Focus on the Future

Outside Work Leads to Claims of Inside Collections

April 9, 2014

It’s not uncommon for some physicians to be engaged in multiple ventures. For example, an ophthalmologist may be a partner in a group with a practice location in City X as well as a shareholder in a group providing weekend ophthalmology coverage in Suburb Y.

Medical groups and their physician owners, as well as their non-owner physician employees and subcontractors, need to carefully specify in their employment agreements and subcontracts what services are within the scope of the physicians’ duties.

On multiple occasions, I’ve been engaged in connection with disputes between groups and physicians over whether services performed independently by the physician are within, or outside, the scope of the group’s interest. No matter who is right, these disputes are extremely expensive, time-consuming, and relationship destroying.

Sometimes, physicians don’t want to broach the issue of what they’re doing on the side. But discussing it up front is far less uncomfortable than being a defendant in a lawsuit. Groups, too, can avoid this mess by being extremely clear on the scope of employment/engagement in their physician services agreements.

Or, to put this in medical terms, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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