire need of care wait for approval from insurance providers who may not understand the nuances of medicine and the need for a timely response.

The new H.R. 4968 “Getting Over Lengthy Delays in Care As Required by Doctors” (GOLD CARD) Act of 2023 exempts physicians from Medicare Advantage plan prior authorizations as long as at least 90% of a physician’s prior authorization requests in the past year had been approved.

Based on a similar law passed in Texas in 2021, this legislation would issue gold cards applicable to items and services, excluding drugs, and would last for at least a year. The House bill was introduced by a pair of representatives from Texas with support from the American Medical Association (AMA). 

The AMA says this Act aligns with their efforts to reform prior authorization, which they agree is often overused and poses a significant administrative and clinical challenge for physicians. AMA also advocates for Medicare Advantage plans to be unable to revoke this exception to prior authorization practices. 

Physicians, patients, and employers can learn more about the reform efforts, and share their experiences with prior authorization at FixPriorAuth.org. See what’s at stake by fixing prior authorization at AMA Advocacy in Action. Check out further insights into the bill in this article from the AMA.

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Embrace Versatility and Flexibility in these Locum Tenens Specialities


Locum tenens offers a unique opportunity for many different medical specialties, and it can help open the door for professional growth opportunities and a more fulfilling career.

Locum tenens practice is flexible and lets healthcare professionals choose when and where they work, which is part of the appeal for those looking to get a better work-life balance and score some diverse medical experiences in the process.

TheraEx Locums dove into many different specialties popular for locum tenens providers, and we’ll highlight a few below and then share the full article for reference.

Primary Care Specialties

Family Medicine: Family Medicine locum tenens professionals offer comprehensive healthcare services for all ages, managing various conditions and promoting well-being.

Internal Medicine: These locum tenens specialists diagnose and treat complex adult medical conditions, collaborating with healthcare teams for comprehensive care.

Specialty Care

Cardiology: Cardiology-focused locum tenens deliver specialized cardiovascular care, diagnosing heart conditions and managing patient cases.

Gastroenterology: In this field, locum tenens experts diagnose and treat digestive disorders, optimizing patient outcomes.

Surgical Specialties

General Surgery: General Surgery locum tenens perform surgeries, offer pre-and post-operative care, and collaborate for optimal outcomes.

Orthopedic Surgery: These specialists manage musculoskeletal disorders, including consultations, surgeries, and fracture care.

Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN)

OB/GYN: OB/GYN locum tenens professionals focus on women’s healthcare, including prenatal care, childbirth assistance, and surgical interventions.

Emergency Medicine

Emergency Medicine: These locum tenens practitioners swiftly assess, treat, and manage a wide range of urgent medical cases, ensuring efficient ER operations and quality patient care.

Look for the full details on even more medical specialties where locums are needed in the complete article from TheraEx Locums.

Podcast: A Closer Look Into The Fine Details of Locum Tenens Contracts


In a recent episode of “The Podcast by KevinMD,” physician and podcast host Dr. Kevin Pho spoke to attorney Dennis Hursh. Hursh has more than 40 years of expertise in health law, and in this episode, he delves into the critical aspects of locum tenens agreements for physicians

Hursh highlights key points, including tax implications, expense deductions, and the importance of robust malpractice insurance coverage. Hursh also explores patient contact hours, credentialing costs, fair indemnification clauses, and more.

As we see a growing physician shortage and increase in physician burnout, healthcare professionals look to innovative solutions like locum tenens to help them regain some control and balance in their lives. This podcast episode also touches on the Nuance Dragon Ambient eXperience (DAX), an AI-driven ambient clinical intelligence solution designed to revolutionize patient and provider experiences by automating clinical documentation. 

Physicians who have adopted DAX report significant reductions in documentation time, decreased burnout rates, and improved patient satisfaction, highlighting the potential for technology to enhance the healthcare landscape.

Listen to the full episode on The Podcast from KevinMD for those interested in the intricacies of locum tenens agreements and looking to explore the transformative potential of AI-driven clinical documentation, listen to the full episode on The Podcast by KevinMD.

Retirement with Locum Tenens: 4 Benefits for Physicians and APPs


Retirement is a significant milestone for healthcare professionals, but the transition can be challenging. Many retired physicians and advanced practice providers look for meaningful ways to stay engaged in medicine and give back to their community. Locum tenens offers an excellent opportunity to do that.

Here are a few ways locum tenens offers a chance for providers to take a step back while also preserving their passion for medicine.

1. Stay connected to the medical community. 

Locum tenens work lets retired clinicians maintain their connections to the healthcare industry. Locum tenens allows collaboration with colleagues, nurses, and staff, fostering networking and knowledge sharing. Practicing in diverse healthcare settings keeps professionals engaged and up-to-date with medical advancements.

2. Reduce stress and increase work-life balance.

Locum tenens offers a gradual transition to retirement with shorter assignments and flexible schedules. This approach reduces stress, provides work/life balance, and lets retirees focus on patient care without administrative burdens.

3. Schedule Flexibility 

Locum tenens work allows retirees to choose assignment duration and frequency, aligning with their preferences and lifestyle. It allows for breaks between assignments, enabling retirees to balance work with personal interests.

4. Keep working on a per diem basis.

Retired physicians can seamlessly transition from part-time to per diem locum tenens work. Per diem work offers flexibility to work when desired. It’s ideal for supplementing income or staying connected to medicine without full-time commitments.

