Gap Staffing vs. Locum Tenens: What is the difference? - medtigo



Gap Staffing vs. Locum Tenens: What is the difference?

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“Locum tenens” is a Latin term that means “placeholder.” This word might apply to somebody who temporarily performs the duties of another individual. When a regular physician is gone for reasons such as illness, vacation, pregnancy, or continuing medical education, a locum tenens is a substitute physician hired to take over the regular physician’s professional practice. The locum tenens practitioner provides the same services to the patient as his or her regular physician. 

A locum tenens provider is someone who fills in for a physician, such as a medical doctor or a doctor of osteopathy (MD or DO), who is on leave but will be returning to work soon. A true locum tenens provider can only fill in for a colleague for 60 days in a row by definition. 


Temporary employees, on the other hand, may work for more than 60 days in a row and are subject to different credentialing and billing rules. These two sorts of providers are extremely different when it comes to medical billing under federal laws, despite their comparable look and frequently used language. When selecting providers from Locum Tenens organizations, it’s critical to recognize the differences; not all are considered the same.  



  • The locum tenens physician usually does not have his or her own practice and moves from location to location as needed. 
  • The regular physician is unable to assist with the appointment. 
  • The usual physician’s absence is not due to a day off or other regularly scheduled time off, nor is it owing to a staffing shortage. 
  • Locum tenens services for regular physician’s patients are not limited to the usual physician’s office. 
  • The Medicare beneficiary (patient) has scheduled or requested a visit from his or her regular physician. 
  • The substitute physician does not give Medicare patients visit services for more than 60 days in a row. 


  • Hours are not guaranteed with gap staffing. Because gap staffing clinicians are at-will employees, this is the case. These may be advertised as a flexible, freelancing, or 1099 position.
  • Every clinician is not considered full-time employees, regardless of how many hours they work per day. 
  • Workers, who are placed in rotation as needed, may have their working conditions change frequently. 
  •  It’s worth noting that gap staffing can also refer to unrelated payments. Gap staffing can refer to a set amount you receive for living expenses, even if you aren’t working as a gap staffing worker. In addition, certain locum tenens clinicians must deal with per diem tax requirements. 


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