CRNAjobs.com Independent Contractor Guide
Practicing locum tenens means becoming an independent
- Which agency is right for me?
- What does LocumTenens.com offer?
- What are the JCAHO and NCQA Requirements to work locum
- What is involved with becoming an independent contractor?
- Am I ready to try locum tenens work?
Thinking about trying locum tenens work?
If you want a flexible work schedule and you handle change well,
you're probably a good fit for this style of practice. But before
you pack your bags, take some time for introspection. What aspects
of your personal and professional life are most important to you?
For example, would you rather develop a few lasting friendships or
meet a large circle of acquaintances? Do you prefer structure and
consistency or continually charting new paths? What are your
reasons for considering locum tenens practice? Maybe you yearn to
"see the world" before you put down roots. Or maybe you've been
doing the same thing in the same place for a long time and you're
ready for a change of pace. Perhaps you're close to retirement and
ready to cut back your schedule, but you need to maintain some cash
Evaluating Locum Tenens Agencies
The locum tenens industry is small, producing total revenue of
approximately $2.6 billion. There are about a dozen large,
well-established locum tenens companies. A large number of small,
regional or single-specialty agencies make up the rest of the
industry. There are more than 100 U.S. based companies providing
some temporary physician services, ranging in size from one or two
home-based employees, to the largest firm with more than 400
employees. With approximately 150 employees and more than a decade
in business, LocumTenens.com is one of the larger industry
Most established locum tenens companies maintain high standards
and do a good job for the healthcare industry. Many of the larger,
longer-standing agencies belong to the National Association of
Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO). NALTO members agree to follow
certain industry standards and practices, and to work
constructively with each other to resolve disputes when they
Here are some questions to guide you in deciding which locum
tenens agencies to work for.
- How large is the agency and how long has it been in business?
Is it financially stable?
- What locations and types of assignments are available?
- What's the contract length? (Assignments through CRNAjobs.com
run from a few days to two years or more. However, the average is
about three weeks.)
- Why is the facility hiring a locums CRNA? Can the agency shed
any light of the situation you'll be entering?
- Are hours guaranteed? Is there mandatory call? What's the
policy on overtime?
- Will malpractice insurance be covered?
- Is the healthcare facility open to contract extensions or
- Is the facility looking for someone to fill the CRNA job
permanently? What happens if things go so well for both sides that
we want to convert the assignment to a permanent hire?
Practicing Independently Through LocumTenens.com
Major recruiting firms like LocumTenens.com take care of most
business aspects of practicing medicine so you can focus on
patients. These include:
- Negotiating contracts with hospitals or medical groups (on your
behalf, but as an independent contractor)
- Purchasing medical malpractice insurance
- Getting licensed in a new state
- Getting credentialed at the assigned medical facility
- Arranging transportation to/from the assignment
- Securing housing during the assignment
- Getting reimbursed by clients for professional services
- Direct-depositing paychecks twice per month
LocumTenens.com will place only the Certified Registered Nurse
Anesthetists who meet these minimum standards:
- Question-and-Answer page of our application with Attestation
and Release signed
- Four reference names/addresses and at least two good in-house
- Copy of DEA certificate
- Copy of state license and state controlled substance permit (if
applicable) for the assignment location
Becoming an Independent Contractor
Even if you work through a locum tenens agency like
LocumTenens.com, you'll be working as an independent contractor.
This means the agency won't be withholding payroll taxes (including
Social Security and Medicare taxes, unemployment, worker's
compensation or employee benefits). You'll need to pay estimated
income taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (and to your state
taxing agency, if applicable) quarterly. You'll also need to
purchase health, disability and life insurance (plus any other
benefits needed) on your own. Also consider that independent
contractors only earn income when they're working. You'll be on
your own for vacation, sick and personal days as well.
The good news is that locum tenens CRNAs typically get larger
paychecks than those their peers receive from full-time employers.
There's no withholding, and in certain high-demand specialties like
anesthesiology and radiology, healthcare facilities pay a premium
for supplemental physicians. Also, as an independent contractor you
can take many tax deductions for business-related expenses.
Of course, the reason an increasing number of highly qualified
CRNAs are working locum tenens these days is
FREEDOM. Work as much or as little as you want.
Pick your location. Negotiate your terms. Get back to focusing on
patient care. Let an agency like LocumTenens.com make it easy for
Am I Ready to Try Locum Tenens?
Some Questions to Consider:
- Do I know what practice setting would work best for me? Or
would I like to experience different practice settings before
landing somewhere permanently?
- Do I adjust quickly to new people and environments?
- Do I currently live in a place where I'd like to set up
practice or retire?
- Which do I enjoy more-building long-term relationships with
patients I see regularly or seeing a perpetual variety of people
- Do I meet the clinical requirements of typical locum tenens
clients? (Many hospitals today insist that their physicians be
- Is my medical competency above average? (Locum tenens
physicians typically undergo more rigorous scrutiny more often than
the average physician does.)
- Do I have a ties (e.g., family) to a particular community to
- Am I willing to forego receiving a steady paycheck with taxes
and benefits deducted each pay period for the freedom to work
- Do I fully understand what it means to be an independent
contractor? Am I willing to take responsibility for filing a 1099,
paying payroll taxes quarterly and buying my own health
- Is relief from administrative hassles like buying malpractice
insurance and securing payment from patients or third-party
providers worth packing up and moving to different assignments for
days or weeks at a time?