Finding Locums Work: Using a Locums Company vs. Doing It Yourself
One of the most common pieces of advice I got when I started doing locums work was to avoid using locums companies and to “do it myself’. The rationale behind this well-meaning advice was that by doing it myself, I could cut out the locums company, skip the “middle man,” and make more money.
Throughout my decades-long locums career, I have had direct-hire locums assignments—where I worked with the facilities directly, without the help of a locums company. Although these assignments turned out well, they were not the solution I had hoped for. The pay was not much better than assignments I had obtained through locums companies, and I experienced more inconveniences as well.
When weighing the two—direct hire or hire via a locums company—it was clear there was a lot to consider. Over time, I learned tips for what to keep in mind and pay attention to:
The Pay Rate and Pay Schedule. Contrary to popular belief, you may not be able to negotiate a higher pay rate when working with a facility directly (as opposed to working with a locums company). Some facilities have a set rate they are willing to pay their locums/independent contractor physicians regardless of whether they are working with a locums company or not. In addition, many facilities do not offer direct deposit and only pay monthly. The vast majority of locums companies offer direct deposit and pay bi-weekly or even weekly. That means you never have to worry about when you are going to get paid. Knowing your money has been electronically deposited into your account on a certain day is much easier than wondering if your check is “in the mail.”
Malpractice Insurance. When working with a facility directly, be sure to inquire about malpractice insurance. Some facilities will provide it, while others require you have your own policy. However, all locums companies provide malpractice coverage. Therefore, if you are unwilling or unable to obtain your own individual policy, and you must have a policy for each state in which you work, then working with a locums agency is your best bet.
Licensing and Credentialing. When working with a facility directly, you are responsible for obtaining your own medical license and DEA number. In addition to that, you are responsible for completing all the paperwork for the credentialing. This can be quite time-consuming. With a locums company, you have the benefit of partnering with their licensing and credentialing specialists. Each company usually assigns you one credentialing analyst that handles the process.
Travel and Lodging. When working directly with a facility, be sure to inquire about travel accommodations. Most facilities require you make and pay for your own travel and lodging. They will reimburse you after you submit the receipts. On the other hand, most locums companies pay upfront for your travel accommodations and have travel departments that will make the reservations for you. These travel departments are staffed 24/7, which comes in handy in case of a travel emergency or an unexpected change in plans.
As you can see, locums companies offer benefits that may not be available if you work directly with a facility. The great thing about doing locums is you have the option to choose who you want to work with and how you want to work with them.
Should you choose to work with a locums company, I recommend Floyd Lee Locums. Floyd Lee Locums is a concierge locums staffing agency that pays its physicians competitive rates, provides top-notch malpractice insurance, has a robust licensing and credentialing department, and offers superb travel and lodging. They specialize in making your locums experience an enjoyable one. Contact them today at 843.900.4185 or www.floydleelocums.com.
Contributed by: Dr. Stephanie E. Freeman.
Stephanie E. Freeman, MD, earned her Medical Degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and her Critical Care Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Freeman also completed a Geriatrics fellowship at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. She obtained her Masters of Business Administration at Auburn University.