Number of locum tenens by state

Locum tenens are healthcare providers that work on a short-term, contractual basis. These providers are important to healthcare because they can help fill critical roles when a provider leaves a facility, takes a vacation or goes on sabbatical. Locum tenens workers also offer extra support during peak seasons or public health emergencies.

As the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the U.S. in 2020, hospitals began to see increased rates of physician burnout and departure, exacerbating a physician shortage that had begun prior to COVID. As a result, demand for locum tenens increased dramatically and has shown no signs of slowing down. The increased utilization of locum tenens to fill physician vacancies shows up in hospital costs, with contract labor spending by hospitals and IDNs increasing by 9% between 2019-2021.

Definitive Healthcare predicts utilization of locum tenens physicians based on a proprietary algorithm that analyzes a physician’s recent billing activity and network affiliations. Organizations use this data for staffing planning.

Below, we rank all states’ 2022 locum tenens physician engagements, including the District of Columbia:

2022 state rankings by number of predicted locum tenens physicians

Rank State Predicted Number of Locum Tenens Physicians
1 Texas 8715
2 California 7765
3 Ohio 4809
4 Pennsylvania 4484
5 Florida 4442
6 New York 3640
7 Michigan 2736
8 Georgia 2446
9 Illinois 2198
10 Massachusetts 2196
11 Wisconsin 1906
12 Kentucky 1807
13 New Jersey 1752
14 Louisiana 1711
15 Washington 1680
16 Minnesota 1646
17 Indiana 1615
18 Tennessee 1441
19 Maryland 1308
20 Missouri 1270
21 Colorado 1181
22 Virginia 1154
23 South Carolina 1128
24 North Carolina 1089
25 Arizona 1057
26 Alabama 1011
27 Oklahoma 863
28 Connecticut 749
29 West Virginia 745
30 Oregon 663
31 Mississippi 591
32 Utah 585
33 Maine 563
34 Iowa 492
35 Kansas 473
36 Nevada 417
37 Arkansas 413
38 New Mexico 352
39 New Hampshire 344
40 Delaware 342
41 Idaho 291
42 Nebraska 262
43 Washington D.C. 221
44 Hawaii 165
45 Montana 147
46 South Dakota 137
47 Rhode Island 112
48 Vermont 95
49 North Dakota 54
50 Alaska 42
51 Wyoming 38

Fig. 1 - Data is from the Definitive Healthcare PhysicianView Product. Data is predicted based on a proprietary algorithm that analyzes a physician’s recent billing activity and network affiliations. Accessed August 2022.

Which cities have the most locum tenens physicians?

The top 5 U.S. cities with the most locum tenens are: Houston (1,144), Los Angeles (742), New York (635), Dallas (631), and Chicago (612).

Top primary specialties of locum tenens

Currently, the three specialties in the U.S. with the most active locum tenens are family practice (13,222), internal medicine (12,325), and emergency medicine (6,349).

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