Locum Privileges Decoded


privileges decoded

As a locum physician or APP, you’re a critical part of the medical system. Locums effectively fill staffing voids when team members are on vacation, sick, or because positions are open.

Working as a locum often means a temporary contract and medical credentialing and hospital privileging remain essential components of your work. They guarantee excellent patient care and the delivery of proper treatment from qualified clinicians.

You’ll need to establish privileges, such as admitting or surgical privileges, before performing specific duties at a facility. The privileging process follows medical credentialing. The organization then grants rights according to your medical credentials and performance.

In this post, we decode everything you need to know about locum privileges.


What do physicians need to know about hospital privileges?

Medical staff privileging is essential for patient quality of care and efficient running of the facility or hospital. Before an organization grants privileges, your credentialing must be completed to ensure you graduated from medical school, received certification, and hold a license to practice medicine in your specialty and state.

Hospital privileges are authorization for an individual to provide a specific service, procedure, or treatment for patients at a specified facility. Physicians must apply for privileges, and the costs and process vary considerably by the facility. Without privileges, a physician cannot provide services to patients.

Your privileges depend on the type of patient care you provide, meaning that some individuals qualify for all privileges while others have none.


Three types of privileging

Depending on your contract, you may have emergency, temporary or full privileges, according to the facility’s rules.

Some facilities have a two-step process, meaning that initially, they grant temporary or emergency privileges so that you can begin your contract on time. They may then grant full privileges later, depending on the dates of their Medical Executive Committee (MEC), credentialing, and board meetings. The scheduling of these meetings varies by organization, and they could take place weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

You may also find facilities that choose not to grant temporary or emergency privileges, and instead, you must wait for full privilege authorization.

There are three primary categories of privileges:

  • Admitting privilege
  • Courtesy privilege
  • Surgical privilege

Admitting privileges

Admitting privileges or active privileges authorizes primary care physicians to admit patients into a facility under their care. These privileges allow you to work occasionally as a member of the medical staff.

If you have admitting privileges, you may admit your patients to the hospital without first admitting them to the ER. Typically, you’ll need to make a quick phone call and complete some paperwork to arrange your patient’s admittance.

You may find that facilities have specific staff members — hospitalist doctors — whose role involves admitting patients in line with their medical needs. They decide if someone is admitted and the order of admissions.

Courtesy privileges

Courtesy privileges allow you to admit or treat a limited number of patients occasionally or visit a patient about their medical care. These authorizations may be granted to physicians who have an association with the hospital but don’t intend to admit patients and carry out medical procedures at the facility themselves

With courtesy privileges, should one of your patients be admitted into a facility, you may visit but not treat them.


Surgical Privileges

Surgeons require surgical privileges to carry out their job. If you have surgical rights, you’re authorized to perform outpatient surgeries and use the hospital’s operating suites.

Physicians who work in surgical centers, medical facilities, general and specialized hospitals may require surgical privileges.


Are there any required forms?

One of the benefits of partnering with Integrity Locums is we make privileging a straightforward process. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief as our expert credentialing team is here help you every step of the way to ensure your privileging is effortless and efficient.


How long do privileges usually last?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for the duration of privileges, as it varies by facility. Some privileges only apply to the days you’re scheduled to work. At other facilities, your privileges could be granted for 30, 60, 90, or 120 days. You may also require re-credentialing annually or every two or three years.