Locum Tenens Agreements: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

August 13th, 2013 by

Building a successful dental practice takes a lot of time and money. The slightest disruption can cause significant damage to a practice. Planning for the unexpected is the best way to minimize possible disruptions and to protect a practice that may have taken several years to build. Locum tenens agreements are perhaps the most useful tool when planning for unexpected events, such as injury, illness or death.

Consider what would happen to your practice if you were unexpectedly absent for a few weeks:  patients might be frustrated by cancelled appointments and may look for another dentist; staff would feel insecure and possibly seek new job opportunities; the general goodwill of your practice could suffer. What if life events necessitated your absence from the practice for a longer period, perhaps months or years?  You would be best advised to find someone who could “fill in” for you to preserve the goodwill with your patients and with your staff. The locum tenens agreement is a planning tool to achieve just that. The benefit of planning for locum dentists is that your practice suffers the minimum amount of disruption in the event of your extended absence.

Agreements with locum dentists are also a useful estate planning tool. The locum dentist can help preserve the value of the practice during the administration of your estate. Active patient files are among the most valuable assets in a dental practice. Keeping those files active over the course of a year or more while the estate is being administered is crucial. A pre-planned locum agreement can prove to be invaluable in preserving a major asset for your beneficiaries.

Much like any other agreement, a Locum tenens agreement is fully customizable and can be drafted to reflect the specifics to which the owner dentist and the locum dentist agree. The agreement will address several issues, including involvement in practice-building activities, remuneration, supervision, termination and non-competition and non-solicitation provisions. For more information about our corporate services, please visit our Business Law, Corporate Law Services & Acquisitions page.


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