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Use of Temporary Physicians on the Rise

February 16 2011

The use of temporary physicians is rising, a new survey conducted by Staff Care suggests. 

Staff Care, a national temporary physician staffing firm and company of AMN Healthcare Services Inc. (NYSE: AHS), polled hospital and medical group managers about their use of temporary physicians. Eighty-five percent said they had used temporary physicians sometime in the last 12 months, up from 72 percent the year prior. The primary reason for using temporary doctors, cited by 63 percent of those surveyed, is to fill in until a permanent doctor can be found.

Respondents were also asked about which type of temporary physician they'd used. Topping the list are psychiatrists and other behavioral health specialists at 22 percent. The number of psychiatrists trained in the United States has remained flat in recent years, the survey noted, while population growth, patient aging and the stress bred by economic recession and two wars has caused a spike in demand. Rounding out the list of temporary physicians being used by facilities are primary care physicians (20 percent), internal medicine subspecialists (12 percent), anesthesia providers (11 percent), surgeons (7 percent), hospitalists (9 percent), radiologists (7 percent), emergency medicine (4 percent), dentists (4 percent) and oncologists (2 percent).

Temporary physicians were also polled in the survey about their experience level. Sixty-eight percent have been practicing medicine for 21 years or more.


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