Weighing the Security of Physician Hospital EmploymentOctober 2nd, 2013 2 Min read Blog
In these uncertain times, healthcare providers are looking for stability in their careers. This can be seen in the current trend of physicians turning to hospital employment. But for those who believe that accepting a permanent position with a health system ensures long-term job security, it's hard to ignore the growing chatter suggesting that the exact opposite may be true. There are many good reasons why doctors are seeking hospital employment. One of them is the rising cost of running a practice. The ability to practice medicine without daily financial concerns like keeping the lights on can be very attractive to independent practice owners. Hospital employment is also appealing to young physicians with high medical school debt. Many graduating residents and fellows feel they can't buy into a practice and joining one might not help them pay off debt fast enough; therefore, a high-paying job offer from a hospital is alluring. But does becoming a salaried provider also come at a high price? Some would warn that the unpredictability of hospital management presents a real risk to physicians. A provider's employment situation can change very easily if the hospital changes allegiances or ownership. But perhaps the greatest concern is a loss of control for providers. When it comes to practice issues, physicians have to accept that they are not the ultimate decision-makers. So what's another choice for physicians seeking security in employment? One option is locum tenens. Similar to hospital employees, locum tenens physicians don't have to worry about keeping their businesses afloat. They just show up, do their jobs, and get paid for it. But very different from hospital employees, locum tenens physicians are independent contractors who are paid through a staffing agency, which means they aren't at the mercy of higher-ups when it comes to hiring decisions. For a growing number of doctors, deciding how they want to practice and securing a solid financial foundation may be a real challenge in the coming years. Physicians shouldn't assume one option is better than the other. As a provider, this is the time to weigh options carefully in order to make a solid choice for the future. Learn more about locum tenens and what it can do for your career.