Contract Government Opportunities for Advanced Practice Professionals

Advanced Practitioners who seek a variety of clinical work experience are encouraged to consider locum tenens (temporary) assignments with government agencies and medical treatment facilities. Here are some handy tips to keep in mind when accepting government opportunities:

Government Practice Options

Many different practice options are available to qualified nurse practitioners and physician assistants who express an interest in treating patients in government medical settings:

  • Veterans Affairs clinics and hospitals (all are teaching hospitals)
  • U.S. military installations
  • Indian Health medical treatment facilities
  • Correctional institutions (State & Federal)
  • State hospitals and mental health agencies
  • Public colleges and universities
  • Federal agencies such as the CDC, National Institutes of Health, etc.
  • Length of assignments:They vary from one week to several months, or longer. In some cases, the contract may be extended beyond one year. Long-term assignments offer guaranteed income, which is especially appealing to many advanced practitioners in this downturn economy.
  • Locums-to-perm options: Recruiters make special mention of these opportunities when they become available. Increasingly, medical providers find this option attractive in that they have the chance to "test drive" a practice before signing a permanent contract.

Government Earning Potential

  • Government contracts are awarded following competitive bidding. This means that the daily pay rate for providers is "competitive" within the healthcare industry, though not necessarily matching what commercial hospitals or medical groups may be prepared to pay for similar services.
  • Contract providers are paid weekly for authorized hours worked and signed-off by an on-site clinical supervisor. (Government assignments do not guarantee a 40-hour work week.) Some assignments offer extra income through overtime or on-call responsibilities. Your recruiter will discuss these matters prior to your acceptance of a contract assignment.
  • Agreed-upon hourly or daily compensation rates are set at the start of the contract and are "firm and fixed" for the duration of the contract. However, long-term contracts extending more than a year may stipulate a rate increase at the annual renewal date.

Government Credentialing & Scheduling

  • Government organizations expect candidates to be thoroughly qualified and pre-credentialed before being presented for placement consideration. Our credentialing staff ensures that all candidates meet this important evaluation criterion. Competition is keen and it is not unusual to have 20 or more candidates being considered for one job slot.
  • After candidates are screened, pre-credentialed and presented for an assignment, the healthcare organization selects whom they want to provide medical services. At that point, our schedulers handle all the details associated with the advanced practitioner beginning his or her assignment on time. We pay for airfare, comfortable lodging, and car rental(or mileage reimbursement).
  • Scheduling includes on-site orientation. This may last several days or up to one week. The purpose is to ensure that providers are familiar with all aspects of the clinical work setting and feel comfortable when they begin to treat patients.

Benefits of Government Opportunities

Advanced Practitioners who regularly accept locum tenens assignments mention how beneficial the "locum lifestyle" is for them:

  • They can work as often or seldom as they choose.
  • Travel options extend across the U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Treating different patient populations, they become more "culturally competent" as caregivers.
  • Furthermore, their careers are enhanced by working in a variety of practice settings with state-of-the-art medical equipment, along side distinguished medical professionals.
  • Even after accepting a full-time position, they may choose to earn extra income through locum tenens "moonlighting" opportunities.