Locum Tenens Physicians are, as a rule, protected by Medical Malpractice Insurance Policies, no additional premium, few territorial restrictions, no hassle. In fact, The Doctors' Company offers each physician up to 30 free locum tenens days; this is to support the commitment to ongoing education, the importance of rest, vacations and life long medical learning.
According to Crittenden Medical News: A handful of medical malpractice carriers expect a reversal of the recent decline of locum tenens doctors; and, thus a rise in the rates and overall premium in volume. A Survey cited in the recent Medical Insurance News issue indicated that physician staffing trends show a drop in the number of health care facilities who used locum tenens doctors from 2005 to 2011. There is, during that period a higher demand for primary care and emergency locum tenens, general surgeons, psychiatrists and hospitalists. There is also an increased percentage of health facilities using locum tenens physicians until they hired permanent doctors; the increase in the locum tenens use is 57 % in 2011 from the number measured in 2005. The number of facilities bringing in locum tenens personnel to meet rising patient demand also rose from 2 % increase in 2005 to 8 % in 2011.
The issue that we confront most often in our agency when providing medical malpractice insurance for Locum Tenens physicians is when do the groups actually add the physicians to the policies and when do they use the locum privileges offered under the terms of coverage. There is a problem in general in the medical malpractice industry: there is no easy way to 'try a physician' without binding some coverage that may carry with it the expensive tail encumbrance. This is where a locums policy (through an independent company) can come in to play. The independent locums agency allows you that flexibility without committing to a policy, without having to add a physician to the policy before you know they are going to stick!
The Doctors' Company, and The Doctors' Insurance Agency has created auxiliary physician headers which allow for an hourly rating of physicians, under the group policy including tail. This solution allows for the group to try the physician, cover them properly under the group's Doctors' Company Policy and protects them going forward should they not work out.
Locum Tenens Physician usage is definitely on the increase in this new health care paradigm; the need for physicians and the resourcefulness of physician groups will be tested in the coming years. Rely on The Doctors' Insurance Agency to help your group find affordable and responsible solutions to this problem.