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Locum Tenens: Independant Physician Contractor

Via Becoming an Independent Contractor

As an independent contractor, the agency won’t be withholding payroll taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes, unemployment, worker's compensation or employee benefits).

You’ll need to pay estimated income taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (and to your state taxing agency, if applicable) quarterly. You’ll also need to purchase health, disability and life insurance (plus any other benefits needed) on your own. Also consider that independent contractors only earn income when they’re working. You’ll be on your own for vacation, sick and personal days as well.

Of course, the reason an increasing number of highly qualified physicians are working locum tenens these days is FREEDOM. Work as much or as little as you want.

Am I Ready to Try Locum Tenens? Some Questions to Consider:

  1. Do I know what practice setting would work best for me? Or would I like to experience different practice settings before landing somewhere permanently?
  2. Do I adjust quickly to new people and environments?
  3. Do I currently live in a place where I’d like to set up practice or retire?
  4. Which do I enjoy more—building long-term relationships with patients I see regularly or seeing a perpetual variety of people and cases?
  5. Do I meet the clinical requirements of typical locum tenens clients? (Many hospitals today insist that their physicians be board-certified.)
  6. Is my medical competency above average? (Locum tenens physicians typically undergo more rigorous scrutiny more often than the average physician does.)
  7. Do I have a ties (e.g., family) to a particular community to consider?
  8. Am I willing to forego receiving a steady paycheck with taxes and benefits deducted each pay period for the freedom to work independently?
  9. Do I fully understand what it means to be an independent contractor? Am I willing to take responsibility for filing a 1099, paying payroll taxes quarterly and buying my own health insurance?
  10. Is relief from administrative hassles like buying malpractice insurance and securing payment from patients or third-party providers worth packing up and moving to different assignments for days or weeks at a time?

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