By Scott Beck, CEO, CHG Healthcare.
Thousands of physicians leave their homes every day and travel across the country to fill both short- and long-term needs. Called locum tenens, this group of traveling, temporary physicians often treat patients who would otherwise not receive care.
History of locums
The idea of a traveling, temporary physician was created in 1979 to help address rural physician burnout and the subsequent abandonment of practices. At the time many physicians didn’t have resources to take time off for CME courses, vacations or to even take a sick day. The University of Utah’s College of Medicine and Intermountain Healthcare created the Health Systems Research Institute. The institute’s purpose was to bring rural doctors to the University of Utah for courses to help them run their practices efficiently. The program assembled a network of doctors to cover the practices while the rural physicians were attending the program.
Word of the work being done by HSRI spread and soon there were demands for temporary coverage at facilities around the country and the locum tenens industry and the company that would eventually become CHG Healthcare was born.