There is a business side to medicine that cannot be ignored. It costs money to operate hospitals and provide medical tests, and that money does not grow on trees. That’s why altruistic desires are not enough to ensure quality healthcare for those who need it. Quality healthcare demands money.
What is a doctor to do when the business side of medicine gets to be too much? One suggestion is to turn to locum tenens contracting. Working as a locum affords the opportunity to focus solely on medicine while someone else worries about the business end.
No More Administrative Responsibilities
Think about all the administrative responsibilities that come with running a private practice. Even without getting into things like paying taxes and maintaining a building, private practice ownership comes with a lot of responsibilities. There is billing paperwork, record keeping, and managing staff members. There is rent to pay and utilities to cover.
When you work as a locum tenens physician, there is none of that. You do not own the practice, so you don’t have to worry about administration. Your biggest concern is making sure your patients are provided with the best possible care. It is a very freeing thing.
You Are Not a Business Administrator
Many years ago, when you first entered medical school, the goal was to finish your studies so you could begin helping people through medicine. Indeed, you went to school to learn how to be a doctor. You did not spend all that time and money on your education to learn how to become a business administrator.
It used to be that none of what we are talking about mattered. It was common back then to move to a town that had no doctor and establish a practice just by hanging a placard on the door. Yet those days are long gone. Today’s environment is so complex that one almost needs a business degree just to understand the legal and tax ramifications of running a private practice.
Locum tenens is the solution once again. You do not have to know a thing about running a business as a locum. You do not even need to know what it takes to succeed in business without trying. The business side of medicine is not your concern.
How It Differs from Employment
Perhaps you don’t like the business side of medicine, but you are convinced the best way to go is to work as an employee of a hospital or group practice. Traditional employment is an option, but it doesn’t completely eliminate the business side of medicine. As an employee, you still have certain business obligations to your employer.
Employed doctors are still expected to act in the best interests of employers. They are still subject to actions taken by the employer to increase revenue, reduce costs, etc. And of course, don’t forget about office politics.
Locum tenens is different inasmuch as the doctor is an independent contractor rather than a paid employee. Responsibilities to the employer revolve only around fulfilling the terms of the contract. And because locums are only around temporarily, they are often not subjected to many of the conditions of traditional employment.
It’s true that locum tenens is not right for every physician. For some doctors, the thought of providing medical care as an independent contractor just doesn’t work. They need the stability of regular employment or a private practice. For others though, locum tenens offers a way to practice medicine while ignoring business. It is the closest thing to what they imagined when they first started medical school.