It is common for medical practices to require substitute medical practitioners to fill in on a temporary basis for a variety of reasons. Medical malpractice insurance policies provide for this temporary coverage, but it is wildly misunderstood by many practitioners. The replacing practitioner must have the same training and provide the same medical procedures as the practitioner that they are replacing. The replacing practitioner may also be required to have a similar good claim history.
Locum Tenens as Defined by Merriam-Webster
“one filling an office for a time or temporarily taking the place of another —used especially for a doctor or clergyman” – “Locum tenens, translated from Latin, means placeholder.” Locum tenens practitioners essentially step into an existing position for a fixed and temporary period of time.
Locum Tenens Coverage in Practice
All medical malpractice insurance policies have a slightly different definition and requirements for this coverage. The licensed practitioner must be away from their position for a specific time and purpose (illness, continuing education, etc.). Typically this requires advance notice to your insurance agent so that they can obtain pre-approval from the insurance company.
Consider the following points about locum tenens coverage to determine if this is truly a benefit or liability to you. The “insured practitioner” is a separate person from the temporary replacement or “locum practitioner.”
- If locum tenens coverage is approved by the insurer, then a separate policy is not required for the temporary locum practitioner.
- If the locum practitioner does not have separate coverage, then the policyholder will carry the risk for any claims during the replacement period.
- If the locum practitioner has their own insurance policy, then their policy is primary over the insured practitioner’s policy.
- There are medical staffing companies that specialize in providing locum practitioners who are typically insured under the company’s blanket policy.
- Remember the more medical practitioners share their own insurance coverage, then the more risk and less coverage they have for themselves.
The proper use of a temporary locum practitioner can help to reduce the risk of unwanted claims to your medical practice. An independent agent can provide you with the best coverage options as your medical practice changes over time.
Aviso Insurance is an independent insurance agency that works for YOU, the medical professional. We have access to nearly all the medical malpractice insurance markets to serve you.
“At Aviso Insurance, we are proud to serve the many heroic professionals in our healthcare community.”
Dan Reale, Independent Agent/Owner – Telephone: (407) 808-6149
E-Mail: [email protected]