What is Locum Tenens?

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It’s very important that you plan ahead for your career transition and that you consider your options before you give up your practice. If you wait too long following your actual retirement, re-entering the workforce may require a hands-on clinical refresher course or a preceptorship. In most specialties, you will have difficulty jumping back into practice if you have been away from clinical work for more than a year. This timeframe is shorter in some specialties. Talk with a VeloSource recruiter about using an upcoming vacation to “test drive” another work option to see if it fits your future plans.

You will also need to stay current on your CME so you can renew state licenses and/or qualify for new ones. Requirements vary by specialty and by state. Visit the Federation of State Medical Boards website, (www.fsmb.org) select For the Public on the top left-hand side of the homepage, then select Directory of State Medical Boards in the bottom right-hand corner. This will take you to links to the websites of every state medical board. Make sure to maintain detailed documentation on all of your CME.


At VeloSource, we are finding that more and more hospitals and practices will not consider non-board certified physicians for locum tenens, or permanent positions. This means it is increasingly difficult for us to find assignments for non-board certified physicians. In addition, some state licensing boards are reluctant to issue licenses to non-board certified physicians. Our international clients also require board certified doctors, so if overseas adventure is in your plans, make sure you recertify according to the requirements of your specialty. All certificates issued by members of the ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties)(www.abms.org) are time limited. The limits range from six to 10 years, depending on the board and specialty.


Keep your state licenses, your DEA, and your relevant certificates active. Some states require that you pay all back fees when you reactivate a license. And other states view any lapsed license as a red flag and require an explanation during the licensing process. This will slow down processing of any applications you submit in the future. If you do decide to officially retire or let a specific state license go, make sure to contact the licensing board and formally cancel the license to avoid any problems.


Physicians who work locum tenens and extended assignments go through an initial credentials verification process with healthcare facilities nationwide. These will be needed in obtaining licenses in additional states, required to coordinate credentialing, and help you obtain privileges.

  • Birth certificate (if born in the U.S.), naturalization papers, or proof of U.S. employment eligibility
  • Copy of undergraduate diploma
  • Copy of medical school diploma
  • Copy of National Boards certificate or other initial licensing exam scores
  • Copy of all post-graduate training certificates:
    • Internship
    • Residency
    • Fellowship (if applicable)
  • Copy of specialty board certification(s) and recertification(s) (if applicable)
  • Copy of current DEA registration
  • Copy of all state licenses, both active and inactive (your wall certificates and wallet cards)
  • Copy of state controlled substance registrations (if applicable)
  • Copy of ECFMG certificate (if applicable)
  • Copy of ACLS/ATLS/BLS/NALS/PALS/NRP/MSQA certificates (as applicable)
  • Copy of military separation papers (i.e. DD214) (if applicable)


There are a few simple tips that will really make a difference in the impact your Curriculum Vitae (CV) can have on a potential employer.


  • As a general rule, list your most current activity first. Include month/day/year for all dates.
  • Any gap in time must be explained. If you took a sabbatical, for example, spell it out in your CV. Otherwise, it will generate a red flag in the mind of the reviewer.
  • Keep your CV short and compact, not to exceed two pages if possible.
  • Include your full name and make sure you can be reached at the address, telephone number and e-mail address that you include. Check this each time you send your CV out.
  • If you are an International Medical Graduate (IMG) or a Foreign Medical Graduate (FMG), make sure you list your visa status.
  • Finally, there are a few items best left out of your CV. These include social security numbers, licensure numbers and examination scores. You will have the opportunity to supply them at a later date in a more secure way. Do not include race or religion. Marital status and number of children are optional.


Break the information into sections with clear title headings. If you have published medical papers, title them as “publications.” If you have medical research that has been submitted or is in progress, use the title “research experience.”

People who review lots of CVs—including organizations that are regular users of locum tenens practitioners—are used to seeing the information in the following order. We recommend that you follow it.

  • Personal information (Full name, address, phone numbers, email address)
  • Professional work
    • Practice specifics
    • Hospital affiliations
  • Military service
  • Academic history
    • Graduate training
      • Fellowship
      • Residency
    • Internship
    • Medical school
    • Undergraduate training
  • Licensure
  • Certifications
    • Recertification dates
  • Professional associations
  • Honors
  • Volunteer work, community service, additional accomplishments
  • Publications, presentations, research


A generic term used to refer to physicians’ professional liability insurance coverage. A malpractice policy provides protection against liability that a physician may incur as a result of the rendering of—or the failure to render—medical services. A typical malpractice policy will pay: (1) the costs of investigating any claims against an insured physician; (2) the costs of defending those claims; and (3) the indemnity cost of any legal settlement on behalf of—or court judgment against—the insured physician, up to the policy limits.

A physician’s professional liability policy may be extended to include coverage for his or her corporation (P.C.), as well as employees. Unless specifically endorsed, coverage is not extended to include physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, or CRNAs, and may not provide coverage for residents or locum tenens physicians. Most policies are written on either a claims-made or occurrence basis.


Occurrence malpractice policies cover a physician for incidents that occur while the policy is in effect, regardless of when the incident is reported to the insurer.


Claims-made policies cover a physician for incidents that occur after the retroactive date and are reported to the insurer while the policy is in force.


For coverage under a claims-made policy to apply, the incident or claim must have occurred after the retroactive date of the policy. For most physicians, this retroactive date is the first date they purchased claims-made professional liability coverage. The retroactive date should remain the same as the policy is renewed.


A tail is also known as an extended reporting period (ERP). An ERP may need to be purchased if a physician ceases to practice due to retirement, disability, or death, or changes carriers and is unable to maintain their original retroactive date. The ERP essentially extends coverage to all claims that arise from care rendered during the policy period (and prior acts period, if applicable), to include those made during the reporting period. It is preferable to purchase an unlimited ERP. Some carriers may limit the ERP and only allow claims to be reported for a specific period (12 months, 36 months, etc.). The carrier will usually charge an additional premium for the ERP. In some cases, the carrier will provide a free tail to the physician upon disability, death, or retirement. To obtain the free tail, the physician generally needs to be insured by the same carrier for a minimum of five years.

Prior Acts Period

Under a claims-made policy, the prior acts period, also known as “nose” coverage, is the period of time between a physician’s retroactive date and the current policy period. If there is prior occurrence coverage, or this is the first claims-made policy that is being purchased, then there should be no nose exposure.

Umbrella Policy

In addition to a physician’s primary malpractice policy, some doctors also purchase umbrella policies. The limits for an umbrella policy apply on top (in excess) of the physician’s primary malpractice policy. For example, a primary policy may provide the physician with a limit of $1 million per claim. The umbrella policy may provide an additional limit of $2 million. If a $2.5 million claim occurs, the $1 million policy will pay its full limit of $1 million, and the umbrella policy will pay the remaining $1.5 million of the claim. Some umbrella policies have the same terms, conditions, and exclusions as the underlying primary policy. Other umbrella policies have their own separate terms, conditions, and exclusions.

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