Deliverability and cost are not the only important considerations for practice owners looking to hire a locum tenens staffing company. Certainly, these things are important, but so is protecting your business.
Perhaps no one understands this better than my colleague, Morris Jensby, who oversees risk management for CHG Healthcare, the parent company of CompHealth locum tenens. I asked him what services every locum tenens staffing company should offer and here’s what he told me:
Ability and reputation to credential physicians.
Look for a locum tenens staffing company whose quality management function has relationships with, and direct access to, physician advisors who are experienced in the locum tenens environment and well qualified in the specialty you are seeking.
This means they know precisely how to review a physician’s capabilities in order to determine whether he is qualified to perform the exact procedures that you require in your facility. The ability to prequalify physician candidates this way will save you valuable time in your own credentialing and privileging processes.
If the locum tenens candidate has already made it through the Joint Commission modeled credentialing process before arriving at your doorstep, she will most likely make it through your processes, too. There’s nothing worse than requesting a fast start date only to have the locum tenens doctor get held up in credentialing.
Expertise with state patient compensation funds.
For practices located in states with patient compensation funds, it would be foolish not to insist that the locum tenens staffing company be knowledgeable about the requirements of those funds.
If the agency and physician are not compliant with mandatory fund requirements, the fund may take steps that will adversely affect your practice or place you in conflict with your own bylaws.
Litigation management services.
If an adverse event or a negative outcome occurs, your best defense is having partnered with a locum tenens staffing company with dedicated risk and legal personnel.
The company will have a vested interest in your practice and the locum tenens doctor that it staffed at your facility, and it will be able to create a joint defense from a patient care perspective.
Furthermore, the staffing company’s legal team will know the medical experts and skilled malpractice defense attorneys in the specific area of medicine to assist with the case.
Compare this approach to having to defer to some far away adjuster working for a big insurance company with little awareness of your practice or community. In the event a case goes to trial, the legal team associated with the staffing company is more likely to resonate with the jury and be fully invested in the best possible outcome for all defendants.
These extra services are rarely even considered by practice owners looking to partner with a locum tenens staffing agency but they should be top priorities.
If you are a physician who is contemplating working locums at some point in your career, check back next month. I will share the key things you should look for in a staffing agency.