In today’s challenging healthcare environment, certain influencers intensify the need for the routine use of temporary privileges and/or the ongoing use of locum tenens. A challenging recruitment and retention environment, as well as patient, community, and hospital needs, produce understandable pressure to quickly get certain practitioners and specialties credentialed and privileged.
Overuse or abuse of temporary privileges, however, can cause havoc for the organization. In general, the vast majority of practitioners are competent and there would be no quality issues (if the risk were higher, organizations would not be likely to grant temporary privileges as often as they do); however, the bottom line is that it takes only one bad outcome by a practitioner granted temporary privileges via an abbreviated process to fuel a negligent credentialing lawsuit. Ask any medical staff leader involved in credentialing or any medical services professional and they will emphatically agree that the function and associated tasks of granting temporary privileges and/or locum tenens take additional resources to manage.
The Greeley Company’s 4-page article, High-Risk Credentialing: Best Practices for Temporary Privileges and Locum Tenens, explores this topic.