A Quick Guide to Your Locum Tenens Contract
There’s a lot to consider when you’re making a move into locum tenens work. From the patients you’ll see, to the skills you require, the schedule you’ll work, and the pay you’ll receive, each part of this decision requires thoughtfulness. You should also understand the basics of a locum tenens contract in order to make the best decision for your career.
A locum tenens contract is a crucial document that outlines the scope of work, benefits, liability, and other essential conditions of your employment. It’s important to review each component carefully before signing so that you understand the terms and conditions. Medicine is a highly regulated industry, and your contract will reflect that.
Your consultant can help you understand your contract, but here are some key things to review in your locum tenens contract:
The procedure section outlines your responsibilities regarding document provision, drug screening, criminal background check, and other necessary pre-employment steps.
You’ll agree to provide your consultant or credentialing specialist with current copies of your curriculum vitae, all state licenses, certifications, credentialing, and written references. Your contract may also stipulate other required documents.
You agree to provide competent medical services according to your professional training, skills, and knowledge to assure continuity of care in accordance with medical protocols.
You also agree to comply with the Health Insurance Portability Act of 1996 (HIPPA), which requires the safeguarding of Protected Health Information (PHI) and all other applicable State and Federal Laws and Regulations.
You must confirm that your license(s) are current, active, and in good standing for the duration of each locum tenens assignment.
If your licenses, certifications, or credentials expire or are suspended, you must provide your consultant with written notice immediately.
Your contract should outline how and when you’ll be paid and how to submit your timesheet. It should also include details of overtime, on-call, and any holiday pay.
As an independent contractor, remember that you’re responsible for paying income tax, social security, Medicare, self-employment tax, and all other federal, state, and local taxes. You’ll receive a 1099 form at the beginning of each year from your agency, detailing the total amount of income received from them during the previous year, which you must report.
Discussing your tax obligations with an accountant or financial advisor is prudent to ensure you’re prepared.
Your contract may include a stipend for housing and travel expenses, it may outline reimbursement procedures, or it may explain how internal travel teams will schedule travel for you.
Read the details carefully to determine what’s included and how much you can expect to receive. It’s also important to understand what you need to provide, such as receipts and any deadlines for submission.
Generally, you’re responsible for personal expenses such as telephone, laundry, dry cleaning, meals, and similar charges. If in doubt, ask your consultant for clarification.
PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE
Malpractice insurance should appear in your contract as a standard provision, and it’s guaranteed if the agency belongs to the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (Note: Integrity Locums is a NALTO member).
You should find coverage details, policy type, terms, limits, tail coverage, and other pivotal information. Coverage must apply for each assignment no matter when a claim is made. It should also include an Extended Reporting Endorsement, commonly known as tail coverage which ensures you’re protected after the policy expires or is canceled.
When you take an assignment with a facility, generally, you’ll agree not to accept permanent or temporary positions directly with that organization for a set period unless they pay a recruitment fee. At Integrity Locums and most other locums agencies, it’s 2 years.
Contracts should be fair and equitable for you and the employer, so you should find termination provisions for both parties in your contract. These outline the conditions under which either party can end the contract and any required notice.
As a rule, employers can terminate a contract at any time for reasons including breach of duties or obligations, loss of current licensure, disciplinary actions, or other justified causes.
You can terminate the agreement without notice for health reasons, and both parties can terminate the agreement with 30 days written notice. Although the cancellation policy is usually 30 days, there are times when the cancellation policy will be less than that.
Because agencies handle cancellations differently, be sure to get all the details in writing upfront so you’re clear on your obligations and rights.
Taking the leap to locum tenens work means embarking on an exciting new adventure. First, however, it’s critical to have everything in writing so all parties know exactly what to expect.
Be sure to read your contract thoroughly and ask your consultant to clarify anything unclear before you sign on the dotted line. Working with a reputable locum tenens agency can take the guesswork out of contract negotiation and ensure you have a positive, productive experience.
If you’re ready to get started, Integrity Locums can help. We’re one of the nation’s leading locum tenens staffing agencies, and we work with facilities across the country.