With the locum tenens industry experiencing enormous growth over the last decade, there are some recent changes that have sparked greater developments within the temporary healthcare staffing field. Most recently, the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO) has celebrated the introduction of a new federal bill passed under the “Health Care Provider Shortage Minimization Act.” This bill aims to provide underserved and rural communities facing severe healthcare staffing shortages with access to qualified healthcare, ensuring critical staffing patient needs are met.
What makes this bill so meaningful is that it codifies locum tenens providers as “independent contractors,” which will impact the many healthcare facilities nationwide that utilize a locum tenens workforce. As physician shortages are expected to become worse, especially in rural regions, healthcare employers can feel confident that they will continue to fill crucial staffing gaps to provide essential care to patients.
In a news announcement issued by NALTO, the organization’s president, Matt Young, stated that this bill “strengthens the ability of doctors and advanced care practitioners to provide on-the-spot care in a variety of settings, including hospitals, surgery centers, clinics, and other medical facilities in all areas of the United States.” Emphasizing that locum tenens providers are especially critical for underserved rural areas, Young also stated that “the locum tenens industry provides an estimated one million days of physician coverage and over 20 million patient visits nationwide,” and that the bill “will help doctors and advanced care practitioners continue those desperately needed services.”
With locum tenens providers being a primary source for temporary staffing, this bill will be instrumental for the entire healthcare industry – especially facilities affected by staggering physician shortages.
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