Medicus Healthcare Solutions

The Truth about Working With a Locum Tenens Staffing Firm

Regardless of whether you have thought for years about pursing the locum tenens practice alternative or are just beginning to explore the possibility, you have probably heard different things, some of them conflicting, about working as an independent contractor.

In previous posts, we have debunked several of the myths associated with working locum tenens and highlighted the facts. Here, we are going to dispel a few of the fallacies that residents, foreign-trained doctors, and other physicians—as well as advanced practice providers and CRNAs—may have encountered about working with a locum tenens staffing company.

Myth
The fees paid by the hospital or healthcare organization to the locum tenens staffing firm come out of the compensation offered to the provider.

Fact
While health systems, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations often have a director of physician recruitment and possibly a full- or part-time coordinator, it is not realistic to think that these individuals will handle all of a facility’s recruitment for the year—particularly when the need is great. Rather, they will likely augment their recruitment efforts by budgeting for assistance from one or more staffing agencies.

For example, if an organization chooses to work with a retained search firm on all of its family medicine recruitment, it will not be putting its dollars into advertising, too. Instead, it is joining forces with a company that is held accountable to filling these open positions. And in cases where a physician recruitment team uses a contingency-based firm, if the company finds the candidate(s) before the hospital’s in-house division does, the facility saves the money it would have spent on both advertising and manpower.

In truth, most hospitals have a recruitment plan that budgets a specific amount, such as 15 to 20 percent of recruitment efforts, for utilizing search firms. What’s more, some facilities partner with a retained search firm 100 percent of the time.

Myth
You have to pay a staffing company to help you find an opportunity.

Fact
This seems to be a recurrent misconception among residents just finishing their training and J1 or H1 candidates who are looking for visa sponsorship. Reputable, trustworthy staffing firms—including those that offer locum tenens opportunities as well as permanent placement services—will never ask you to pay for their assistance in securing a job.

If a staffing company requests payment for this service, do not work with them. Instead, seek recommendations from peers and friends, and continue your search for a respectable agency. And if the business in question is a locum tenens staffing firm, report the incident to the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO) and seek the services of a reputable NALTO member company, which is held to ethical business standards and practices.

Myth
You are better off handling negotiations on your own instead of getting assistance from a recruiter.

Fact
If you discuss important factors like scheduling and compensation directly with a facility’s recruitment representative, you get job particulars from one source—the organization interested in using your services temporarily or hiring you full time. However, when you partner with a recruiter who specializes in finding quality locum tenens assignments and/or permanent positions for clinicians, he or she is a neutral party who wants to make sure both your needs and those of the client facility are being met, and that it is a good match.

A personal recruiter will walk you through the process and ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. What’s more, he or she will handle what could possibly be uncomfortable discussions around compensation, CME, relocation allocation, and other potentially delicate matters.

To learn How Working Locum Tenens Could Help You Meet Your Goals and more, visit our blog and call 855-301-0563 to speak with an experienced, knowledgeable Medicus Healthcare Solutions recruiter today.