What is a Locum Tenens Physician?
If you’ve ever needed to see a doctor but couldn’t get an appointment with your regular physician, you might have seen a locum tenens physician. But what exactly is a locum tenens doctor? In short, they’re temporary physicians who fill in for other doctors on a short-term basis.
Whether to cover a vacation, illness, or other absence, locum tenens physicians are important in keeping medical practices running smoothly. Keep reading to learn more about the ins and outs of locum tenens physicians.
What Is Locum Tenens Physician?
Locum tenens physician refers to a doctor who provides temporary medical services to hospitals or medical facilities for a limited time. It is a Latin term that means “to hold the place of.”
These doctors work as substitutes for full-time physicians, who may be on leave or vacation, or to fill in staffing shortages. Staffing agencies often hire them and can travel to different locations to provide medical services, which can be an exciting opportunity to gain experience in different areas of medicine while providing care to those in need.
What Does Locum Tenens Mean?
Locum tenens is a Latin term that means “placeholder” or “substitute.” In the medical field, it refers to a healthcare professional who works on a temporary basis, filling in for another provider who is absent or on leave.
Locum tenens physicians are hired by hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities to cover short-term vacancies or to provide extra support during busy periods. It allows healthcare organizations to maintain continuity of care and ensure patients can access medical services, even when their regular providers are unavailable.
Why Would a Physician Want to Work Locum Tenens?
A physician might choose to become a locum tenens physician for various reasons.
One of the main reasons is flexibility. Locum tenens physicians can choose when and where they want to work, allowing them to balance work and personal life.
Another reason is variety. Working as a locum tenens physician allows doctors to work in different environments and with diverse patient populations, which can be exciting and challenging.
Locum tenens work can also be financially rewarding. Some locum tenens positions offer higher rates of pay than permanent positions. Additionally, locum tenens physicians are often provided housing, transportation, and other benefits, saving money and making the job even more appealing.
Becoming a locum tenens physician is a great option for physicians who value flexibility, variety, and financial reward.
Locum Tenens Physician Salary
A locum tenens physician is a doctor who works temporarily in place of another physician who is absent or on leave. They can work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices, and they are compensated for their services.
The salary for a locum tenens physician can vary depending on specialty, location, and experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, locum tenens physicians can earn anywhere from $100 to $200 per hour, or even more in some cases. It can translate to an annual salary ranging from $200,000 to $500,000 or more, depending on how many hours they work and their hourly rate.
Additionally, locum tenens physicians may receive other benefits such as housing, travel expenses, and malpractice insurance coverage, which can further increase their overall compensation package. Overall, being a locum tenens physician can provide financial and professional benefits, as it allows flexibility in scheduling and exposure to various healthcare settings.
Locum Tenens Physician Billing Guidelines
When a locum tenens physician provides medical services, the billing process can differ slightly from a regular physician.
Generally, the locum tenens agency will bill the insurance company or Medicare/Medicaid for the services rendered, and the payment will go to the agency.
Then, the agency will pay the physician for their services, minus any fees or commissions. Locum tenens physicians need to keep accurate records of their time and services and any expenses incurred, so the agency can properly compensate them.
Additionally, physicians should ensure they follow all the appropriate coding and billing guidelines set by insurance companies and government agencies such as CMS to avoid billing errors or issues.
What Are Examples of Locum Tenens?
Locum tenens is a temporary assignment that can be in various medical specialties. Some examples of locum tenens include primary care physicians, emergency room physicians, anesthesiologists, psychiatrists, dermatologists, and many more.
In essence, any physician who can work independently and on a temporary basis can be a locum tenens physician. The need for temporary coverage may arise due to vacation, illness, maternity leave, or other reasons that require a physician to be away from their practice for a short time.
Locum Tenens Physician Assistant
A Locum Tenens Physician Assistant (PA) is a healthcare professional who works as a temporary or contract employee instead of a permanent PA. They provide medical care to patients in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and private practices.
Locum tenens PAs have the same qualifications and responsibilities as permanent PAs, including conducting patient exams, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, prescribing medication, and developing treatment plans. However, depending on the specific assignment, they may work in different locations and for varying lengths of time.
Locum tenens work allows PAs to gain experience in different healthcare settings and specialties and the opportunity to travel and work in different parts of the country. It can also provide flexible work schedules and potentially higher pay rates than permanent positions.
However, like with any temporary work, there may be some drawbacks, such as uncertainty with job security and limited benefits. It’s important for PAs considering locum tenens work to weigh the pros and cons and carefully review their employment contracts before accepting any assignments.
Locum Tenens Nurse Practitioner
A locum tenens nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with advanced training who works temporarily to fill staffing gaps or provide coverage for regular NPs away from their practice. The term “locum tenens” refers to the temporary nature of the position, meaning that the NP is filling in for a short time before a permanent replacement is found.
Locum tenens NPs have the same qualifications and responsibilities as regular NPs. They diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and provide preventive health care services to patients. They may work in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, or private practices.
One advantage of working as a locum tenens NP is its flexibility. NPs can choose where and when they want to work, allowing them to gain experience in different settings and geographic locations. It can also provide an opportunity to earn higher pay rates than a regular staff position. Additionally, locum tenens work can be a great way to avoid the administrative duties that come with a permanent position, allowing NPs to focus solely on patient care.
Locum Tenens Hospitalist Gigs
Examples of locum tenens hospitalist gigs can include covering a physician’s vacation or leave of absence, filling staffing gaps due to an unexpected increase in patient volume, or serving as a temporary physician. At the same time, a hospital searches for a permanent replacement.
These temporary physician jobs can vary in duration, with some assignments lasting just a few days or weeks, while others can be several months long. As a locum tenens hospitalist, you will provide high-quality patient care, work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, and adhere to the hospital’s policies and procedures.
There are several ways to find locum tenens hospitalist gigs. One of the most popular methods is to work with a staffing agency that specializes in placing healthcare professionals in temporary positions. These agencies have established relationships with healthcare facilities and can match your skills and preferences with available positions.
Another option is to network with colleagues in your field and keep an eye out for job postings on online job boards or hospital websites.
Additionally, you can contact healthcare facilities you are interested in working with and inquire about locum tenens opportunities.
Researching and carefully evaluating potential opportunities is important to ensure they align with your career goals and priorities. Working with a reputable staffing agency can also provide additional support and resources throughout the job search and placement process.
Benefits of Locum Tenens for Physicians
Overall, locum tenens provide flexibility and freedom for healthcare professionals. You can choose where and when you want to work and even take breaks between assignments to travel, spend time with family, or pursue other interests.
Another benefit is the opportunity to gain new experiences and skills. With locum tenens assignments, you can work in various healthcare facilities, treating different patients and dealing with diverse medical cases. It can help expand your knowledge and enhance your professional development.
Locum tenens also provide financial benefits, often paying higher rates than permanent positions. Additionally, locum tenens assignments usually cover travel expenses, housing, and malpractice insurance, which can be significant cost savings for healthcare professionals.
Finally, locum tenens can offer a better work-life balance. You can control your schedule and workload, which can help reduce burnout and improve overall job satisfaction.
Locum tenens can be a great option for healthcare professionals looking for flexibility, professional development, financial benefits, and a better work-life balance.
We are a dedicated team of legal professionals specializing in physician contracts at Physician Contract Attorney. With years of experience in the healthcare industry, we deeply understand the challenges faced by physicians when navigating complex employment contracts. Our mission is to ensure that our clients are protected and well-represented. We focus on providing sound legal advice tailored to your unique needs, empowering you to negotiate your contract with confidence. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please reach out to us today.