Moonlighting is no longer an activity solely practiced by residents to earn a little extra cash during their residency to make ends meet. The allure of moonlighting has attracted a larger crowd of doctors due to the extra experience, networking opportunities, and of course, the extra income.
More and more, physicians and physician assistants alike are actively seeking and taking on moonlighting opportunities. However, there are many precautions that need to be taken to ensure that moonlighting doesn’t land a medical professional in some kind of legal bind.
Some steps to being able to moonlight include:
- Make sure the moonlighting organization provides the flexibility to allow you to take time off from the moonlighting job if the primary position requires your presence.
- Avoid competitive situations. If the moonlighting job is merely serving on a speaker’s panel, there is usually no problem. But your employment contract at your primary job might prevent you from practicing medicine in competing groups. Even if it doesn’t, working for competitors can have a negative effect on your relationship with co-workers.
- Check your primary job’s employment contract for disincentives to moonlighting. For instance, some contracts might state, “While employed by employer, any remuneration generated by employee belongs to employer.”
- Residents moonlighting within their own organization are limited to a total of 80 hours of work each week. There is no such limit for doctors who moonlight outside their programs. But check with your program director to ensure that the hospital in which you plan to moonlight does not have a relationship with your primary placement, in which case the 80-hour limit might apply.
- Some employment contracts include specific language about what constitutes moonlighting — clinical and nonclinical — and the approval process necessary before the employee engages in any moonlighting. Make sure you read and follow any such policies exactly.
These are all solid guidelines to moonlighting as a physician assistant. However, the most important step to moonlighting is to be certain that insurance coverage is intact in a secondary office. Portable medical malpractice coverage is the answer for moonlighting PAs.
Portable coverage will follow a physician assistant wherever their moonlighting work takes them. Unlike employer provided coverage which will only help them in their primary job, portable coverage will protect them no matter where they are practicing.
For more information on portable medical malpractice coverage, visit www.MedEdge.com.