Why go internal with locums programs?

In an ideal world, every vacant position would be filled by a permanent provider. Reality often falls short of this ideal, with more than 10% of unfilled permanent openings utilizing locum tenens to fill the gap, especially in rural and underserved areas where the healthcare provider shortage is intensified. 

According to AAPPR it can take more than a year in many specialties to find a permanent candidate, making the reliance on locums physicians inevitable. 

An agile way to quickly scale services up and down, organizations hire locums to meet increased patient demand, supplement staff during peak periods, maintain services while transitioning organizational models, or to test market a new service.

But like many good things, hiring locums physicians comes at a cost—one that many health organizations find hard to gain control over and sustain long-term. 

To gain better control and greater visibility of locums spending, healthcare facilities are creating their own internal locums programs as a cost-effective way to keep up with low supply, high demand. With an internal locums program, the healthcare organization itself acts as a locums agency by recruiting, scheduling, and managing 1099 physician contract workers directly, eliminating the agency fees. Sound overwhelming? Not with the right tech and experts by your side.

Locum spend: sink or float? 

The first question to ask when determining whether an internal locums program is right for a healthcare organization is:

How great is the reliance on locums? If it’s minimal, sticking with traditional locum agencies might be best. But if your finance team is sweating over costs and instability, it’s time to consider going internal. 

This was the case with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), the largest medical non-governmental employer in Pennsylvania. The organization was spending loads on locums agencies until it launched its internal locums program with Syncx. Not only was the internal locums process now much more streamlined and automated, our float pool technology also created an organization-wide view of which physicians were available, and when and where they were available. 

Bringing moonlighting into the light

Moonlighting is often done in the dark. Many healthcare facilities don’t have full visibility into the availability and licensing of floating physicians. 

For instance, consider a scenario where there are 10 hospitals within a system. A physician is moonlighting at one of them, unbeknownst to the other 9 hospitals. Despite the physician’s availability and willingness to travel, this resource remains underutilized within the hospital system.

The solution? Facilities need an integrated, comprehensive view of system-wide shift availability to better utilize the entire physician workforce.

What’s missing? Technology. Syncx’s provider portal gives your flexible physician workforce the control to self-select their shifts, eliminating the burden on internal resources and endless manual data entry. Plus, it integrates with the entire Syncx system for streamlined time approvals and credentialing. This removes a layer of complexity from the process while speeding time to fill, simplifying the locums process for everyone involved.

While technology plays a critical role, equally important is the human touch. Alongside our advanced tech solutions, we provide dedicated resources to assist with float pool development. Our team aids in recruitment efforts and compensation negotiations, and assigns our in-house experts to guide you. 

Change is hard, but not with Syncx

Despite these huge advantages, many healthcare facilities are reluctant to start an internal locum agency for two main reasons: change management, not knowing where to start, and concerns over disruption to patient care.

That’s where we come in! Syncx doesn’t wish you luck and move on. We walk you step by step through the process from the first working clinician to the full creation of a flexible workforce that you can leverage.

Here at Syncx, we recognize the significance of locum tenens in the industry and acknowledge its value as a resource to relieve pressure on medical staff. However, we also understand the concerns surrounding cost. We’re not here to justify the expense or subtly push clients to utilize more locums. Instead, we are dedicated to helping gain control of locums spend, and best leverage the talent they already have if that’s a priority.

What truly sets us apart? We are not a recruitment agency, but a neutral partner here to help you develop and manage your physician resources to provide the best care. While many MSPs struggle to balance candidate and agency needs alongside client demands, our singular focus is helping you achieve your goals.
Let’s chat about whether an internal locum program is right for your organization. No pressure, just solutions. Book a demo today to get started!