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Medical migrants - “locum tenens” Healthcare on Temporary Assignment

Posted Mar 10 2009 3:52pm

Doctors get to select where they want to go and how long they will be able to stay at the facility.  This used to be pretty dominant in rural areas, but not any more, in the big metropolitan areas too as shortages are appearing everywhere.  Of all places, I would not have thought of Kaiser having a big need with so many private practice physicians taking on a job with the company, but this just goes to show there are issues everywhere.

Of course the fill-in doctor is not going to probably be as good as the patient’s regular doctor, but when the alternative is “no doctor” well you can figure that one out.  This also points out one more reason to have electronic medical records too, not only for the traveling doctor, but also for those nurses and staff who will need the information for follow up with patient care, etc.  We all know that there are a number of traveling nurses too with registries, etc., lots of pharmacists do it, so nobody seems to get left out of the medical traveling business, except maybe the CEOs (grin).  BD 

Also, with the shortage of general surgeons, the number of traveling surgeons is also on the increase.

Surgeon Shortage Pushes Hospitals to Hire Temps – Scalpel Services

We read in the news that many patients don’t know who their doctors are, well this might have some impact here, and a good reason to think about a PHR, that way if this trend continues with us as patients seeing more doctors than we already are, well have some place to store all that information and access it.  BD 

While most young physicians must work long days to establish themselves in a practice and pay off medical school debt, Dr. Tara Pernot's unconventional path has provided plenty of time for other priorities.  Pernot, the travel doctor now at Kaiser, is employed through CompHealth, an agency in Salt Lake City that has more than a dozen other doctors working temporary assignments at Kaiser Permanente facilities in San Diego County.

In recent years, Pernot has renovated her home in Temecula, taken a four-week tour of national parks and baby-sat her niece on a regular basis.   By choice, Pernot's assignments, which typically last several months, have kept her within driving distance of home. She now works at Kaiser Permanente's primary care clinic in Rancho San Diego.

For example, daily wages for permanent positions average $662 for family practitioners, $611 for pediatricians and $727 for psychiatrists, based on figures from the health care consulting firm Merritt Hawkins and Associates.

In comparison, daily wages for travel doctors average $425 for family practitioners, $415 for pediatricians and $550 for psychiatrists, according to the physician recruiting agency LocumTenens.com.

Medical migrants

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