Locums Digest #72 | Knox Lane’s Gold Affords All Star, Why New Docs are Drawn to Locums, Noncompete Ban’s Effect on Hospital Staffing & More

Look, M&A!

The boom in locum tenens mergers and acquisitions, which Locumpedia chronicled in an in-depth December report, re-boomed in May in a big way when investment firm Knox Lane acquired a majority stake in Top 10 locums agency All Star Healthcare Solutions. Will more dominoes fall this summer? Stay tuned to Locumpedia to stay in the know. 

For now, let’s dive into Locums Digest 72.

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Knox Lane Partners with All Star Healthcare Solutions, Acquiring Majority Stake

Knox Lane, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, has acquired a majority stake in All Star Healthcare Solutions, one of the industry’s largest locum tenens agencies. In a press release, All Star announced that its founders and management team would retain a significant minority stake and reinvest alongside Knox Lane. CEO Ken Bernstein will continue to lead the agency. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to the release, the partnership will enable All Star to broaden its consultant base, boost sales, build specialty-focused teams, and invest more in technology and strategic acquisitions.

Bernstein expressed enthusiasm for the partnership with Knox Lane, noting their substantial operational expertise and proven success in scaling companies.

“This partnership empowers All Star with additional strategic and financial resources to achieve our goals at an accelerated pace and expand our caring, award-winning culture,” Bernstein stated. “We are proud and humbled by everything we have achieved, and look forward to the opportunities and growth that lie ahead.” 

“People remain our most valuable asset,” he added. They are the heart of All Star, and we are committed to furthering our investment in them, which is also an investment in our company’s future.” 

Founded in 2003 and ranked No. 62 on SIA’s list of largest healthcare staffing firms last year, All Star has significantly influenced the locum tenens industry. Matt Young, All Star Partner and Board Member, highlighted the company’s collaborative achievements with NALTO, where he served on the Board for six years, including as past president. He emphasized that Knox Lane’s partnership positions All Star to advance the industry further. 

“Together, we’ve championed advocacy, set standards, and tackled challenges, ensuring locum tenens professionals are heard and respected,” Young said. “Looking ahead, we are excited about the ongoing impact and shaping a future where locum tenens [providers] thrive and healthcare remains accessible to all.”

La Vida Locum

AMN: Flexibility and Burnout Relief Drive Locum Tenens Adoption Among New Physicians

A recent survey by AMN Healthcare shows that early-career physicians and advanced practice providers are increasingly leaning toward locum tenens work in search of more flexibility and shorter shifts. 


  • 86% of respondents choose locum tenens for better work schedules
  • 80% use locum tenens to address burnout
  • 45% would return to permanent positions if conditions improved
  • 81% began locum tenens work right out of training or mid-career
  • The number of locum tenens physicians has grown from 26,000 52,000 since 2022

The survey reveals 86% of respondents choose locum tenens for better schedules, and 80% to avoid burnout. This trend indicates that healthcare professionals, especially post-pandemic, are reevaluating their work environments and schedules.

Jeff Decker, president of AMN’s physician solutions division, explained that locum tenens roles provide a break from rigid work hours and administrative tasks, which often cause frustration and burnout. The flexibility of locum tenens also helps healthcare facilities manage staffing shortages. However, despite the benefits of working locum tenens, 45% of respondents said they would return to permanent positions if the conditions—such as schedules and compensation—were favorable.

The survey also shows a shift in the timing of healthcare professionals choosing locum tenens work. In 2023, 81% began locum tenens either right after training or mid-career, up from 64% in 2016, while only 19% started post-retirement, down from 36% in 2016. Younger providers are increasingly using locum tenens to explore different practice settings early in their careers.

The number of physicians in locum tenens roles has doubled from 26,000 to over 52,000 since 2022, reflecting a growing preference for flexible and diverse practice styles.

LT.com: Hospitals Embrace Flexible Staffing Models to Combat Physician Shortages

The U.S. is projected to face a physician shortage of up to 138,000 by 2031. To address the issue, hospitals are adopting flexible staffing models like locum tenens placements, telehospitalists, and hospitalist groups. These models help manage patient volumes and reduce labor costs, enabling cost-effective operations while maintaining quality care.

Integrating Advanced Practice Providers (APPs), whose specialties are expected to grow by 40% from 2022 to 2031, is essential for addressing the physician shortage. APPs, including Nurse Practitioners who serve over 1 billion patients annually, are crucial in delivering healthcare, especially in underserved areas. 

Various flexible staffing solutions cater to the specific needs of healthcare facilities. Locum tenens placements help fill scheduling gaps, telehospitalists expand remote patient care, and hospitalist groups offer comprehensive inpatient services. 

