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Demand for Temporary Doctors Rises Amid Worsening Physician Shortage

Forbes (05/15/12) Bruce Japsen

The doctor shortage is growing worse, and that shortage means doctors looking for temporary assignments are in demand. As more Americans gain health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act, the need for doctors is expected to grow.

AMN Healthcare subsidiary Staff Care says because hospitals and medical groups can’t find enough permanent doctors, they are increasingly turning to locum tenens doctors. “In a down economy, people don’t see the doctor unless they have to, either to avoid deductibles or because they are not insured—and there still are not enough physicians to go around,” notes Staff Care president Sean Ebner. The company says its number of “temporary days filled” for its clients rose to 183,252 last year from 181,834 in 2010 even at a time when hospitals and health facilities are seeing cuts in government health insurance programs that pay them.