Innovations In Clinical Neuroscience

JAN-FEB 2017

A peer-reviewed, evidence-based journal for clinicians in the field of neuroscience

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Page 59 of 63

Innovations in CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCE [ V O L U M E 1 4 , N U M B E R 1 – 2 , J A N U A R Y – F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 ] 60 QUESTION I am between jobs in my professional practice. During this time period, I am considering taking a locum tenens assignment. Does locum tenens work pose professional liability risks for psychiatrists? ANSWER Many psychiatrists opt to practice by accepting locum tenens assignments. Such an endeavor can be fulfilling and allow psychiatrists to begin or continue to practice without the overhead and other headaches of operating a private practice. Locum tenens assignments can be a great way to launch careers after completing residencies or fellowships or to continue practicing after retiring from rewarding careers in private practice. Mid-career psychiatrists often accept locum tenens assignments for extra income or while between jobs. Of course, some psychiatrists enjoy the variety of practice settings that locum tenens assignments often bring. Taking locum tenens assignments, in and of itself, poses no special professional liability risks. However, situations can arise when taking locum tenens assignments that may not have been anticipated or considered by psychiatrists. Some of these situations can increase professional liability risks. Calls that we have handled and claims that we have defended illuminate some of the unanticipated issues faced by psychiatrists when taking locum tenens assignments. Below are a few lessons learned that may help psychiatrists who are taking locum tenens assignments avoid potential professional liability risks and other problems. 1. Confirm representations about licensure made by the locum tenens company. Locum tenens companies typically provide some level of support for the psychiatrists they hire regarding state licensure issues. However, psychiatrists Risk Management This ongoing column is dedicated to providing information to our readers on managing legal risks associated with medical practice. We invite questions from our readers. The answers are provided by PRMS, Inc. (, a manager of medical professional liability insurance programs with services that include risk management consultation, education and onsite risk management audits, and other resources to healthcare providers to help improve patient outcomes and reduce professional liability risk. The answers published in this column represent those of only one risk management consulting company. Other risk management consulting companies or insurance carriers may provide different advice, and readers should take this into consideration. The information in this column does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice, contact your personal attorney. Note: The information and recommendations in this article are applicable to physicians and other healthcare professionals so "clinician" is used to indicate all treatment team members. Risk Management Issues When Taking Locum Tenens Assignments by Charles D. Cash, JD, LLM Innov Clin Neurosci. 2017;14(1–2)60–62

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