The Low Down on Locum Tenens
What is Locum Tenens?
Locum tenens is a Latin phrase that means “to hold the place of.” In modern healthcare, locum tenens refers to the practice of using one physician on a temporary or interim basis in place of another.
Locum tenens is commonly used:
- To fill in for vacations, maternity and other leaves of absence.
- To provide coverage for a physician who is obtaining advanced training.
- To supplement practitioner staff levels during peak seasons.
- To staff rural facilities and other locations where full-time physicians may be hard to recruit.
- To ensure mandated coverage based on patient census.
- To relieve the workload (and stress) on physicians to reduce burnout (and turnover).
Why Locum Tenens?
In one word…coverage. In three words…cost-effective coverage.
Locum tenens is an ideal way to ensure continuity of care and prevent lost revenue while a permanent physician is out of the office or a position is being filled. On average, it can take up to nine months to locate a permanent provider. Using locum tenens will allow facilities to continue seeing patients while maintaining the highest standard of care and as a result, maintain a positive referral network for new patients.
In the wake of practitioner shortages, locum tenens is playing an increasingly important role in care delivery. It also helps balance workloads, mitigate stress on permanent physicians and reduce provider burnout.
Who uses locums?
Any facility or healthcare organization that employs physicians, advanced practice providers including physician assistants and nurse practitioners, CRNA’s or dentists. This can include hospitals, outpatient medical centers, physician practice management groups, government and military facilities, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and community health centers, correctional facilities, and other healthcare organizations.
Why do physicians choose locums?
There are many reason and motivations including but not limited to having both the freedom and flexibility of work schedule, earn competitive pay rates and extra income while having medical malpractice insurance covered, avoid politics and bureaucracy, travel opportunities to see various geographic locations and practice settings, gain professional and clinical experience, and identify permanent employment opportunities.