Rising Demand for Urgent Care Locum Tenens

  • Monday, April 30, 2012

The "perfect storm" of a growing population, an aging citizenry, retiring physicians, and 32 million Americans acquiring new access to healthcare has created an unprecedented physician shortage, and in the process brought about a new trend in healthcare toward Urgent Care Centers. Consilium Staffing is dedicating staff to meet this new demand.

In late 2011, The Urgent Care Association of America (UCAA) published a report, "The Case for Urgent Care" to bring awareness to the public on the importance of Urgent Care facilities in the United States. The report defines Urgent Care as "healthcare provided on a walk in, no appointment basis for acute illness or injury that is not life or limb threatening, and is beyond the scope of availability of the typical primary care practice."

Amy Crowdis, Vice President of Client Sales for Consilium Staffing, said, "the state of healthcare today has created a scenario where patients either don't have a regular primary care doctor, or they can't get in to see them when they need to. As a result more patients are turning to the walk-in urgent care centers, and we are now seeing a spike in locums requests from those walk-in clinics."

Urgent Care facilities have been around for decades, but it is the imminent physician shortage boosting the increasing need for Urgent Care. According to the UCAA report, there will be approximately "45,000 too few primary care physicians by 2020."The report further declared the average number of patients seen weekly by an Urgent Care facility is "340 resulting in over 160 million patients a year."

"The increased demand for healthcare, and the decreasing number of primary care physicians in this country has created a gap in physician coverage,"said Crowdis. "There are new clinics opening throughout the country. These clinics are opening to try to accommodate the high patient load, but in many cases they don't have the physician staff to meet the demand. That is where locum tenens physicians are filling the need to those clinics."

With the increased demand for locums providers for urgent care settings, Consilium has responded by allocating resources accordingly. "Urgent care has always represented a portion of our business, but we are seeing an increase of requests. We recognize this increase, and we are determined to make sure that we meet the demand," said Crowdis. "At Consilium, we are focused on partnering with Urgent Care facilities to provide locums services so that these facilities never miss a beat in delivering the efficient, quality and affordable healthcare services.

The term, "locum tenens" is a Latin phrase that means to "hold the place of." Consilium Staffing assists hospitals, primary care offices, urgent care centers, correctional institutions, and other healthcare facilities, when those facilities are under-staffed by partnering with physicians, nurse practitioners, and/or physician assistants who are able to provide coverage on a temporary or contract basis.