What to know if you want direct contracts as a CRNA | Agencies, VMS, MSPs, Groups, Hospitals

Locum tenens agencies may use several types of contracts to gain market share, secure opportunities, and increase their internal revenue.

The most advantageous type of contract for any agency is a direct contract. In this arrangement, the agency directly communicates with the healthcare facility. This direct communication allows the agency to negotiate terms and rates, work with the department, represent the healthcare provider, and most importantly, establish a direct relationship with the hospital or group.

Another type of contract an agency may hold is through a Vendor Management System (VMS). A VMS is a technology platform that automates recruitment workflows, centralizes data, provides analytics, and increases supplier visibility. One of the most widely recognized VMS systems is LocumsMart.

When an agency uses a VMS system to secure jobs for healthcare providers, it submits your name as one of many bids for the same position. Typically, there is no direct relationship or communication with the healthcare facility. The facilities are also unaware of the agencies from which the bids originate.

An MSP, or Managed Service Provider, serves as a strategic partner for agencies. MSPs adopt a holistic, strategic approach to manage the recruitment process. They operate as partners and advisors to agencies, fostering collaborative relationships with hiring managers, HR departments, and locum tenens agencies.

When an agency collaborates with a Managed Service Provider (MSP), such as a Vendor Management System (VMS), it competes for the same job with other agencies and healthcare providers. However, partnering with an MSP creates a more personal connection between the agency, the MSP, and the healthcare facility or group. As it’s easier to build a relationship with an MSP, the agency can more effectively advocate for you, representing your skills, needs, and desires to a healthcare facility.

A downside of a locum tenens agency partnering with a Vendor Management System (VMS) or Managed Service Provider (MSP) is the involvement of multiple layers and people compared to a direct contract. This can lead to potential issues during the process and communication delays from the agency to the healthcare provider. It might also result in the misrepresentation of the healthcare provider. In certain instances, this may provoke unethical business practices from the agency due to high competition in submitting their healthcare providers for bids or job openings.

When working with a locum tenens agency, always remember ‘speed to presentation’ is what will help make you a top clinician candidate for them. Healthcare facilities are likely to review the first five CV’s that come to them. Here are a few tips you can use that may help you get selected for positions that are through a MSP or VMS:

  1. Ask your agency if the opportunity is a direct contract or if it’s through a VMS or MSP.
  2. Ask your agency how many CV’s have already been submitted.
  3. Make sure your CV is month/year format with any gaps explained.
  4. Provide the agency with any documents they may need to include with your CV to the healthcare facility (copy of license, board certificate, NPDB, etc). Your free Lokum App credentialing library should help you keep track of all your documents.
  5. If the agency shares an opportunity with you to help increase your probability of being selected, ensure that you respond to the agency quickly and get the agency any documents they may need on time.
  6. Every agency should disclose the name of the facility, the location, and the compensation before you are presented. An agency should never share your CV without your permission. To learn more about the ethics and guidelines that locum tenens agencies have to follow, visit NATLO (The National Association of Locum Tenens) where you can download their best practices guidelines.

For a better understanding of MSP and VMS in the staffing industry, refer to this article by QX Global Group, which outlines the difference between the two and the roles they play in the staffing industry.

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