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3 Strategies to Avoid Physician and APP Staffing Shortages: Part III

By: Alan Ashby | Updated on February 07, 2022

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An interview with Alan Ashby

Vice President, Emergency Medicine & Primary Care

 Check out the full series here:

Part I Part II

Permanent vs. Temporary Physician and APP Recruiting Firms

In part II of 3 Strategies to Avoid Physician and APP Staffing Shortages, we looked at the benefits and challenges associated with utilizing online healthcare job boards and data-driven databases to recruit physicians and APPs. In part III, we explore the key differences between permanent and temporary physician and APP recruiting firms and how both can play a key role in an effective recruiting strategy.

Like all other staffing resources, there are benefits and challenges associated with utilizing both permanent and temporary, or locum tenens, staffing firms. However, there’s a place for both in most effective recruiting strategies, depending on your healthcare facility’s needs at any given time.

Permanent physician and APP staffing agencies

Utilizing a permanent physician or advanced practice staffing agency can complement the efforts of your internal recruiting team if your healthcare facility is looking to replace a full-time physician or APP.

Most permanent staffing agencies operate under two different fee structures, retained and contingent.

Retained: Under this fee structure, you’ll need to pay for the staffing agency to open the search, and there are also fees your facility will have to pay once the position is filled. This is the most common fee structure permanent staffing firms use, and it can get expensive. You might end up paying tens of thousands of dollars in fees if you go this route, and this is the fee structure most commonly used by permanent staffing agencies.

Contingent: Under a contingent fee structure, you won’t pay any fees until your position is filled.

When using a permanent physician or advanced practice staffing firm, it’s important to remember that replacing a full-time physician or APP still takes quite a bit of time. Although the agencies have a pool of excellent candidates, they’re working to attract the one who would be the best fit for your facility long-term. And if you’re hiring for multiple positions, you might find yourself needing to explore other options.

Temporary or locum tenens staffing firms

Locum tenens staffing solutions used to be looked at as a Band-Aid solution to short-term staffing needs. But more and more, healthcare facilities are strategically utilizing locum tenens clinicians as an on-going part of their recruitment strategy. Here’s why:

  • You can quickly onboard locum tenens physicians and APPs – Utilizing locum tenens physicians and APPs is the fastest way to fill gaps in coverage. Many locum tenens agencies, including LocumTenens.com, have motivated recruiters and in-house licensing and credentialing teams who understand the importance of getting the right candidate to your practice as quickly as possible, whether your clinician is out on leave or has left your practice entirely. At LocumTenens.com, our associates remain in-touch throughout the entire assignment to ensure a smooth and efficient onboarding process and satisfaction for both the physician or APP and your facility.
  • Locum tenens gives you the ability to vet clinicians on-site without long-term commitment – If you’re looking to fill a permanent need, utilizing a locum tenens physician or APP could be an excellent first step in the process. It allows you to onboard temporary clinicians who are open to permanent employment at your facility should both parties find it’s a good fit. Essentially, it’s an excellent way to try out different types of candidates until you find the right one to stay with your facility long-term.
  • Locum tenens is an effective solution for seasonal fluctuations in patient volume – Because facilities’ needs tend to ebb and flow throughout the year, many healthcare facilities plan to use locum tenens physicians and APPs strategically throughout the year at times when they anticipate higher patient volumes. For example, many healthcare facilities plan to onboard locum tenens clinicians annually during flu season.

Staffing needs ebb and flow, so it’s important to build a relationship with a locum tenens staffing agency so your healthcare facility is always prepared.

Having an existing relationship with a locum tenens agency allows you to remain both flexible and strategic when approaching staffing shortages at your healthcare facility. Although you might not have an immediate need for physicians and advanced practice providers, it’s still important to vet locum tenens agencies so you know which one you want to work with when the need arises. Our associates at LocumTenens.com are available to consult with you as you build or reevaluate your strategy, offer advice and will be ready to find you the perfect candidate to meet your needs when you’re ready.

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the physician shortage, reexamining the recruiting strategy utilized at your healthcare facility is imperative. For most healthcare facilities, a combination of some or all of the resources examined in this series are essential for a more streamlined, strategic and effective recruiting strategy, but each facility’s strategy is unique.

For more information about how locum tenens can complement your staffing strategy, reach out to a LocumTenens.com associate today.

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About the author

Alan Ashby

Vice President, Primary Care

After starting his career at LocumTenens.com in 2008 as a Research Consultant for the Surgery Division, where Alan quickly moved up the ranks to Managing Director. In November of 2016, he transitioned to the Primary Care Team where he served as Managing Director until being promoted to Associate Vice President. In 2018, Alan became Vice President of the Emergency Medicine Division and in 2021 Vice President of Primary Care, continuing to oversee Emergency Medicine. Since joining LocumTenens.com, Alan has been the recipient of numerous awards, including “Producer of the Month” and “Manager of the month,” and was recognized as the 2012 LocumTenens.com Producer of the Year. Alan graduated magna cum laude from Georgia State University in 2005 with a B.B.A. in Risk Management and Insurance. Prior to joining LocumTenens.com, he spent three years in the insurance industry serving small- and medium-sized businesses with commercial insurance planning.