Medical Malpractice Insurance for Moonlighting Physicians | Physicians Insurance

Physician Moonlighting

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—Are You Covered for “Moonlighting”?

You never want to learn after making a claim that you don’t have proper insurance coverage for your health, home, or auto insurance.

It would be unwelcome information for you to learn that your professional liability insurance did not extend to the part-time work you were doing, given that you work as a physician on the side. Additionally, it would also be unwelcome news that your professional liability insurance did not accompany you.

Physicians who are employed by large healthcare delivery systems are typically not covered for the provision of professional services outside of their employer’s or hospital’s network. However, they might be required to respond to allegations of medical malpractice that arise from their moonlighting activities, which involve providing services outside of their regular employment.

The Hospital does not want to increase their vulnerability to take on the risk presented, for a doctor who is on vacation, small practices in need of coverage, competing hospitals offering hospitalist shifts, urgent care centers, local nursing homes, and a wide range of alternative options for part-time work. The Hospital wishes to retain that aspect of control and management, partly because the employing organization carefully manages the risk associated with their own institution or network. The employer’s position on this matter serves as the justification.

Generally, you will usually need to arrange protection insurance for yourself in order to earn extra dollars outside of the program setting or take advantage of opportunities to expand your clinical experience with other employers. However, in these cases, discuss your plan with your supervisor. Residents who are struggling with financial stressors may find the option to work extra hours within their own facility or network, possibly covered by their current malpractice insurance.

The residents are not restricted from the opportunities of moonlighting, and more experienced physicians also recognize the benefit of expanding their learning and experience through other clinical opportunities. Additionally, they do not lose out on the additional revenue benefits either.

If you are a physician employed, you may need a separate insurance policy for moonlighting work, as your medical malpractice coverage will not provide protection for your coverage malpractice medical if you do not follow any restrictions.

If you have made an agreement to work on a part-time basis for another employer, it is important to ascertain whether you will be given medical malpractice insurance before committing to the job. Locum Tenens placement agencies may offer some form of coverage, although it may not meet your desired level, and the expenses for it will typically be subtracted from your hourly wage. Their insurance policy might be extended to include you under the provisions related to locum tenens in their policy language, and this can often be arranged without any additional premium if you are taking over the responsibilities of another physician during their vacation or leave.

When you work fewer moonlighting hours per month, you can depend on generous discounts for coverage. It makes sense to take on extra work, considering the loss of personal time and commuting costs. Make sure to weigh the expense of insurance premiums and obtain a quote for the cost of malpractice insurance. As an independent contractor, you will be responsible for your own medical malpractice protection, as you are not considered an “employee” for the most part.

Updated June 2023 and originally published June 2017