So you need a vacation — Take one: Utilizing a locum tenens provider to facilitate needed stress-relief
Kim Hickingbotham, Director of Business Process Training & Development, Delta Locum Tenens
As the summer months approach and kids are out of school, many providers may find themselves dreaming of tropical destinations to beat the heat or simply recharge. However, for many physicians in small groups and especially solo practitioners, a summer vacation is often more of a dream than a reality due to an overwhelming patient load or guilt of leaving their practice unattended.
Although a noble intention, recent research indicates that becoming too absorbed with work can actually have a negative impact on job performance, leading to chronic stress and job dissatisfaction. In fact, physicians are listed among the top occupations in the country to become susceptible to burnout, according to a 2012 article by Arch Intern Med. This research shows that of over 7,000 physicians surveyed throughout the United States, 46 percent reported having at least one symptom of burnout — i.e. prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job leading to exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy.
Burnout is, of course, a condition presented in the most extreme cases of discontentment, and arguably, organizational factors play a larger role in the resolution of this condition than do individual solutions such as a summer vacation. With that said, a needed break or vacation could support emotional health improvements, like increasing job satisfaction or reducing the stress of an overstrained provider.
Alternatively, some physicians that do take vacations will choose to simply close their practice for the length of their absence, resulting in a loss of profit and a gap in patient care. The real danger here is presented in the threat of patient migration; whereas, if a patient cannot obtain access to the healthcare they need, they will look for a new healthcare provider entirely.
Utilizing a locum tenens provider to fill this absence may be an effective and affordable solution to maintaining your practice, while still allowing yourself needed and deserved time for relaxation.
Travel expenses and the locum’s rates are established prior to the start of coverage, and depending on patient flow during your vacation period, generated revenue may be enough to cover the cost of a locum provider, or even produce profit. All revenue generated by the locum tenens provider goes to your facility. In most cases, facilities can bill Medicare for a locum provider who is filling in for a physician on vacation using the Q6 Modifier. Contact the administrators of your health plans and Medicare and Medicaid in your district for instructions specific to you. More detailed information about billing can be found here.
If a Caribbean sunrise or the beaches of Maui are calling your name, it may be beneficial to look into locum tenens coverage. Be sure to plan coverage well in advance and allow the time necessary to conduct a search for a matching candidate.
Admit it, if you don’t “need” a vacation, you most certainly want and deserve one.
Placements & Interviews
Placement Data by Specialty
This data represents average statistics of placements and interviews by Delta Physician Placement over the twelve-month survey period. Since these averages only include placements and interviews, the compensation information presented indicates the rate at which candidates are choosing to interview or sign. Average days information can be used to forecast a probable timeline for a recruitment effort in a particular specialty.
|Average Compensation||Average Days|
|Starting Compensation||Sign-on Bonus||Potential Compensation||From Interview to Placement||Total Placement||Fastest Days-to-Fill|
|Pulmonary Critical Care||$330,000||$20,000||$355,000||136||263||57|
Placements by Population
Nationwide Search Distribution
Specialty Demand Comparison
|1st Quarter 2013||1st Quarter 2012|
|1.||Family Medicine||Family Medicine|
|5.||Family Medicine - Obstetrics||Psychiatry|
|6.||Emergency Medicine||General Surgery|
|7.||General Surgery||Obstetrics and Gynecology|
|9.||Obstetrics and Gynecology||Urology|
|11.||Otolaryngology||Family Medicine - Obstetrics|
|14.||Pulmonary Critical Care||Pulmonary Critical Care|
Search Specialty Distribution
|Top 5 States Providers Have
Taken New Opportunities
|Specialty||Number of Days|
Nationwide Physician Distribution
to Close Credentialing
|Number of Days||Lowest Average
to Close Credentialing
|Number of Days|
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