Is There Value With Locum Tenens Coverage

The Latin (Medieval) meaning for locum tenens is “someone holding a place.” The definition has evolved over time to become “taking the place of someone temporarily.” Further defining the term as seen in the healthcare industry is “a provider who takes temporary assignments.” 

Most medical practitioners recognize the term, and a lot of them have performed in this capacity or worked alongside coverage locum tenens in various facilities. However, many need clarification on how the process works and the sort of benefits that come with the work, for instance valuable malpractice coverage locum tenens and above average salaries.

In the past, locums tended to be older professionals nearing retirement, preferring to take part-time assignments in an effort to close their practice gradually. This is still happening today, but these no longer make up the majority of the locum tenens population.

The field is growing and favored among new doctors attempting to discern where they want to concentrate their specialties. The flexibility to work in varied settings with different responsibilities and around a diverse group of professionals allows a chance to pick the most satisfying field. 

Let’s look at the attributes of a locum tenens from which patients and healthcare organizations can benefit.

Is There Value With Locum Tenens Coverage

Tens of thousands of physicians work locum tenens each year, and the industry is increasing steadily. These professionals cover when primary staff goes on vacation, medical absence, maternity leave, or fill in for permanent staff to avoid burnout.

The convenience and flexibility bring the utmost satisfaction to the locum and some benefits offer optimum protection. These doctors are allocated a greater salary generally than permanent physicians since many benefits are left to their own volition.

However, when working through a placement firm, the staffing agency will offer malpractice insurance while on assignment or the medical practice where the doctor will do their service will provide the coverage or you can get your own.

The benefit is based on the location of the contract making it a priority to question when speaking with recruitment advisors with each contract how it works while there.  Go to to learn about locum tenens benefits. Consider attributes of a locum tenens from which patients and medical communities can benefit.

How Does Locum Tenens Malpractice Coverage Work

Locum tenens are allowed to roam from hospital to clinic and various facilities to complete assignments they find appealing. 

Not only is there much value in discerning which locations, specialties, and groups they prefer, but there’s protections in place to ensure the physician can do so safely and within guidelines using adequate malpractice coverage. 

The practitioner can either obtain the coverage from the staffing agency, the medical practice where they do the service or obtain their own. Let’s look at each option. 

  • The staffing agency provides the malpractice insurance coverage

Probably the most straightforward method for obtaining malpractice coverage is by using the placement agency to handle the insurance plans. These are usually “claims-made” policies which cover you while on assignment.

With these if there’s a situation where a patient brings a lawsuit, the plan will offer coverage. Once the assignment is finished, it will no longer be in effect. That means if a patient you saw during that contract were to sue after the assignment ends, you will need to ensure that you have “Tail-Coverage.”

That offers protection when contracts end. On the other hand, there is “Occurrence coverage” that will provide insurance for locum tenens for any claim occurring while the policy is effective regardless of when the incident occurs.

These are more costly but a much better option. Plans are set based on geographical location, the locum’s specialty, and history with malpractice.

Claims-made coverage offered by staffing firms are usually for “up to one million dollars for every incident and a total of three million” and most will offer tail coverage.

In order to better protect themselves physicians often purchase Umbrella Plans in addition to cover anything that would exceed the staffing agency’s policies, but that’s unusual.

  • The locum tenens will buy individual malpractice insurance

This can be a daunting process, but most choose individual insurance plans because when pursuing coverage with a practice or group, locum tenens services might be a non-covered practice. The price point is a primary consideration. 

When using a staffing agency, the policies are negotiated into the contract as part of the benefits and salary. Obtaining your own allows you to negotiate higher rates but their overhead would be minimal considering they have the fortitude of gaining a new professional on their roster.

It’s a small price for them but could be exceptional for the locum. It’s important to ensure to find a way to get a return on this investment.

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  • Healthcare facilities might add the locum to their plan

Medical practices, clinics, or hospitals will sometimes add locums to their insurance policies as a benefit with the package. In the same vein as a placement agency, the medical practice will provide their coverage at a lesser rate during your assignment.

A priority is to review the plan to ensure you’re thoroughly covered while on the contract especially if you’re in a more remote location or with a smaller facility before presuming you have adequate coverage. You’ll need to check the amount of liability offered and the policy type.

The carrier should be familiar to you with a reputation that precedes it of quality and a solid following.

Final Thought

Locum tenens find the temporary opportunity valuable due to the convenience and flexibility the position offers. The priority is finding adequate malpractice coverage whether through the agency, the medical practice or pursuing it on your own. Click for financial takeaways for locum tenens.

Assuming these positions can lead ultimately to the specialty meant for you in the ideal location. 

In that same breath, their services are as valuable to the patients they see and the healthcare teams they work with. Some patients have little access to providers, especially in rural areas, and many medical communities are short-staffed. 

These practitioners fill in where they’re most needed to provide the kind of quality patient care people look for and that the locum got in the business to do.

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