While locum tenens contracts vary based on multiple factors like location and medical specialty, each assignment follows a few set guidelines. Continue reading for a glimpse at the pay structure, benefits and additional perks associated with serving as a locum tenens physician.
Locum doctors are paid an hourly rate throughout the length of their contract. Overtime pay is also available to physicians who choose, and many travel expenses can be written off as deductions. Bear in mind that, locum pay will not be taxed, so it’s best to distribute a specific amount of savings to a separate account should you need to allot pay towards your taxes.
Like most professions in the field, locum tenens physician pay rates take physician specialty, medical facility, and your geographic location into account. Physicians who specialize in family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine and hospitalists are consistently in high demand and can offer more competitive hourly rates. While you may find more competitive locum opportunities in cities like NYC and Chicago, you may also see higher pay rates in rural areas experiencing a scarcity of qualified physicians.
Locum tenens physicians are 1099 independent contractors; therefore, they are not eligible for traditional benefits like 401k matching and other retirement benefits. However, a locum physicians’ pay is not dependent upon patient’s payments or insurance. At the end of the contract term, physicians receive their pay and can move on to the next assignment.
Locum physicians also do not have to carry malpractice insurance while on a contract. For physicians without their own policies, your respective locum tenens staffing agency, like CoreMedical Group, will provide “A” rated medical malpractice insurance with tail for any assignments that you accept. Physicians receive coverage for their contracts, without the additional insurance premiums.
As a contract physician, you maintain the freedom to schedule your contracts based on personal availability. Travel the world and partner with experts in your field if you so choose. Try out some potential permanent opportunities before making a firm commitment and relocating your family. Contract work is a wonderful opportunity to pay down medical student loan debt (or splurge on your big-ticket wish-list items.)
3. A Reliable Agency
Finding a medical facility that contracts locum tenens physicians independently is very rare. Hospitals and practices depend on reliable medical staffing agencies to manage the vetting processes and find the best staff for their needs. Therefore, it’s essential to find an agency that belongs to the National Association of Locum Tenens Organization (NALTO®) and follows their standards. You can benefit from a locum recruiter negotiating contracts on your behalf, assisting with time-consuming licensing processes, and pointing you to proper housing for your next assignment.
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