Understanding Your Locum Tenens Agreement

Looking to become a locum tenens physician? You’ll have to start with finding your agency and signing a locum tenens agreement. This can be a scary experience, especially since most contracts are full of legal jargon you may not understand. But, understanding your contract is key to your success.

Most often, a locum tenens agreement can equal up to 5 to 10 pages and will contain several paragraphs of text that may have nothing to do with the medical world. But this doesn’t mean you should skip over anything! You must read everything as carefully as possible.

Understanding Your Locum Tenens Agreement

As a locum tenens physician, you are considered an independent contractor. And, because the nature of a locum tenens assignment is relatively short-term work, the clauses and statements in a locum tenens agreement should be pretty straightforward.

Nonetheless, you are entering into a contract that greatly affects your career. It is a business agreement and there are a lot of aspects you should pay special attention to.

Things to Look For


Your locum tenens agreement may contain phrases or blanket statements that cover any assignments or placements you sign on for. Some of these travel placements can be up to 2 years long. If this is the situation, make sure any job placement is thoroughly outlined and you have an acceptance letter as a receipt.

Non-Compete Agreement

Some organizations may require that, while working for them, you do not accept any full-time position with the hospital you are traveling to. This is called a non-compete agreement and is typically a standard procedure in the health care industry and in locum tenens. Some organizations’ contracts require a predetermined length of time between working in the same location, should you switch agencies.

Malpractice Insurance

With any position serving as a health care provider, you should always have malpractice insurance. Some agencies provide coverage for their employees and others do not. If your company does not offer malpractice insurance in their contract with you, make sure to find your own coverage.

Covered Expenses

Before you embark on your locum tenens assignment, make sure you know which expenses your agency will cover and which they will not. This can include housing option, meal services, and even travel expenses like flights or car rentals.

Payment Options

Make sure to discuss with your agency when and how you will be paid before signing your locum tenens agreement. If they require a timesheet, make sure that is defined as to when and how that will be submitted. If you determine that getting paid a specific amount before or after each assignment is complete, let them know which way is best to deliver your payments.

Author: Troy Diffenderfer

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