Taking the Pain Out of Locum Tenens Credentialing

Becoming a locum tenens candidate is an exciting time, with new workplaces, cities, and lifestyle options to consider. Whether you choose to travel or stay close to home, locum tenens jobs can provide new professional experiences, extra pay, and more control over your schedule, including full-time and part-time options.

But before your locum adventure can begin there is ... paperwork. And lots of it.  Sigh.

Not to worry. Your locum tenens agency’s credentialing team can work with you to make the credentialing process as painless as possible.

“Once a provider and a facility client decide to work together—what we call a placement—that’s where my team gets involved,” said Jeannece Waldrop, senior process owner for credentialing operations at AMN Healthcare, a leading locum staffing agency.

“We are the liaison between the work site or facility and the provider to get all the locum tenens credentialing information in order," Waldrop explained. We facilitate the process of getting privileges for hospital settings by becoming experts on the requirements and process and helping our providers through each step. We even pre-fill the applications so that providers can just review it and sign.”

Some applications can be up to 150 pages, which can be overwhelming for anyone who hasn’t worked in locum tenens before. Having a credentialing team that handles these things plus runs background checks, gets certifications on file, and ensures that all state and federal regulations are being met can make all the difference.

The facilities also benefit from these services, as the locum agency’s team can help them make contact with the right people for gaining primary source validations.

In fact, all parties benefit from the credentialing process. Waldrop’s team has seen that when a locum tenens agency consistently provides quality candidates that provide excellent patient care, it creates a high level of trust with facility clients. These relationships then lead to more job opportunities for their locum candidates. 

Standard documents needed for locum tenens credentialing

The exact list of required documents will vary based on the position, the provider, and the setting, but a locum tenens candidate can expect to provide copies of:

  • Current resume or CV
  • Active state license certificates
  • Controlled substance registrations 
  • Diplomas 
  • Post-graduate certifications
  • Life-support certifications 
  • Immunization records 
  • Certificate of insurance (malpractice insurance is usually provided by the locum agency) 
  • Recent case/procedure logs 

“The privileges the provider is seeking will determine some of the additional requirements,” said Waldrop. “If they need to administer moderate sedation or are working with pediatric patients, for instance, they will have to have certain certifications.”

Providers should also expect to provide names and current contact details for at least three references, two of which should be from clinicians within their specialty. 

When new state medical licenses are needed 

Candidates applying for locums work in a state where they don’t currently hold a license can get help with their medical licensing, as well, and the licensure fees are often paid by the locum agency.

“We have a team within our credentialing department that assists providers in getting a license issued when that is needed for a placement,” explained Waldrop. “While the credentialing analyst works with the provider to get everything else completed, the licensing coordinator may be working with the provider and the state boards to obtain the necessary licensure to practice.” 

Streamlining the documentation process 

“The credentialing process that’s necessary for providers to work in a new location can seem difficult, but our staff is here to take that burden off their shoulders,” Waldrop explained. “We will speak with a locum tenens candidate to cover what the credentialing team does, and then help them through the entire process. We also explain the benefits of using the company's online candidate portal for submitting information.” 

The My AMN Healthcare Candidate Portal can be accessed via the company’s website. It offers a high-security environment for transmitting sensitive documents and allows each provider to track the progress of his or her applications and credentialing. Launched in 2018, the portal is helping to improve efficiencies and speed up the documentation process.

“Each provider creates their own account and can log in to see all the requirements that their placement site has so they can upload those certifications into the system. It also allows them to see real-time progress on their file, it notifies them of any documents that will expire soon and what is still needed to complete the process,” Waldrop explained.

“With the portal, there is no danger of sensitive documents being lost in the mail or somehow intercepted through email,” she continued. The candidate portal also allows the AMN Healthcare team to safely send things to the provider, such as pre-filled applications that need their signature. 

How long does locum tenens credentialing take? 

In a hospital setting that requires privileges, the locum tenens credentialing process can take anywhere from 30 days to six months, with 60-120 days being most typical, according to Waldrop. Some hospitals have emergency privileging which can allow a provider to start before the full process is complete.

Getting approval to work a locum tenens assignment at a clinic is a simpler process that focuses on verifying the provider’s identity and ensuring that the right certifications and controlled substance registrations are in place; this process can often be completed within a couple of weeks. 

Providers can help the process move more quickly by responding as soon as they are able to any questions or requests that the credentialing team sends.

“We understand that many of our providers are working in full-time positions while pursuing locum tenens jobs, so it can sometimes be a challenge to get back to us right away,” Waldrop commented. “On our end, we try to keep the providers engaged and up to date on how the credentialing process is progressing.”

AMN Healthcare matches physicians and advanced practitioners with locum tenens assignments across the country, providing expert guidance throughout the placement process. Find out why we’ve been named Best of Staffing for six years running! 


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