Arranging Locum Tenens Coverage

A study of our experience with locum tenens’ claims concluded that our physicians generally engage qualified locum tenens to serve in their place. We also found that members find it burdensome to notify us in advance when they plan to use a locum tenens and that credentialing each locum tenens adds unnecessary expense to the cost of delivering our insurance product.

By definition, the Latin phrase locum tenens means “one who holds the place of.” For our purposes, it refers to a physician who temporarily replaces another physician. A locum tenens cannot be used as additional help, such as opening another operating room or lending an extra hand to deliver a baby. A locum tenens must always be used as a replacement who substitutes for one physician or one ancillary.

When selecting a locum tenens, it is essential that you meet the following requirements:

  • To qualify for coverage, a locum tenens must be the equivalent specialty and have training, education, certification, and credentialing equal to the person that he or she replaces. For example, a resident is not considered equivalent to a board certified physician.
  • Each Named Insured automatically qualifies to have a locum tenens serve in his or her place for up to 30 days per year. If special circumstances make additional days necessary, please contact your agent or Member Services in advance, and we will work with you to find a solution.
  • Keep complete records of locum tenens use for events that occurred when the locum tenens provided coverage.

Your premium dollars pay for locum tenens claims. Selecting a quality locum tenens will help you maintain a good insurance loss history. Remember, too, that if your locum tenens provides his or her own malpractice policy, coverage from your policy is not needed or provided (although you are covered for allegations of negligent hiring of such locum tenens).

It is paramount for the hiring physician or entity to review or develop procedures and policies for selecting appropriate locum tenens and to ensure that necessary records are maintained.

For additional information, please contact your agent or call The Doctors Company’s Member Services at (800) 421-2368.


The guidelines suggested here are not rules, do not constitute legal advice, and do not ensure a successful outcome. The ultimate decision regarding the appropriateness of any treatment must be made by each healthcare provider in light of all circumstances prevailing in the individual situation and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which the care is rendered.

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