A Money-Making Use of Locum Tenens: Telehealth Services

You bring on locum tenens healthcare professionals for one or more reasons: 

  • You’re short-staffed during a big uptick in patient needs. 
  • Two or three nurse practitioners have gone on vacation at the same time, leaving you short-staffed. Hello, locum NPs! 
  • One or more physicians retires….or decides to leave the profession, joining hundreds of thousands of healthcare pros who left medicine since the pandemic.  
  • You’ve decided to expand your telehealth services, thus not only helping busy patients receive the healthcare they need, but also helping – for example – rural patients who live far from your nearest facility. 

Each of these uses is terrific: patients receive care, your other healthcare providers aren’t overwhelmed having to do extra to make up for the absent colleague, etc. 

Yet there’s another important reason to use locum tenens pros: 

Additional revenue!

We’re not talking “just” making sure we’re fully staffed so that we can be sure to take care of all of the patients who need us.” 

Instead, we mean the potential to: 

  • Bill Medicare for physician services provided via telehealth. 
  • Prescribe controlled substances via telehealth while also using waivers for telehealth reimbursement. 

No more will you look at locum tenens pros as a mere “interim solution” to filling staffing gaps.  

Instead, you can look at them as true revenue generators, helping you expand your services, adding more patients to your base and tapping into new revenue opportunities.  

Medicare has broadened its coverage of telehealth services

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 expanded Medicare’s coverage of telehealth services for mental health issues. Healthcare facilities now can provide – and bill for – diagnosis, evaluation and/or treatment of mental health disorders, as well as for more physical/health issues 

Telehealth services for mental health were extremely underutilized by traditional Medicare recipients before the pandemic – just 0.3 percent of these Medicare users enrolled in Part B using telehealth services in 2016. 

Telehealth usage by traditional Medicare recipients expanded 63-fold between 2019 and 2020. Yet, during the pandemic’s first year, “more than 28 million Medicare beneficiaries overall used telehealth services.” 

Telephone and video telehealth reimbursement has since been permanently approved to cover the treatment of mental disorders via telehealth services. 

As for non-mental health telehealth reimbursement, Medicare has extended coverage for certain medical services (in addition to mental health) through the end of this year (2024). 

(Medical care covered includes phone/video calls with a patient’s physician, occupational therapists, physical therapists speech-language pathologists, and audiologists.) 

Telehealth services, manned by locum tenens professionals, could become a significant source of revenue for your medical/healthcare facility, whether a regional hospital or family practice. 

Higher-level locum professionals also can generate revenue for your facility

Check out our locum revenue generator tool to see how much additional income your practice/hospital could see when you partner with a locum tenens staffing such as ours. 

Learn more about how SUMO Staffing can help you not only help provide the type of healthcare services your patients want, but also how you can generate additional revenue for your practice.