Provider Spotlight: Consilium Through the Eyes of a Well-Traveled Locum Tenens Physician

Locum Tenens Provider Spotlight: Dr. Sima Assefi

Locum Tenens Dr. Assefi and Landon Webb
Dr. Sima Assefi & Landon Webb

On December 29, Consilium had the honor of hosting Dr. Sima Assefi, one of our partnering locum tenens physicians, for a talk about her experiences as a locum provider. Immediately following the presentation, Consilium partner and regional vice-president Landon Webb presented Dr. Assefi with Consilium’s first ever Distinguished Service Award. During her time with Consilium, Dr. Assefi has worked more than 4,000 hours at 22 urgent care centers and has treated more than 12,000 patients from rural areas. Completely aside from the life-changing work she does on a daily basis, Dr. Assefi has an inspiring personal story all on her own.

Though born in Tehran, Iran, Dr. Assefi attended secondary school in Kent, England, following political unrest—and eventual war—that necessitated she and her sister flee their home country. After completing secondary school, Dr. Assefi moved to the United States and earned her undergraduate degree in natural sciences from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. While in college, Dr. Assefi worked in bakeries, as a third-shift dispatcher at a taxi company, and later as a waitress and bartender to pay her way through school and help support her younger brother, who was still studying in the U.K. Upon her brother’s graduation, Dr. Assefi was then—at the age of 33— able to enroll in Eugenio Maria de Hostos Medical School in the Dominican Republic.

After completing her residency in family medicine and an extra year of OB/GYN training in the United States, Dr. Assefi took a permanent job in family medicine. She had been contacted by Landon about an urgent care position, but felt at the time that she did not have the necessary urgent care experience to take on that role. Unfortunately, soon after starting her permanent contract, Dr. Assefi was diagnosed with cancer and had to leave the new position while she underwent treatment. Following successful treatment, Dr. Assefi found that her previous role had been filled and instead took a permanent urgent care position at the insistence of the clinic’s medical director, who assured her that she was more than qualified for the position.

To add another twist in the road, that facility made the decision to close due to insufficient profits and Dr. Assefi was faced with yet another career change. Fortuitously, in early 2014 Landon again called Dr. Assefi at what she says was exactly the right time. This time, after beefing up her experience in urgent care, she was eager to accept Consilium’s offer.

Q: Why do you choose to work locum tenens?

A: Locum tenens allows me to practice medicine as I deem best. There is so much red tape in permanent positions, a whole lot of “Do’s and Don’ts” that do not always result in best possible care for each patient. Locums work provides me with more freedom to use my best medical judgement when working with patients. To me, everybody’s story is different, and a patient’s story influences the best method of treatment. I refuse to view patients as just “cases” that can all be treated with a one-size-fits-all approach.

Working as a locum can be lonely at times because you are always the new person and have not yet built rapport with the permanent staff. This is part of why it is so important to have an account manager who truly cares about you as a person, so that you always have someone to call if you need help or just a listening ear. One upside to coming into a new position as an “outsider,” however, is that you do not have to deal with any of the internal gossip that happens in the facility—it never involves you!

Q: Out of all the job offers you undoubtedly receive, why have you continued to choose Consilium time after time?

A: It’s really about the people. For me, it is the relationship I have built over time with Landon, my account manager. I love the fact that I have personal contact with ONE person who I can call or text while I am away from home and can get a response to any questions or concerns—or even just to vent if I need to. Landon works with me throughout each step on all of my assignments rather than me having to call or email several different people for issues with scheduling, vacation time, paychecks, or anything else that may come up. Landon has been my friend—and really like family—throughout my dealing with winding roads, unfamiliar surroundings, hectic shifts, and anything else life threw at me along the way.

I also believe Consilium chooses good places to send their locums providers. I like the facilities where Consilium has placed me—each clinic has taken good care of its doctors. Physicians get a lot of calls about locum tenens jobs, and we can tell the difference between salespeople who are only calling because they have to and those who genuinely care about our mission and about us as people. I genuinely believe that Consilium has our best interests at heart.

Q: How has working locum tenens with Consilium impacted your life?

A: Because of the greater flexibility in scheduling, I have been able to achieve my vision of the ideal work-life balance: I work hard, but I get to play hard too. For example, I can schedule six shifts all in one week instead of spreading them out over two weeks, which leaves time to attend CME (continuing medical education) conferences and travel the country a bit while I am at it. The flexibility also allows me to take vacations and see my family overseas, which generally is not possible with a permanent contract. After not being able to see my family for seven years during the war, this is incredibly meaningful to me.

I work very hard, but as a locums physician I have simultaneously been able to live. Through Consilium, I am able to continue the work about which I am passionate yet also live and love my life. Furthermore, if something is ever not working for me, I always have the option of change.


Interested in putting your medical expertise to work with Consilium, or in finding locum tenens providers to cover shifts at your facility? Give us a call at 877-536-4696.

Locum Tenens Providers: Plan Ahead to Avoid DEA Delays

In late 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced several registration-related policy changes to be implemented in 2017. The proposed changes, particularly eliminating the renewal grace period for medical professionals, were likely to prove disruptive for providers, pharmacies, and patients. Resulting push-back from the medical community—including official responses from the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Physician Assistants—led to the reversal of most proposed modifications. However, one minor revision still was implemented earlier this month: providers will no longer receive a second renewal notice by mail.

If there is one constant for medical professionals across specialties, it is the continual demand for your time. While we may not be able to complete your charting for you (though we would if we could!), we can help make other paperwork less of a headache. Even if the recent DEA change seems minor at face value, the reality is that one fewer reminder could be the difference between meeting the renewal deadline and losing important prescriptive authority.

Consilium Sweats the Small Stuff…So Locums Providers Don’t Have to

When our partnering physicians, NPs, or PAs sign a contract with a facility that meets their practice preferences, we proactively note any renewals that will be necessary during the assignment. Several weeks before the deadline, your account manager will contact you and ensure that the renewal has been initiated. When you go to work for Consilium, you can rest easy knowing that you will never again have to worry about a registration lapse while traveling for an assignment.
Bonus: If the renewal deadline draws near and you are without reliable internet access, we’ve got that covered too. Our credentialing specialists can give you a quick call at your convenience to help you complete the forms over the phone.

Quick Registration Tips for the Busy Locum Tenens Professional

One of the perks of working locum tenens is the opportunity to travel the country for work. Though this does help you evade junk mail (who keeps adding you to all those mailing lists, anyway?), it also means that the DEA’s first renewal notice may not come to your (current) door. The second notice now will only be sent to the email address associated with your DEA account.

Prepare for the new reminder policy ahead of time:

  • Step one—Access your DEA provider account and verify that your contact information includes the email address you use most frequently.
  • Step two—While logged in to your account, make note of the date your renewal application is due.
  • Step three—Now, since it is already on your mind: set a calendar reminder to renew, especially if your deadline is within the next year.
  • Step four—Team up with Consilium: find a locum tenens job that meets your preferences…and let us deal with the details instead.

To check the expiration date of your DEA registration, you also may:

  • Call the DEA Registration Service Center at 1-800-882-9539
  • Email [email protected] and include your registration number

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