Locum Tenens—Growing Satisfaction

Physician's Money Digest, February28 2003, Volume 10, Issue 4

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If you're tired of the 3 bad M's of medical practice—malpractice insurance, managed care, andMedicare—then work may be foryou. A recent survey by CompHealth (800-453-3030;www.comphealth.com), one of the nation's leadingphysician-recruitment firms, shows that most physicianswho practice on a basis are moresatisfied with their jobs than when they were in apermanent full-time position.

IMPRESSIVE NUMBERS

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About 70% of doctors working report greater job satisfaction and an equal numbersay that they would recommend assignments to their colleagues. Finding the reasonswhy isn't hard. According to the survey, 81% ofdoctors don't have to worry about malpracticeinsurance, 76% don't have to handleMedicare/Medicaid reimbursement problems, 63%don't get involved with administrative paperwork,and 42% aren't concerned with managed care issues.

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Once considered a field for older doctors, is becoming a viable option for youngerphysicians, according to CompHealth. A separatesurvey of doctors showed that 41%are under age 50, and 1 in 6 doctorschoose an assignment right out of residency.

PAY AND PERKS

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The pay isn't spectacular, but as demand for doctors heats up, it's getting better. A familypractitioner on a assignment averagesabout $100,000 for 48 weeks of work, comparablewith the income of full-time family practitioners intheir first years of practice. When employee benefits(eg, paid-up malpractice insurance) are factored in,however, a income can be competitivewith that of a permanent full-time position.

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There are other perks that come with most jobs that make them attractive. Most temprecruitment companies provide benefits like healthinsurance, as well as travel to and from assignments,free housing, and free use of a rental car.

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The chance to travel is another bonus, accordingto CompHealth officials. In fact, geographiclocation is the top factor that doctors considerwhen deciding whether to accept a job. The others, in order, are the quality of theassignment, flexible hours, compensation, and theprestige of the medical facility.