Why Do Locum Tenens Physician Pay Rates Fluctuate?

When hiring locum tenens, the cost can drastically vary as to rate per hour.  There truly is not a set rate for a given specialty nor specific area.  Here a few possible reasons for the cost fluctuation:

–          Market Forces.  Despite a physician taking a vacation or a leave of absence, healthcare must be provided to patients.  This means that as a facility, you are probably willing to pay more to maintain top-notch care.  Furthermore, physicians who work locums can wait for rates that they consider attractive and are not by any means obligated to take one particular job.

–          Competition.  The physician shortage does significantly affect the cost of care and facilities compete for a limited amount of quality physicians.

–          Politics.  Some locums jobs are government positions, for instance, Veteran’s Affairs, the hourly wage for government positions tends to be lower as politics have forced budgets upon public health care.  This can drive the whole market down, as physicians do take these positions.

Growing client demand for locum tenens physicians to serve as hospitalist (or other specialties) means that there are more jobs and those opportunities are also becoming more lucrative, according to Robert Harrington, MD, SFHM, a practicing Hospitalist and the Chief Medical Officer of Locum Leaders. “Industry data show that hourly pay rates for locum tenens Hospitalists have increased almost 20% over the past two years. I think that’s a big reason why there are more locum tenens in the specialty and more doctors who are willing to self-employ and work full-time in locum roles,” said Harrington.

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