Interim Physicians Blog

How to Pick a Locum Tenens Company

Posted by Tim Hand, President & Chief Executive Officer on Oct 23, 2011 2:24:34 PM

Considerations for Choosing a Locum Tenens Company

With annual U.S. revenue estimated at approximately $2 billion, the locum tenens industry consists of more than 100 agencies nationwide. These locum tenens companies range in size from one or two recruiters working a single geography to staffs of more than 100 recruiters, account executives and support personnel in multiple offices across the country. Some firms even provide international placements.

NALTO and Industry Networking

How should one go about determining which firm or firms to work with? For physicians and healthcare organizations alike, selecting a locum tenens agency that belongs to the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO) is the best place to start. NALTO's mission is to provide a foundation of industry standards and ethical guidelines for companies offering locum tenens recruitment services.

While assisting the continuous education of locum tenens physicians, recruiters and clients, NALTO provides a forum for exchanging ideas about industry standards, market trends and the ethical business relationships. The organization's primary objectives include promoting a positive industry image, increasing member market share, and driving a peer review process based on excellence, honesty and fairness.

Beyond NALTO membership it's best to ask colleagues who have worked on a locum tenens basis/contracted for a locum tenens physician about the agencies they used and how they would rate their experience(s).

Next, review agency websites and talk with representatives from several locum tenens firms to compare work processes and practices.

Questions for Physicians to Consider:

  1. In what specialties does the agency provide physician coverage?
  2. Does the locum tenens firm currently have openings in the state(s) where you are licensed?
  3. How long has the company been in business?
  4. Does the locum tenens agency provide malpractice insurance for the providers it places? If so, is it adequate to meet your requirements?
  5. Are the company's pay rates competitive? What is its compensation process? How often could you expect to be paid?
  6. Will you have one primary contact within the agency through whom most communication is channeled? If so, will that person be readily available to answer your questions and guide you through the placement process? Or should you expect to interact with several agency representatives regarding various issues?
  7. Does the locum tenens firm representative seem interested in your background, motivations and preferences? Or is he/she simply pushing you to provide your CV?
  8. If your prospective assignment isn't local, who will handle travel and housing arrangements?

Questions for Healthcare Facilities to Consider:

  1. In what specialties does the locum tenens agency provide physician coverage?
  2. How long has the firm been in business?
  3. How does the locum tenens company promote its clients openings?
  4. How will the agency identify potential candidates to fill your opening?
  5. Does the locum tenens firm provide malpractice insurance for the providers it places? If so, is it adequate to meet your requirements?
  6. What are the agency's financial requirements of your facility?
  7. How is client-agency communication handled? Will you have one primary agency contact through whom most communication is channeled? If so, will that person be readily available to answer questions and provide status updates? Or should you expect to interact with several agency representatives regarding various issues?
  8. How does the locum tenens company ensure the details (e.g., licensing, credentialing, hospital privileges, travel and housing arrangements) are all taken care of so the physician can start working upon arrival?

Choosing the right locum tenens agency can make or break your experience. Don't just hope for professional service; do your homework to ensure you get it.

Topics: Locum Tenens