Many physicians are finding ways to earn income in addition to their regular employment. These “side businesses” typically utilize a physician’s specialized skills, knowledge, and licensure to perform. Not all of them increase a physician’s risk of malpractice - for example, teaching/lecturing, authoring/editing books and journals, and serving as an expert reviewer for claims and lawsuits carry little, if any, malpractice risk. However, many side businesses do have the potential to increase the risk of a malpractice claim.
An area of particular concern that can significantly increase the risk of malpractice is one that involves the supervision of others. Physicians who agree to serve as a Medical Director for an outside facility such as a prison, nursing home, or MedSpa are at a higher risk. Similarly, physicians who supervise or collaborate with Advanced Practice Practitioners who are not associated with their practice are at an increased risk of potential liability. In these supervisory situations, physicians are not only responsible for their own actions or inactions, but also for the care provided by those they supervise. Some of the legal theories advanced by plaintiff’s attorneys in malpractice claims against supervising physicians include vicarious liability, negligent supervision, negligent hiring, practicing/supervising outside the applicable standard of care, and failure to adhere to state required rules (such as an absence or deviation from written protocols).
A physician should thoroughly consider all risks before engaging in these types of side businesses. Our Claims Attorneys are available to help if you have any questions or concerns. You will also need to notify our Underwriting Department if you are engaging in a side business that potentially increases your liability risk or is outside the occupation or specialty you identified on your SVMIC application.
Jeffrey A. Woods is the Director of Risk Education in the Risk Education and Evaluation Services Department at SVMIC. Jeff received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee Martin and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Following graduation, he practiced law in Knoxville for almost 15 years, advising physicians and healthcare providers and defending them in malpractice claims. He is licensed to practice in Tennessee and all Federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association.
Jeff joined SVMIC in 2003 and was a Senior Claims Attorney until 2015 when he transferred to his current position.
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