Moonlighting – it’s not just for residents

Sooner or later, almost every resident is going to consider working a few hours a week in a setting completely separate from his or her training program. But we also know that some doctors in salaried employment (academia, government agencies, administrative positions, etc.)  want to moonlight in clinical work. In our experience, many “moonlighters” don’t plan for covering their liability exposure in their moonlight practice.

Some employers, realizing that most prospective moonlighters don’t have their own liability coverage,   agree to see if their own liability coverage can be extended to the part-time practitioners. If a prospective employer can handle it that way, it’s easier for the moonlighter.  Other factors, however, besides ease should be forefront in the moonlighting doctor’s mind.  Consider that that some practices may only cover employees and not contractors.  A moonlighting doctor should confirm their employment status and coverage with the employer.

Since you’re likely to be working in this part-time capacity for a short time, I suggest you consider purchasing your own part-time policy.

Let’s say you start working at a clinic for 6 hours a week and the clinic management agrees to add you to their policy. You know that it’s important to ask about the kind of coverage the clinic has in place, and you’re a little concerned when you’re told it’s a claims made policy. The business manager, however, assures you that they intend to purchase a tail policy if they ever terminate coverage, but “we’re doing very well, and we intend to keep renewing the policy indefinitely.” During the year you work there, you see several hundred patients.

You end your part-time work and move on with your professional life a couple hundred miles away. Unknown to you, the year after you leave, the clinic runs into financial trouble, declares bankruptcy and is unable to purchase a tail policy. You now have no coverage for the patients you saw during that time. This is not good.

If you purchase your own coverage, you control the policy. Before you take on a part-time practice, make sure you have coverage for it. Have questions? Contact us.  We are happy to walk you through a decision that makes sense for you.