An article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal discussed how more and more general surgeons are shifting from private practices to temporary assignments as a result of the economic downturn, rising overhead costs and declines in reimbursements.
So much so that “general surgery is now among the fastest growing areas of a temporary medical staffing undystry that’s expected to double to $2.1 billion in 2009 from five years ago, according to Locumtenens.com.”
The WSJ article, Surgeon Shortage Pushes Hospitals to Hire Temps, goes on to say that “temporary surgeons used to be mostly older physicians who wanted a lighter workload, or those fresh out of training, still deciding where to put down roots. But today, more are midcareer people.”
The WSJ estimated that it can cost a hospital up to $1500/day, plus travel and lodging expenses for a temporary surgeon to come in and perform scheduled procedures and emergency operations. But as hospitals continue to face a shortage in nurses and doctors, utilizing locum tenens staffing is quickly becoming one of the only options available.