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88% of healthcare facilities say they used locum tenens, advanced practice professionals last year: AMN

88% of healthcare facilities say they used locum tenens, advanced practice professionals last year: AMN

May 31, 2022

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A majority of healthcare facilities, 88%, used locum tenens physicians and/or advanced practice professionals to fill staffing gaps last year, according to the 2022 Survey of Locum Tenens Staffing Trends released by AMN Healthcare Services Inc. (NYSE: AMN).

The survey also found that 70% of respondents use locum tenens physicians and other providers to maintain services while they fill openings in their permanent staff. A quarter use them to meet rising patient demand, and 13% use them to address provider burnout.

“A long-standing shortage of physicians, which has been exacerbated by Covid-19, has made locum tenens physicians an even more essential part of delivering quality care at most hospitals in the United States,” said Jeff Decker, AMN’s division president of locum tenens.

Decker noted that Covid-19 steered the employment of locum tenens in 2021, with anesthesia providers, including anesthesiologists and certified registered nurse anesthetists, being the most utilized type of locum tenens healthcare professionals, followed by hospitalists, a type of physician specializing in hospital inpatient care. Psychiatrists ranked third due to the rise in mental health issues nationwide.

The survey also found that 54% of the healthcare facilities are adding new incentives, including signing bonuses, to their recruiting packages to address staffing shortages. Forty-nine percent are implementing new retention efforts, including offering retention bonuses to providers, while 43% are adding temporary staff and 35% are expanding telehealth services.

In addition, 18% of respondents said their facilities are reducing service hours at some locations in response to staffing shortages, while 14% are canceling elective procedures and 11% are eliminating some service lines and programs.

The survey included 202 responses from hospitals, medical groups and other healthcare facility managers.