Medical Doctor Associates - Utilizing Locum Tenens
Medical Doctor Associates - Facilites

How Does Locum Tenens Work?

What is Locum Tenens?

“Locum tenens” is a Latin phrase that loosely translates to mean “to hold a place.” A locum tenens physician or advanced practitioner temporarily fills in for another during vacations, maternity leave, conferences and other absences. While emergency coverage has been the traditional use for locum tenens providers, in recent years, they have also been used to launch new services or fight physician burnout.

It’s easy to get started with MDA. Simply call 800.780.3500 and ask to speak with an account manager that serves your geographic area. This account manager, who will be your single point of contact for every assignment, will guide you through every step in the staffing process and will ensure that you find the best fit for your facility. You can also request coverage here.


Our Business is Your Mission

No matter the size of your facility or the community you serve, every health system, hospital, clinic and practice shares a common mission: Care for All. At Medical Doctor Associates, Care for All is our business and our purpose. You are the first point in patient care and we aim to be your trusted partner in that important endeavor.

Whether your locum tenens or temporary staffing needs are planned or unexpected, MDA can help you find the right person quickly. We strive to make every placement simple and fast with our unique Single Point of Contact Service. You only have one name to remember and one call to make, no matter if you are staffing for one specialty or 12. And with a team of specialty-specific recruiters working with your account manager to staff each job, we can rapidly identify and present you with well-qualified candidates for every coverage need so your patients never endure a lapse in care. Contact us today to learn more.

Fulfilling Long-term Healthcare Staffing Needs

Locums-to-perm (also known as temp-to-perm or temporary-to-permanent) staffing arrangements have great benefits for medical facilities and healthcare professionals alike. A temp-to-perm position is essentially a working interview and can deliver:

  • Better provider fit. Save time and money by ensuring a solid match before extending a permanent offer.
  • Increased retention. The provider and his or her family members have an opportunity to experience your community before committing to relocation.
  • Continuity of care. There is no lapse in patient care. Your patients receive treatment while you evaluate the provider’s bedside manner and skills.

Medical Doctor Associates can help you determine if locums-to-perm staffing is right for your facility. Contact us to learn more about this staffing option or traditional permanent placement arrangements.

From the expense to a lack of provider experience, there are many misconceptions surrounding locum tenens coverage that often date back to the earlier days of this staffing solution. The good news for health systems, hospitals, clinics and practices is that locum tenens has come a long way in recent years and it can deliver big benefits to facilities, providers and patients alike, including:

  • Filling in for unexpectedly absent providers. Locum tenens is a great solution for coverage in these situations, ensuring that your providers take the time they need to be well again while also ensuring that your patients receive the care they need so they don’t have to seek it elsewhere.
  • Vetting new permanent hires. If you have open positions to fill, locum tenens is a great “try before you buy” way for both parties to thoroughly and meaningfully assess whether the opportunity and the provider are a good fit before agreeing to something permanent.
  • Accommodating seasonal variations in patient volumes. If your medical facility is located near a popular seasonal destination such as a beach town or ski resort, or in many other places throughout the nation that experience strong seasonal fluctuations in patient count, you may know all too well how patient volumes can be boom or bust from season to season. Locum tenens providers are a cost-effective solution that improves patient satisfaction while fighting staff burnout.

Starting a new service. Utilizing locum tenens providers to start a new service allows facilities to minimize their investment in what may or may not be a successful venture while still aiming to broaden their horizons and boost their bottom line.

NCQA Certified Credentials Verification

Our in-house credentials verification organization, known as CREDENT, is another way that Medical Doctor Associates has streamlined the placement process to make it easier for our clients. CREDENT adheres to strict credentialing standards and is certified by The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) – a designation that only a handful of organizations throughout the country have earned.  We recognize our clients’ need to maintain regulatory compliance, and certification by national oversight bodies such as NCQA is just one way that MDA supports the compliance efforts of healthcare facilities.

Prior to being presented for a position, every medical provider must undergo a thorough review of his/her credentials and qualifications, including primary source verification of core credentials and a review of peer references. This rigorous screening process helps to ensure that you have all of the information you need to make the best staffing decisions for your facility. The desire to deliver quality healthcare in a timely manner is one we share with our clients; it has always been part of MDA’s DNA, and we are honored to help clients achieve that goal.

Q: What does the term "locum tenens" mean?

A: "Locum Tenens" is a Latin phrase that loosely translates to mean "to hold a place." A locum tenens physician or advanced practitioner is one who temporarily fills in for another provider while they are out on vacation, maternity leave, professional training, etc. The term is now often expanded to mean a provider who is filling any gap in a medical staff, whether temporarily filling in for another, filling a vacancy until a permanent healthcare professional is hired or assisting with seasonal coverage needs.

Q: What are some of the advantages of locum tenens vs. permanent practice?

A: Working as a locum tenens healthcare professional with Medical Doctor Associates offers a greater level of choice and control in your career path, as well as the ability to travel and explore new practice settings. Additionally, physicians and advanced practitioners doing locum tenens work are able to concentrate on patient care and avoid much of the paperwork associated with traditional practice.

Q: I just retired. Is locum tenens a good fit for me?

A: Many providers who step back from the rigors of a busy day-to-day practice still enjoy practicing medicine on a limited basis. Locum tenens allows you to control your schedule and choose the times and places to practice. It allows you the freedom to do what you enjoy & practice medicine.

Q: Can I bring my spouse and/or children with me while fulfilling a locum tenens contract?

A: In most cases, yes. In some cases, you can even bring your pets too! A good reason for choosing to work locum tenens before going into a permanent practice is so your family can experience the community before moving. Bringing your family along while you provide coverage isn't a problem, but each opportunity has its own parameters, and it is best to speak with your recruiter to determine the best scenario for traveling with your family.

Q: How much control will I have over the location of my locum tenens assignments?

A: It's all up to you. Freedom of choice and flexibility are big benefits of locum tenens. The more flexible you are about where you will work, the more opportunities we can present for your consideration. However, it is not uncommon for a locum tenens healthcare professional to restrict himself/herself to working exclusively in one state or region.

As a locum tenens physician or advanced practitioner, you are an independent contractor and are completely free to determine the direction of your career & how often you work, where you work and how long you work.

Q: How long do locum tenens contracts last?

A: Locum tenens contracts range in length from just a few days to in excess of a year. Contract lengths vary as much as the reasons why facilities need locum tenens coverage. The specialty in which you practice greatly influences the average contract length.

Q: Does MDA provide employment benefits to locum tenens healthcare professionals?

A: No. While there are many advantages to working in locum tenens, you are an independent contractor and are not eligible for employee benefits. However, you are eligible for a great deal of other benefits that come with working as an independent contractor. Consult a tax professional for more details.

Q: How does MDA pay contracted locum tenens workers?

A: Locum tenens physicians and advanced practitioners are independent contractors and competitive compensation is typically based on hourly shifts or daily terms. Providers are paid weekly, and professional liability, travel and lodging expenses are covered as needed. As an independent contractor, taxes are not withheld and you will receive a 1099.

Q: Am I responsible for my own travel and housing for each locum tenens contract?

A: It depends on the client's needs and your preferences, but generally no, unless otherwise agreed. MDA will arrange for all your travel and housing with our in-house Travel and Housing Department, and the costs will be paid by the facility where you will provide services. This excludes situations where the locum tenens provider lives locally.

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