AMN: Healthcare Professions Seeing Surge in Demand

The healthcare job market has seen significant growth since 2022, especially in specialized roles such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and CRNAs, presenting numerous opportunities for locum tenens providers. 

NPs, crucial in rural and underserved areas due to their ability to independently manage patient care, are seeing a job growth projection of 52% with an average salary of $151,000. The demand for physician assistants, essential for their wide scope of practice, including diagnostics and surgical assistance, is expected to expand by 42%. CRNAs expect to see 45% job growth and an average salary of $212,000. 

Barton: Higher Earnings and Flexibility Draw Locum Tenens to Rural Emergency Departments

Locum tenens providers are increasingly serving in rural emergency departments (EDs) to alleviate staffing shortages.

A 2022 Medscape report highlights increased earning potential in rural emergency departments, indicating a 5% average salary increase for emergency medicine physicians from $354,000 to $373,000 in 2021. The report also suggests that locum tenens physicians in rural areas could potentially make even more than the average.

Locum tenens work offers financial benefits and flexibility, allowing providers to work fewer hours while maintaining higher-than-average compensation, making it appealing option for providers in high-demand rural areas.

Locum Leaders

Heroes of Healthcare Podcast Highlights How Temp Positions Transformed Healthcare

In episode 83 of the “Heroes of Healthcare” podcast, Anne Anderson, Executive Vice President of staffing firm Jackson + Coker, shares insights from her 30-year career in locum tenens. Anderson and host Tim Fischer, President of Jackson + Coker, discuss the transformative role of temporary healthcare staffing and Anderson’s journey from office manager to healthcare staffing leader. 

Anderson dives deeper into locum tenens’ transformation from a niche staffing solution to an essential healthcare delivery component. 

“The evolution of locum tenens from a niche solution to a mainstream strategy highlights the adaptability required in modern healthcare,” Anne said.

“Locum tenens allows physicians to maintain a work-life balance while still providing critical care to communities in need,” she said, adding that “working in various healthcare settings as a locum tenens professional broadens your clinical skills and enhances your adaptability to different work environments and patient needs.”​ 

Listen to the full podcast here.

Barton Associates Promotes Vanessa Moriarty to Senior Director of Staffing & Sales

Barton Associates recently announced the promotion of Vanessa Moriarty to Senior Director of Staffing & Sales, a move intended to strengthen the company’s leadership in the locum tenens industry. Moriarty has been with Barton Associates since 2011 and has a proven track record of success in healthcare staffing with the firm.

In her new role, Moriarty will oversee the expansion of Barton Associates’ staffing and sales efforts, and focus on improving client and provider relationships while optimizing service delivery. Throughout her time at Barton, Moriarty has held a total of 10 positions, including many leadership roles. Barton said her experience provides her intimate knowledge of the healthcare staffing industry.

Hire Power

Fitch Analysis Claims FTC Noncompete Ban Might Complicate Hospital Staffing Issues

Fitch Ratings’ recent analysis suggests that the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed ban on noncompete clauses could intensify hospital staffing challenges by increasing turnover and staffing unpredictability. Traditionally, hospitals have used noncompete agreements to retain talent, especially in specialized roles that are difficult to fill. 

The FTC’s ban on noncompete agreements aims to boost job mobility and reduce wage suppression, potentially saving $194 billion in healthcare costs. However, it could disrupt continuity of care and operational stability, as hospitals rely on noncompetes to retain talent. Increased provider turnover, especially in rural areas, may lead to significant gaps in patient care.

Fitch’s report also notes that while larger hospital systems may better manage these changes due to their extensive resources and broader talent pools, smaller facilities could face significant struggles. The heightened competition for skilled staff will likely escalate operational costs as hospitals compete to attract and retain essential personnel.

Making the Rounds

Number of Private Equity-Backed Healthcare Companies Filing for Bankruptcy Spiked in 2023

According to a recent industry report from the Private Equity Stakeholder Project (PESP), there was a notable spike in bankruptcies in 2023 among private equity-backed healthcare companies, including Envision healthcare, GenesisCare, American Physiciant Partners, and Protech Home Medical. This rise was attributed to high debt levels and operational challenges, such as leveraging debt to fund dividends, rising labor expenses, and high-interest rates. The report noted that while private equity provides the necessary capital for growth, it often introduces substantial debt that can become unmanageable in tough economic conditions.

The healthcare sectors most affected include those that experienced rapid expansion through acquisition strategies causing them to manage higher debt, such as dental care groups, dermatology practices, and specialty clinics. The PESP report warns healthcare companies about the risks of private equity backing and notes the importance of strategic financial planning and management to avoid these pitfalls.

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