Advantages for Locum Tenens
The supply side of the equation is changing too. There’s a growing recognition among locums – both physicians and nurses – that contract work has certain advantages. Such flexible arrangements are appealing because there is more opportunity for the medical professional to control their own schedule. Physicians and nurses can be employed for long periods and then take months off work; equally, they might be able to work fewer hours and yet achieve the same level of income.
Meanwhile, it’s recently become easier for doctors and nurses to work further afield from a licensing point of view. In 2017, a new Interstate Medical Licensure Compact was created that introduced an expedited pathway for physicians who wish to practice in multiple states.
Changing work patterns have implications for Disability Income insurance underwriters. In particular, they need to clarify the contractual arrangements of locums when looking at a proposal.
Locum tenens contracts can be written directly with a hospital or clinic, or their contract can be with a specialist employment agency that provides staff to hospitals and clinics. The contractual timeframe varies for each role, and this can make it difficult to determine insurability and the amount of earned income for disability coverage.
Generally, locums are paid as independent contractors and receive form 1099‑NEC income for tax reporting purposes. The contracts may allow lodging, travel, and mileage reimbursements. But from an earned income standpoint, it’s best to ignore the reimbursements and focus on the payment for services. Overall, locum tenens and traveling nurse proposals should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.