Glossary of Healthcare Operations Terms

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Locum Tenens

What is Locum Tenens?

Locum tenens is a Latin phrase that translates to “placeholder” and can refer to anyone who fulfills the duties of another on a temporary basis. In healthcare, locum tenens refers to a substitute provider hired to take over a provider’s professional practice when they're absent or on leave.

In what context is Locum Tenens applicable?

Locum tenens providers offer health systems and group medical practices a flexible way to fill positions temporarily when their regular providers are on leave. For patients, the locum tenens provider performs the same services as the regular physician or other clinician.

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Frequently asked questions

How does locum tenens work in healthcare?
Locum tenens involves hiring temporary healthcare professionals to fill staffing gaps. This practice ensures continuity of care, especially during physician shortages or vacation periods, providing flexibility for healthcare organizations to maintain quality patient care.
What types of healthcare professionals can work as locum tenens?
Various healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, dentists, and allied health professionals, can work as locum tenens. This temporary staffing model helps healthcare organizations address staffing shortages and maintain continuity of care.
What benefits do locum tenens providers offer to healthcare organizations?
Locum tenens providers offer benefits to healthcare organizations by addressing temporary staffing needs during physician shortages, vacations, or peak demand periods. They help maintain continuity of care, prevent burnout among permanent staff, and ensure uninterrupted healthcare services.
How are locum tenens providers compensated for their services?
Locum tenens providers are typically compensated through daily or hourly rates, which may include a base salary, housing, travel allowances, and other benefits. Compensation varies based on specialty, experience, and the specific terms negotiated between the locum tenens provider and the healthcare organization.