Locum tenens allows retired healthcare professionals to stay engaged and enjoy life as a retiree. If you want to learn more about locums’ benefits, see what Integrity Locums says in the complete article

Physician Wellness Retreat

6 Specialties Experiencing High Levels of Burnout


A recent American Medical Association (AMA) survey of 13,000 providers across 30 states showed alarming rates of physician burnout, with certain medical specialties facing higher rates of burnout than others.

The study showed that In 2022, burnout reached concerning levels affecting the following specialties the most: 

  • Emergency Medicine: 62%
  • Hospital Medicine: 59%
  • Family Medicine: 58%
  • Pediatrics: 55%
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology: 54%
  • Internal Medicine: 52% 

Dayton Children’s Hospital in Ohio is one hospital that took proactive steps to address burnout and hopefully improve job satisfaction among pediatricians. They did this by providing ongoing support during the COVID-19 pandemic, taking steps to remove administrative burdens like re-verification for Medicaid, making minor changes to free up time spent on electronic health records, showing their appreciation to medical staff through internal communication platforms, and increasing the sense of connection and collegiality among physicians by hosting “commensality groups.” 

These efforts align with the AMA’s focus on reducing physician burnout as a critical component of its AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians. The hope is that by addressing these key contributors to burnout, healthcare organizations can improve the well-being of their medical providers and enhance patient care.

To find more details on Dayton Children’s Hospital’s plan to reduce burnout, including specific strategies and initiatives, see the full AMA Article.

Health Tech Innovations: Optimizing Mobile Devices for Locum Tenens Providers


The modern healthcare environment relies heavily on mobile devices and communication platforms. Healthcare technology is evolving fast and can help enhance locum tenens providers’ well-being. 

Here are four solutions Health Tech Magazine discusses that optimize technology’s use while minimizing potential frustrations.

  1. Remote Mobile Device Management: Recognizing that clinicians should focus on patient care instead of tech issues, remote management tools like Zebra’s Visibility IQ empower IT support teams to troubleshoot and address device issues. 
  2. Automatic Updates for Device Security: Keeping devices up-to-date is crucial for maintaining security and preventing malfunctions. Healthcare facilities can use remote links to efficiently update devices, while clinicians with personal devices can receive IT support to configure updates correctly. This approach helps create secure portals for patient health information.
  3. Managing Alerts for Reduced Distractions: Clinicians use applications like Epic’s Haiku to help them optimize communication and receive real-time updates on patient data. Customization options, such as switching to “unavailable” status in the operating room and the ability to silence nonurgent alerts, help them reduce disruptions.
  4. Single Sign-On for Workflow Efficiency: Implementing single sign-on reduces clinicians’ time logging in, resulting in significant time and cost savings. It streamlines access to various applications and web gateways, ensuring a more unified and efficient workflow.

These solutions can provide reliable technology that gives clinicians real-time access to information and helps them make better medical decisions while building trust and rapport with patients. 

Dive deeper into these tech solutions from Health Tech Magazine here. 

Doctor’s Notes

Adapting to Interoperable Virtual Care Systems to Enhance Patient Treatment


The healthcare industry’s virtual care landscape is evolving post-COVID-19, with a growing emphasis on interoperability. After the public health emergency declaration ended in May 2023, healthcare providers shifted their focus toward more sophisticated virtual care strategies. There’s a growing focus on interoperability as virtual care becomes more complex. 

Interoperability in virtual care means full support for all aspects of telehealth technology — workflow management, scheduling, documentation, billing, and care coordination.

When virtual care platforms are interoperable, they help providers enhance care efficiency and improve experiences for both patients and clinicians. However, a lack of interoperability could lead to double documentation systems, errors, incomplete information, and care delays, which only makes clinician burnout worse and adds to workforce shortages. 

Full interoperability would likely be a slow adoption of new data standards like API-based integrations and differing data models within healthcare provider organizations. Organizations would select platforms that integrate with their existing workflows and systems to overcome challenges and optimize virtual care.

The future of virtual care in the healthcare industry relies on these interoperable platforms to help innovate care delivery models. For more details, read the full article from mHealthIntelligence on the importance of virtual care interoperability in the evolving healthcare landscape.

Ways to Level the Playing Field for Struggling Rural Specialists


Problems with healthcare delivery are further exacerbated for rural providers because of a lack of resources, less talent to pull from, and fewer points of access. 

Finding the best specialty care can be challenging for rural patients — there are about 30 specialists available per 100,000 people in rural regions compared to 263 per 100,000 in urban areas, according to the National Rural Health Association. Specialists tend to live in more densely populated areas and work in large health systems. 

Telehealth has emerged as a solution to help level the playing field, allowing patients in remote areas to connect with specialists virtually. Nonprofit organizations like the MAVEN Project aided this effort by creating virtual networks of specialists who mentor and support providers in underserved regions. 

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are also something becoming increasingly vital in addressing rural healthcare challenges. With over 100 million Americans lacking access to primary care, NPs help bridge the gap created by physician shortages and rural hospital closures. Their holistic, wellness-centered approach to healthcare is particularly valuable in rural settings, where patients often travel long distances for acute care. 

Despite some legal barriers, NPs are growing in number, with their roles expanding to meet the rising demand for primary care providers in rural areas. Their ability to provide timely, preventive care significantly reduces unnecessary emergency department visits and improves overall health outcomes in rural communities.

Check out the full article from HealthLeaders Media for more insights from rural healthcare executives on possible solutions to these healthcare challenges.

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