“Who do you work for?”
by: Chelsey Zreliak
The two of the most popular questions Mark gets asked lately include; Who do you work for, and how did you decide to go with that company? When we started contemplating traveling healthcare a few months ago, we had no idea what locum tenens company to contact for my husband, Mark, to find Physician Assistant assignments. I had taken traveling Speech Therapy positions in the past, but at that point Mark and I had nothing to tie us down, and most importantly no child to care for. We did learn some valuable lessons during that time which gave us a solid foundation to build upon. Knowing what to ask for and what pitfalls to avoid will make the entire experience much more enjoyable. Negotiation on the front end is key, and now with a child, this became even more imperative. When we started looking into locum tenens companies, we did what most anyone else would do in our situation… We googled it.
We came to find that there are an abundance of locum tenens companies around the country. Mark spoke to several different companies and started mapping out where PA assignments were located. Ultimately, we decided that if we were going to take a travel position we wanted to go to the west coast for the first one, but we needed to find a company that we could trust. Luckily, we found Palm Health Resources through an assignment Mark noticed in southern California. When Mark called about this assignment, he discovered that Palm Health is a small, boutique style company and he was quickly transferred to the owner. This went a long way for us. I have never spoken to the owner of a traveling healthcare company in the past. Mark was then informed that this assignment would be to cover a pregnancy leave, and the Physician Assistant plans to return to this job. This was a positive piece of information as well. It means that the PA that works for these surgeons likes her job. It is not usually a good sign if a facility has been looking for full time coverage for a long time and have used numerous travelers in the meantime. It is concerning as to why no one wants to remain in that facility full time. The hospital that Mark is currently contracted with has been a customer of Palm Health for many years, which helped us to build trust as well.
One of our biggest concerns regarding traveling assignments is our health insurance. We could not have any gap in our insurance plan and needed full coverage no matter where we are. Palm Health provided us with this. Thank goodness they did because our daughter, Claire, became sick and had to see a pediatrician her second day in California. While the road-trip from Virginia to California was a wonderful experience, it was also long and expensive. Palm Health reimbursed our gas and paid for milage. The milage reimbursement basically covered our hotel stays, which made the whole trip much less stressful.
Since the first time Mark contacted Palm Health they have been easy to communicate with, straight forward and very supportive. They completed all negotiations with the hospital regarding pay, our planned vacations, and even purchased Mark’s flights to and from our vacation destinations. We have contacted Palm Health countless times with questions and concerns, and they have always been quick to return our call and address our needs. While it was difficult to leave our home and jobs to begin this journey, we are so thankful we chose Palm Health. We now have a trusting relationship with the company that sent us on this adventure over 2,000 miles away from home!