Covelo Direct


Plan Ahead for Future Physician Staffing Needs

According to data published in June 2020 by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. could see a shortage of up to 139,000 physicians, including shortfalls in both primary and specialty care, by 2033. Since this report was released, many factors have further contributed to this shortage, including the lasting effects of the pandemic on our economy.

No matter the root causes, our national physician shortage appears to be here for the foreseeable future. This means that for most hospitals, it’s only a matter of time before they see staffing gaps that they have trouble filling on their own. This probability only increases for hospitals located in rural or otherwise underserved communities.

Planning ahead can allow locum tenens agencies like Covelo Direct to provide better physician staffing support, saving headaches in the long run. Here are a few tips to consider:

Have a contract in place

No matter your current staffing needs, do the work to get a contract in place with a locum tenens agency you trust. You may need to talk through your needs and expectations with multiple agencies before you feel comfortable signing a partnership agreement.

It’s much better for both parties if an agreement is made in advance of a staffing crisis. This way, you won’t feel rushed or pressured and will be in a better frame of mind to make smart business decisions. Then, once that inevitable staffing bind occurs, you have a familiar partner to rely on to get your positions filled right away.

Anticipate seasonal shortages

Experienced hiring professionals typically know when to anticipate staffing shortages. Cold and flu season, for instance, usually puts a strain on emergency rooms and urgent care clinics between November and February. This is due to more employees calling out sick, as well as an influx of sick patients.

Major holidays including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, reliably cause an increase in requests for time off from full-time employees. For physicians with young families, they may also need more time off in the Summer and Spring break seasons.

Urgent care clinics located in popular vacation destinations will see a spike in demand during peak travel seasons. Beach communities will have a busy summer, and ski destinations will see a surge in the winter. July is reliably a very busy month for locums physicians across the board.

Consult your company calendar 

While your locum tenens agency can usually anticipate seasonal staffing needs, they are not privy to your company’s internal calendar. They need input and communication from you to help manage possible shortages due to conflicts that are unique to your organization.

For instance, is there an annual conference or expo your full-time physicians typically like to attend? Do you have any internal training sessions or hospital-wide meetings that will put a strain on your supply of full-time clinical staff?

It’s also essential to plan for physicians who are approaching retirement. Other considerations may include physicians with upcoming maternity or paternity leave, or other extended leave of absence.

Keeping your locum tenens agency abreast of your anticipated staffing gaps allows them to get qualified candidates vetted and in place so they’re ready to go once you need them.

Trusted partnership

Partnering with Covelo Direct provides concierge-level service and curated placement of top-level physician talent from coast to coast. With more than 15 years of healthcare staffing experience, Covelo Direct focuses exclusively on placing physicians, physician assistants and advanced practitioners. Trust and open communication in this partnership will help ensure we match your healthcare company with the best and brightest in the industry.

Click here to schedule an introductory phone call with a Covelo Direct.