Not all locum tenens physicians work locums full time; some work occasional locums shifts in order to earn extra money, to travel, or, like Dr. Chad Koyanagi, as a way to give back to the community. For psychiatrist Dr. Koyanagi, helping people is his mission, and he uses his expertise, compassion, and valuable skills and training to treat people in Hawaii with severe mental illnesses, including people living on the street.
Dr. Koyanagi works three part-time jobs, plus a locum tenens shift once a month at a hospital in Kona on the island of Hawaii. His locum tenens role fits into his mission of serving others, as he takes on a difficult-to-fill shift, helping people get the right treatment so they’re able to live productive lives.
His main job is for the State of Hawaii Medicaid office. He also works at a private hospital in the psychiatric unit, helping people in all types of severe mental health crises. “Given the right effectiveness of the hospitalization, they would never need to come back to the hospital,” he explains.
He also works with the Institute for Human Services (IHS) to do street medicine outreach to help people with mental illness living on the streets. “There are so many homeless people in paradise,” says Dr. Koyanagi. “Honolulu has the worst homeless problem in the entire nation.”
He says that all his roles work together. “By doing administrative and clinical and advocacy work for this population, I feel like all of the jobs are related and complement each other,” he says. “I have a pretty broad scope of how the system works for some people — and how it doesn’t work for others.”