Navigating DEA Guidelines: A Guide for Locum Tenens Physicians


Locum tenens physicians are healthcare professionals who provide temporary medical services to healthcare facilities in need. This may be due to staffing shortages, unexpected emergencies, or simply to provide coverage during a physician’s absence. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has specific guidelines that must be followed by locum tenens physicians. In this article, we will discuss how to navigate DEA guidelines as a locum tenens physician.

DEA Registration

The DEA requires that all physicians who prescribe, dispense, or administer controlled substances must register with the agency. This registration is necessary for both permanent and temporary physicians. As a locum tenens physician, you should make sure that your registration is up-to-date and that you have the necessary documentation to prove it.

When working as a locum tenens physician, you may be required to work at different healthcare facilities, each of which may have their own DEA registration number. It is important to verify that each facility you work at has a valid DEA registration number, and that you are authorized to practice medicine at that facility.

Prescription Requirements

When prescribing controlled substances as a locum tenens physician, you must follow the same requirements as a permanent physician. The prescription must include the patient’s name, the medication name and strength, dosage instructions, and the physician’s signature. Additionally, the prescription must be dated and indicate the physician’s DEA registration number.

If you are working at a healthcare facility that uses electronic prescriptions, you must ensure that your digital signature is secure and cannot be duplicated. You must also follow any additional requirements established by the healthcare facility for

electronic prescriptions.

Record-Keeping Requirements

As a locum tenens physician, you are responsible for maintaining accurate records of your prescriptions and dispensing activities. You must keep a record of each controlled substance that you prescribe, dispense, or administer, including the date, dosage, and patient information.

These records must be kept on file for at least two years and be readily available for inspection by the DEA. You should make sure to keep these records in a secure location to prevent unauthorized access.

Navigating DEA guidelines as a locum tenens physician can be challenging, but it is essential for providing quality care and protecting patients. You must ensure that your DEA registration is up-to-date and that you follow all prescription and record-keeping requirements. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you are providing safe and effective medical care to your patients while maintaining compliance with DEA regulations.


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