Working As An Independent Contractor
By: Frank Phillips
Normally when working as a locum tenens provider, physicians will be treated as independent contractors. This is true whether you are working through an agency or directly with a healthcare facility. Working as an independent contractor has many advantages such as working where, when and for how long you want. You typically do not have to deal with facility politics. You basically show up at your assignment and diagnose and treat patients which is why you went to medical school in the first place. However, working as an independent contractor also brings with it some important things to consider.
First and foremost is keeping up with all applicable taxes. While working as an independent contractor, typically the agency you work with or the facility if you are working directly will not withhold Federal, Social Security, Medicare or State and local taxes. It will be your responsibility to make sure that you are filing properly. When working outside of your home state, it may be necessary to file a tax return in the state where you are working in addition to your home state. When multiple states come into play, taxes can be very complicated and making sure that you are compliant with all state and federal laws can be a daunting task. Honor Medical recommends that you find a good tax accountant who will be able to help you keep up with all these regulations.
The next issues are Workers Compensation insurance and un-employment insurance. As an independent contractor, you are not eligible for either of these items through the contracting party. States differ on how they treat independent contractors when it comes to worker’s compensation insurance requirements. Worker’s Compensation insurance can be purchased privately. Because you are not employed by anyone in your role as a locum tenens provider, you generally are not eligible for un-employment benefits.
Working locum tenens as an independent contractor has many benefits. However, the items listed in this article are factors that must be considered as you think about or begin working as a locum tenens provider. If necessary, it is important to retain the proper advisors to assist in thinking about the unique elements of locum tenens.