After an initial rapid growth spurt, the number of physicians employed by hospitals or other health care corporate entities seems to be leveling off. As used in this article, “employed physicians” do not include physicians employed by their own professional corporations, entities in which the physicians are both employees and co-owners of the practice. Rather, this article addresses physicians employed by entities in which they have little or no decision-making authority.

These employment arrangements can have significant effects on physicians who later find themselves involved in allegations of medical malpractice. It is very important for physicians contemplating employment to understand the details of their future professional liability coverage as employees. It is even more important for them to understand what happens to that coverage if they leave their employment. The time to ask those questions is before accepting employment.

As employees, physicians are often told, and almost as often believe,...

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