Locums Digest 18: Locums Physicians Boosted Covid Care, Staffing Pros Think Future Looks Bright, Agency Acquisitions & More

Locums Digest is Locumpedia’s roundup of hot topics, top stories, and social media posts of interest to the locum tenens and medical communities. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive Locums Digest before it’s published here.

Staff Care: Locum Tenens Physicians Boosted COVID-19 Care

(Edited from businesswire release, 06/22/2021)

More than 70% of locum tenens physicians and advanced-practice clinicians have treated COVID-19 patients, while only 5% stopped working temporary assignments because of the virus, according to survey results released on June 22 by Staff Care.

Less than 22% accepted fewer assignments, while more than half (55%) said the virus did not affect the number of locum tenens assignments they worked. In fact, 18% said they accepted more temporary assignments because of COVID-19.

Staff Care’s 2021 Survey of Locum Tenens Providers suggests most locum tenens physicians, nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs) and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) have played important roles in providing care during the pandemic.

“Having a mobile resource of providers that healthcare facilities can draw on can be particularly useful when healthcare challenges spike, as they have with COVID-19,” Staff Care President Jeff Decker said.

Other Key Findings
  • 90% of respondents indicated locum tenens is as satisfying or more satisfying than permanent practice, while only 10% said it is less satisfying.
  • Most (81%) identified “freedom and flexibility” as the primary benefit of locum tenens work. Other popular benefits included pay rates (55%) and travel opportunities (50%).
  • The majority of respondents say they are accepted in the healthcare workplace: 90% reported acceptance by colleagues, 82% by administrators, and 96% by patients.
  • 16% of survey respondents were either NPs or PAs, up from 8% in 2016.

Conducted in March, Staff Care’s 2021 Survey of Locum Tenens Providers netted 672 responses from clinicians known to have worked as locum tenens in the previous 12 months.

All News Is Locums

COVID-19’s Long-Term Impact on Physician Recruitment: 2021 Survey Results

(Edited from the blog post by Bobby Moses for Hayes Locums, 06/29/2021)

More than 18 months since the CDC confirmed the first COVID-19 case in the US, some of the pandemic’s long-term effects are surfacing.

To gain insight from in-house physician recruitment professionals about how the pandemic has affected their jobs, Hayes Locums sponsored the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment’s (AAPPR) second Physician Recruitment COVID-19 Impact & Implementation Survey.

Conducted between March 9 and March 23, 2021, the survey netted responses from 335 AAPPR members — a mix of recruiters, directors, managers and executives.

The main takeaway: In-house recruitment professionals think the future looks bright for the industry post-pandemic.

Overall, 82% of in-house recruitment professionals felt satisfied with their roles, notably higher than in 2019 (74% reported being “completely” or “somewhat satisfied” with their roles in that survey).

AAPPR attributes some of the improvement to increased opportunities for remote work (70% now vs. 50% before the pandemic).

Other Survey Highlights:
  • Not surprisingly, all respondents indicated their reliance on virtual/video technology accelerated because of COVID-19.
  • Less than 1/3 of recruitment professionals are currently working from the office, and the timetables for returning vary. Thirty percent plan to return before Labor Day, while 42% never expect to return to the office full-time.
  • More than 80% of respondents now conduct their initial interviews exclusively via video conference, and most expect and prefer it stays that way. However, most other recruitment processes (following the initial interview) are still conducted in person.
  • Only 5% of organizations reported they stopped using locum tenens clinicians because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, more than 60% of organizations with more than 300 clinicians said they did not.
  • While roughly 20% of organizations have reduced recruitment staff since the pandemic began, only 6% expected additional reductions.
  • Larger organizations were more likely to have eliminated recruitment staff positions since the pandemic, but their recruitment teams were less likely to expect further cuts. In smaller organizations, recruiters were less likely to be laid off and more likely to be redeployed to other areas of the organization.

Click here to download the complete survey or visit AAPPR.org to view this, and other, COVID-19 surveys.

The Healthcare Staffing Story

AMN Names Interim CFO Following Resignation

(Edited from SIA Daily News, 6/22/2021)

According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, AMN Healthcare Inc. (NYSE: AMN) CFO and Chief Accounting Officer Brian Scott will leave the company effective August 9, Staffing Industry Analysts reports. AMN plans to name current controller Christopher Schwartz, who joined the company in February 2005, as interim principal financial officer upon Scott’s resignation.

“The decision to leave AMN was one of the most difficult of my life and was made due to a unique chance to join another organization in the early stages of a large growth opportunity,”

Scott wrote in his resignation letter. “And the team I am joining is much like AMN in having a positive culture based on collaborating to achieve a mission that makes the world a better place.” Scott joined AMN in December 2003 and was appointed CFO in January 2011.

Dedicated Nursing Associates Acquires North Carolina-based Healthcare Staffing Firm

(Edited from SIA Daily News, 6/15/2021)

In a deal that closed June 11, Delmont (Pittsburgh), Pa-based Dedicated Nursing Associates Inc. (DNA) acquired Vital Medical Staffing (VMS), a per-diem nurse staffing firm based in Charlotte, NC.

DNA plans to integrate VMS’ operations, which provide 400 healthcare professionals to more than North Carolina 130 facilities, into its existing Charlotte office. The latter’s management team will remain with the company through the ownership transition.

Currently operating from eight offices and providing travel nursing, per diem, home care, hospice care and MSP workforce solutions in all 50 states, DNA will now employ more than 10,000 caregivers to its more than 6,500 clients throughout the US.

Cross Country Acquires Workforce Solutions Group

(Edited from SIA Daily News, 6/9/2021)

Cross Country Healthcare Inc. (NASDAQ: CCRN) announced it acquired Workforce Solutions Group Inc., a firm that coordinates in-home care services with healthcare plans and managed care providers, in addition to providing home care staffing, RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) and contingent workforce evaluation.

The deal, valued at $25 M cash plus $5 M in Cross Country stock shares (subject to a net working capital adjustment), closed June 6. It also calls for earn-out payments that could provide up to an additional $15 M over the next three years, subject to performance.

“This acquisition allows us to expand into the home care business — and to serve our aging population and others who are homebound,” Cross Country co-founder and CEO Kevin Clark said.

Clark noted he is particularly excited about Workforce Solutions Group’s managed service offerings. “These offerings are akin to Cross Country’s managed service program services, but in an adjacent space that we believe will continue to grow and enable seniors to remain independent in their own homes for as long as possible,” he said.

Workforce Solutions Group is based in Foothill Ranch, California

Tools to Try/News to Use

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(Edited from The White Coat Investor® email)

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How ‘Bout This?

Study Highlights Physician Exodus from Independent Practice

(Edited from Becker’s ASC Review story by Laura Dyrda, 6/29/2021)

By the end of January 2021, nearly 20% of physicians reported being employed by a corporate entity besides hospitals and health systems. The number of corporate-employed physicians jumped 31% from 2019, according to a June 29 report from Avalere.

Hospitals and health systems, together with corporate entities, owned almost half (48%) of physician practices as of January. Avalere reported that 48,400 physicians left independent practice last year for hospital or corporate employment, including payers and private equity firms.

There was a 32% increase in physician practice acquisitions by corporate entities in the past two years, which added 29,800 formerly independent physicians. Some 11,300 of those physicians joined corporate entities, such as insurers and private equity firms, after the COVID-19 pandemic.