Covelo Direct


What are the Differences Between Working with a Locum Tenens Agency and an MSP?

A managed service provider, most commonly referred to as an MSP, hires multiple staffing agencies in various professional industries to fill clients’ needs. The staffing industry buzzword for this vendor-blind approach to recruiting is “rightsourcing.” The MSP serves as a broker of sorts, capable of connecting clients with candidates from various staffing companies at once.

From the perspective of hiring professionals, this may seem like an attractive business model. Perhaps it could be convenient to have all of your staffing needs met by a one-stop shop. And wouldn’t it be simple to submit staffing requests via the latest software? Why contract with multiple staffing companies for various positions if you can get what you’re after with just one?

In our experience, any perceived conveniences of working with MSPs are outweighed by the numerous drawbacks. Here are our five top reasons to partner with a locum tenens agency like Covelo Direct to meet your physician staffing needs:


When you contract with an MSP to hire your physicians, you’re adding an extra degree of separation between yourself as the client, and the doctors you wish to hire. Your day-to-day contact is the MSP, who then has a contact at the locum tenens agency, who then is in direct contact with the locums physicians.

With that many middlemen in the equation, miscommunication or other mistakes are bound to occur from time to time. Truth be told, the MSP will get paid the same whether mistakes are made or not, which means they don’t feel as much pain when things go wrong. It’s a classic example of what happens when you don’t have enough skin in the game.

In contrast, your locum tenens recruiter is motivated to find the right candidate for your position because their income depends on the success of each and every placement. And if things don’t go smoothly for any reason, they will bend over backward to make it right, even if that means finding a replacement to finish the job. They understand that accepting accountability will pay off in the end in both relationships and future income.

Personal relationships

Another drawback to working with MSPs is there is often a revolving door of employees, making it difficult to keep a consistent point of contact at the company. This means you could be speaking to someone different each time they answer your call. If you’re working with an MSP, you cannot expect to have a steady relationship with an account manager who knows you personally or understands anything unique about your staffing needs.

In contrast, by contracting with an agency like Covelo Direct, you’ll have a consistent point of contact which can evolve into a long-term, more personal relationship with your recruiter. This will bolster your confidence that you’ll get quality candidates that are appropriate matches for your open positions. And, you’ll have a listening ear if a placement isn’t meeting your expectations or adjustments need to be made.

Better value

In any business model, removing a middleman will get you more bang for your buck. The MSP will always take part of your hiring budget, as will the locum tenens agency, which leaves less of your hourly budget for the physician you’re trying to bring on board.

For example, if you have a set budget to hire an ER physician, the MSP will take a certain percentage off the top for their cut. Then, the staffing agency they select to fill the position will take their own commission, which leaves a twice-diminished hourly wage for the physician.

By removing the MSP from that equation, you could preserve a higher percentage of your original budget for the physician, who you could expect to be more experienced and better qualified than one who would work for lower pay.

Stronger talent

Most reputable locum tenens agencies typically avoid working with MSPs. Top-talent agencies prioritize quality over quantity and have enough of their own resources that they don’t need to partner with MSPs.

The bottom line is that the best locum tenens companies understand that MSPs contribute to lost efficiency and the risk of losing great candidates and clients.

Unique benefits

Partnering with Covelo Direct offers unique benefits over other locum tenens companies. Our sister company, Covelo Group, is a healthcare staffing agency specializing in nursing and allied health. Working with Covelo Direct to meet your physician staffing needs can also facilitate a relationship with Covelo Group’s amazing group of recruiters.

Contracting with Covelo Group would provide access to experienced RNs, CNAs, MAs, respiratory therapists, phlebotomists, sterile processing techs, X-ray techs, and even hospital janitors and office admins.

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 client service manager today.