How we’ve stayed true to our mission during unprecedented times.
“Resilient” is the word that comes to mind when I think of Hayes Locums, and our people, in 2021. This is how I answered recently when I was asked to reflect on our company’s locum tenens performance this past year.
First came the downturn of 2020.
I remember when COVID-19 first began having an effect on the healthcare industry. Hospitals were overwhelmed with patients suffering from the virus, and they had locked down much of their facilities. Procedures and visits that weren’t related to COVID, or otherwise absolutely essential, were canceled or postponed. From coast to coast in the United States, this was the norm. As a result, demand for locum jobs stood still.
Our demand was halted overnight. I was fearful we would have people coming into the office to watch the paint dry.
But, I was heartened when I saw the Hayes Locums consultant staff use this time to reach out and shore up the provider relationships that we already had. I could see that our focus was going to stay just as it was pre-COVID—to provide quality matches between the provider and the facility, resulting in quality patient care.
While demand was slow, and new healthcare recruitment opportunities were rare, our consultants still assessed every match with the same scrutiny we had always used. We didn’t fill a spot just for the purposes of filling a spot. We resisted the temptation to quickly add a placement during the dry spell. We did the work to find the right match, even if it meant losing a placement to another company.
Overwhelming 2021 demand did not knock us off course.
We were prepared to face the increased demand that was predicted for 2021, but it didn’t come in the first quarter when it was expected. Rather, it came in the third quarter. And, when greater numbers of patients began returning around July and August, they came back with more pent-up demand for care than was expected.
As the patients returned, we learned from the American Hospital Association that hospital employment had decreased by 94,000 personnel since the beginning of COVID. Among that decrease were the many retirements of physicians and advanced care providers. The patient backlog that followed was predictable.
The complete 180 in provider demand that followed was predictable, too. But the extreme whipsaw effect that came with it was not. It was the most shockingly strong and fast reversal in demand I have ever seen. Hayes Locums had prepared for the return of business, including adding dozens of new locums consultants prior to 2021. But, I will tell you that we did not anticipate the overwhelming demand for provider coverage that came through our doors in August—which continues to this day.
Even as the pendulum swung abruptly the other way, we still knew we had to remain focused on what we are all about—quality patient care.
This meant we would still follow our practice of finding a quality match between provider and facility, even during a string of months that brought unprecedented demand. Hayes Locums stayed the course.
Our mission of quality care remains unchanged.
As we enter the holidays, we are ready to refresh ourselves. After all, Hayes Locums had record volume in 2021. Looking back, I’m proud to know that Hayes is the same company today that it was before the COVID downturn, and the subsequent upswing.
Pre-COVID, during COVID and now—we are still pursuing our passion of matching the right physicians and advanced care practitioners with the right facilities. At the end of the day it’s still all about quality patient care. I’m proud to know that our mission is unchanged. We didn’t allow the winds to blow us around and change how we do things.
Going into 2022, I’m optimistic. Optimistic, because I know we are resilient. When we experience great shocks to demand, whether up or down, we are still able to listen to provider needs. We are still able to put locums providers in the right assignments, creating quality care and achieving provider career goals.
Thank you to all who worked for us in 2021 to provide quality matches for quality care. And, thank you to the healthcare professionals who trusted our consultants to assist in finding the highest quality matches in locum tenens opportunities.