Hiring an Employee versus an Independent Contractor

posted by Kathy Everitt on Monday, August 12, 2019

Many dentists use independent contractors as a cost-effective way to add staff to their dental practices.

An independent contractor is commonly thought to be a provider who works independently of the owner, has a contract with the practice to perform services, and makes their own schedule. The American Dental Association (ADA) defines an independent contractor as an individual who contracts with a practice owner to utilize space and equipment, deriving their income solely from their own patients, and not receiving any financial compensation from the owner of the practice. When it comes to the malpractice insurance coverage, either situation can have an effect on the professional liability coverage of those involved.

The legal doctrine of respondeat superior states that, in many circumstances, an employer is responsible for the actions of employees performed within the course of their employment. It is important that all parties understand the contracting or employment relationship.  As a practice owner if you are adding an independent contractor, understand that good credentialing protocols should include:

  1. Securing and maintaining copies of professional liability coverage and loss history
  2. Checking educational background and training programs
  3. Verifying previous employers and/or personal references
  4. Researching state(s) licenses for any board actions, suspensions, revocations or disciplinary actions
  5. Confirming DEA license
  6. Contacting your agent/professional liability carrier 

Blog Author

Kathy Everitt

Senior Risk Management Consultant

Kathy brings with her more than 30 years of professional liabil...

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