By Vicky VanGorder, CPCU, RPLU
Have you accepted the position/title of medical director for a nursing home, surgery center, weight loss clinic, imaging center, laser hair removal center, medi spa or any other facility? If so, do you have professional liability protection for your activities in this capacity? If you don’t know the answer to this you should!
Most physician professional liability insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for your activities as a medical director. The medical director’s position is generally not “hands on patient care” and is primarily administrative. A medical director is typically the clinical leader of the facility. Many times your responsibilities will include peer review, credentialing and establishing protocol and policies for the entity. You could be the ultimate decision maker of the care provided at the facility without ever touching the patients because you develop and implement the policies and procedures. You may also be the compliance officer meaning you’re responsible for keeping the facility in compliance with state and federal laws.
Many facilities are required by state law and licensing requirements to have a medical director at their facility. While the facility may not consider the risk exposures this position generates, you should!
Before accepting this position you should check with your professional liability insurance company to see if your policy can be extended to provide this protection. If not, you should then check with the facility to see if their professional liability insurance policy protects you for these duties. If the facility doesn’t maintain professional liability insurance coverage or it doesn’t extend protection for your activities as the medical director this should be a clear sign that this probably isn’t the position for you. If the facility has protection that extends the coverage to the medical director you should require that they provide you with evidence of this protection. You will also want to be sure the coverage is in force for each year you are the medical director.
Remember this – if a patient has a bad outcome and sues the physician(s) that rendered or failed to render the professional services, they may also sue the facility where the services were provided and the medical director (you). If your professional liability insurance coverage doesn’t protect you for this exposure and the facility doesn’t protect you, you may be involved in a claim without any protection.
Whether you’re considering this position for compensation or prestige of the position, understand the exposures and risks first.
For additional information on the exposures presented and the protection available please contact our office.
Vicky VanGorder, CPCU, RPLU
VanGorder Insurance Services, Inc.