The easiest and most effective way to find locums assignments is to work with a locums company. Because the demand for locum physicians has skyrocketed over the last few years, the number of locums companies has increased to meet this demand. While most locums companies are reputable and provide good service, there are a few companies that are not so great. Because working with a bad locums company can negatively impact your locums experience, it is imperative that you carefully consider which companies with which to work. Here are five things to consider when deciding on a locums company.
- How long as the locums company been in business/how much experience does your locums recruiter have? These are important question to ask because you want to make sure you are dealing with a reputable company. You need to make sure that the company is financially stable and that they can provide the services they promise and that they can pay you on time. You also need to make sure that your locums recruiter has experience in the industry and can find you good assignments and will guide you through the process. Even if you choose to work with a young company, be sure that the owners of the company and the employees have extensive experience in the locums industry. Make sure your locums company and locums recruiter has successfully placed other physicians like you. For example, if you are a plastic surgeon, it is probably not the best idea to work with a locums company/recruiter that focuses mainly on primary care. Along those lines, make sure your recruiter has an excellent knowledge of your specialty and has experience in working with physicians like you.
- Find out what services the company provides. Most locums companies provide the same services for their physicians. It is standard for them to provide licensing and credentialing services. This includes obtaining your medical license, DEA number, and hospital privileges. Some companies, however, require that you work for them for a set period in exchange for them obtaining your medical license for you. Make sure that the locums company has a robust licensing and credentialing department, in order to make the process as smooth as possible. The locums company will also provide medical malpractice coverage for each assignment. Most locums companies will also provide travel to and from your assignment. This includes flight, hotel, car rental, mileage reimbursement (if driving your own vehicle). Make sure you find out what travel arrangements/accommodation are provided and whose responsibility it is to make the arrangements. Most companies have travel departments that handle all the travel arrangements for you. However, some companies require that you make your own arrangements and then they will reimburse you. Be sure to get all this information in writing.
- Make sure that the locums company has active assignments. During your search for locums work, you will get numerous calls from locums recruiters. Many of these calls are “cold calls” so to speak. They are calling you to get information about you, the kind of work you are looking for, and your upcoming availability. However, a lot of times, these recruiters don’t have an active assignment that will interest you. While I recommend that you talk to as many recruiters as possible, be sure that you get something out of the conversation, as well. Specifically ask them if they have any assignments that are available for you. If they do, great. If not, then ask them to call you back when they get an assignment. You don’t want to waste your time going through the hassle of signing a contract and getting credentialed with a locums company that does not even have any work available for you to do.
- Make sure you have a good understanding of how their locums process works. Ask your locums recruiter to explain to you their process from start to finish. You need to know everything from how they will find you an assignment, provide confirmation of the assignment, get you licensed and credentialed, travel arrangements to the assignment, what to expect on the assignment, and how to get paid. Make sure you know who your contact person is. Will your locums recruiter be your contact person the entire time, or will another person be directly involved such as the account manager? How often can you expect to hear from your recruiter throughout the process? Who do you contact if you have questions/concerns?
- Ask for references. Before you decide to work with a locums company, ask them to give you the names of some physicians they have worked with. Talk to those physicians to see what their experience has been with the company. Just like the company is going to do a background check on you, be sure to do a “background” check on them as well. You should also ask other physicians who do locums what companies/recruiters they have used and would recommend.
For more information on choosing the right locums company, schedule your one-hour Locums Strategy Session with Dr. Stephanie.