Kaiser Permanente Northwest (KPNW) has attempted to deal with the issue of clinician absences by hiring outside agency locum tenens to fill in during short-term clinician absences. This has become increasingly costly and so a clinician float pool composed of Kaiser Permanente providers was established. The float pool is currently a group of seven physicians who provide care to patients in various KPNW clinics depending on the clinics' needs for clinicians. The float pool is expected to serve Kaiser Permanente financially and benefit its providers by allowing for a flexible work schedule. Patients will, hopefully, experience increased convenience when accessing the scheduling system.
This study was designed to gather input from physicians and administrators concerning the float pool, identify areas for improvement and develop recommendations.
KPNW clinicians and administrators who participate in and oversee the float pool were surveyed during individual 20-minute personal interviews using 18 qualitative-type questions. Financial data was also collected comparing agency locum tenens costs to costs for KPNW float pool clinicians. Data was compiled to determine the benefits as well as shortcomings of the float pool and recommendations were made for its improvement.
The clinician float pool is a feasible and beneficial option for filling short and long-term absences.
The float pool offers physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners who are fully trained in the Kaiser Permanente system, provide quality patient care in a time efficient and economical fashion and are available on an as needed basis to the clinics. These are all valuable features in any health care setting.
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