Audit tip: Locum agreements

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 56, No. 6, July August 2014, Page 296 Billing Tips

Thinking of hiring a locum? Here’s how to comply with the Medicare Protection Act and avoid problems later.

The practitioner number belonging to the physician who personally provided the insured service should be used when submitting a claim to MSP for payment.

Payment for the service can then be assigned to another physician (the host physician) or corporate body who owns the practice. To assign payment to the host physician, complete an Assignment of Payment form and submit it to the Ministry of Health. The form can be obtained from the Ministry of Health website at

If an Assignment of Payment form is not in place, billing statistics for the physician who owns the practice are distorted. In addition, noncompliance may impact the level of benefits that both the host physician and the locum are entitled to.

If you are the subject of an audit as a host physician and it is discovered that services provided by a locum were billed under your practitioner number, you could be responsible for paying back funds received in error. There are also medical-legal implications if a physician bills for services that he or she did not provide under another physician’s practitioner number.

Requirements pertaining to assignment of payment are provided in the Preamble (C. 7, C. 8, and C. 9) to the Doctors of BC Guide to Fees, which summarizes the requirements set out in the Medicare Protection Act.

It is worth taking the time to complete the Assignment of Payment form to protect both the host physician and the locum.
—Keith White, MD
Chair, Patterns of Practice Committee


This article is the opinion of the Patterns of Practice Committee and has not been peer reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board. For further information contact Juanita Grant, audit and billing advisor, Physician and External Affairs, at 604 638-2829 or

Keith J. White, MD. Audit tip: Locum agreements. BCMJ, Vol. 56, No. 6, July, August, 2014, Page(s) 296 - Billing Tips.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply