For a lot of years, locum tenens firms are matchmakers between healthcare facilities and healthcare professionals who require so much additional support.

According to the American Medical Association, there are 30,000 physicians who are working as substitute doctors.

Locum tenens are being hired for a lot of the time now, and the numbers are only increasing. These doctors are a big part of hospitals everywhere, and are just as good as doctors employed full-time.

“Locum Tenens is Latin for ‘to hold the place of, to substitute for’. Meaning that Locum Tenens are people who are temporarily hired in the place of someone else.”

Thanks to economic recovery and a healthcare reform, the new locum tenens business is booming with $1.6 billion. In fact, the American Medical Association has an estimate that the US will be short by 85,000 – 200,000 physicians this year.

Although, starting a locum tenens business requires just as much work as starting any type of business — healthcare or no. However, it does require extra attention, especially towards issues that surround insurance, licensing, and taxes.

Tip #1: Think about the business structure

Decide on a business structure. Do you want to run your locum tenens business as a partnership, sole proprietorship, or an LLC? Or maybe you’d prefer a corporation business structure?

For this, it’s really ideal to seek business, financial, and legal advice about the best structure that’s for you. Usually, medical staffing firms are structured as corporations. You need to develop a business plan.

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To start, it’s good to keep things simple, but eventually, make sure you lay the groundwork to guide your business in the right direction, and to achieve the goals you want to achieve. Cover your business lines, your budget, the licensing, and business properties; like the technology used, staffing plans, office space, and of course, the pathway toward growth.

Tip #2: Physical or online?

With the founders and everyone involved, figure out if you can afford a brick-and-mortar business or if your business would be more manageable if you operate virtually. This decision depends plenty on your financing.

Regardless of a physical building or an online operation, you need to create an online presence and order needed office supplies. That includes a tracking database, time management, accounting and payroll software, and even the business cards and literature.

Tip #3: Research on regulations

Depending on which state you live in, you need to do your research on the medical staffing firm regulations. In addition, make sure you know the laws of the other states as well, especially if you intend to do your business there. They might differ.

At a minimum, you’ll need various types of insurance; including workers’ compensation, general liability, professional liability, and malpractice insurance. Some of your policies are based on how many physicians are in your crop. Choose based on how well insurance companies’ policies meet your needs.

Tip #4: Know your type of licensing

Determine what licensing you’re required to obtain. Talk to a business consultant or your state regulatory authority, like the Department of Health.

You’ll need to have several documents in place before you can get your license…

These include fire safety, health privacy regulations, various legal policies on patient rights, sexual harassment, patient abuse, pain management, drug abuse and management, background investigations, and tax forms — among a plethora of many others.

Tip #5: Physician recruitment

Recruiting physicians for a healthcare startup is your lifeblood if your business is going to survive. Make sure to do some networking to get your first set of recruits. In addition, encourage them and offer incentives to recruit others on your behalf.

Lots of locum tenens firms develop and grow thanks to word-of-mouth referrals. Consider doing niche recruiting as well. You would have to offer fringe benefits that would set you apart from the competition, so look at what you’re competitors are offering, and see what you can offer in return. Take travel expenses, signing bonuses, and higher pay rates into consideration.

Tip #6: Go after clients

The American Medical Association reports that large healthcare systems are turning to locum tenens staffing more and more. This is a lucrative market that you might be interested in getting into.

Image Credit: Staff Care

Get to know the competition, and think about getting help when it comes to marketing with potential clients, especially if your operation currently has a limited amount of staff. Construct your proposals to potential clients that will include an analysis, and create a solid pitch for your business.

Tip #7: Marketing, marketing, and marketing

Market your business aggressively. Make use of online and offline channels to spread the word, but put your bet on word-of-mouth as well.

Create a plan to put your proposal in the hands of big decision-makers rather than gatekeepers. Make an appointment to deliver your proposal package and elevator speech.

As the startup grows, put some thought into investing into new business ventures — like merging with or buying out the competition, offering new services, etc.

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