Q: Our cardiology department is now going to be getting medical students on rotation for the first time. I’m not an employee but as part of my privileges and responsibilities, I will be working with the students. The hospital told us that the medical school is covering us for this work. Do I still need to tell my own malpractice carrier that I will be precepting students?
A: At the risk of invoking a meme from a past administration, it all depends on what the meaning of “covering” is.
There are three components to this paradigm: the medical students, the hospital, and the attending doctors like you. The medical school will undoubtedly be indemnifying the students for their own actions and will likely also be indemnifying the hospital for what the students may do, but since you are not an employee that hospital coverage will likely not extend to you.
You need to check this out very specifically with administration. Don’t just take their word for it if they say that you are covered – ask for a coverage letter that refers to physicians in your position as non-employee preceptors being covered for any acts or omissions related to that preceptorship and for any vicarious liability for the acts and omissions of the students.