Businesses across the country are under more scrutiny than ever regarding the misuse of independent contractors, and healthcare facilities are not immune. The U.S. Department of Labor just released an interactive website that helps workers and employers understand and comply with the myriad and often complex laws regarding this designation. https://www.dol.gov/whd/workers/Misclassification/myths-main.htm
These helpful guidelines are an attempt to clarify the large and growing problem of worker misclassification in this new era of the "Freelance Economy". Recent articles outline businesses as diverse as Uber (http://bit.ly/2hTng1e), Instacart (http://bzfd.it/2ifivOx) and the construction and healthcare industries (http://bit.ly/2h1nJfQ) as being investigated for worker exploitation.
In one instance, a CRNA was injured while working for a medical staffing company. She provided her services to a hospital that identified her as an “Independent Contractor”, even though the staffing company set her pay and paid her expenses, housing and insurance. The case went all the way to the South Carolina State Supreme Court, which found that in fact both the staffing company and the hospital were “co-employers” of the CRNA and were liable for her workers’ compensation insurance claim.
In fact this “co-employment” relationship is very common with medical staffing and locum tenens firms. It also happens to be illegal. These companies tell both the clinician providing the services and the hospitals that pay for the services that the clinician is an independent contractor when they are not. This deceit puts both the medical professional and the healthcare facility at risk of fines and judgments, or worse. For a clinician to legitimately provide their services to a healthcare facility as an independent contractor, they must meet the labor law standards. This is no easy task as the law is complex, varies across states and is somewhat subjective. Freelance Clinician makes the determination clear and the process easy for both the healthcare facility and the medical professional to be compliant with State and Federal labor laws.
Freelance Clinician allows medical professionals to provide their services to healthcare facilities as legitimate independent contractors by addressing several factors:
1) Having the medical professional bid on the contract job;
2) Having the medical professional expressly provide their own insurance (malpractice and health);
3) Having the medical professional expressly pay all their own taxes and expenses and be at risk of loss if they fail to perform;
4) Having the medical professional provide their services to the healthcare facility under the Medical Services Agreement (MSA);
5) Allowing either party to terminate the contract if one of the parties fails to meet the agreed-upon terms;
6) Having the method of payment be on the Freelance Clinician invoicing and payment platforms;
7) Expressly noting the medical professional’s status as an independent contractor in the MSA;
8) Expressly noting the duration and type of services to be performed;
9) Only allowing highly-educated medical professionals who have been found to be able to exert “control” over the delivery of their skilled services to use Freelance Clinician. For example, a Physician, Nurse and an Occupational Therapist are able (according to the IRS the DOL and and various State labor boards) to provide their services as independent contractors as long as other criteria are met (see 1-8 above). This is in contrast to a LPN or a Physical Therapist Assistant; these workers do not possess the requisite level of education to work as independent contractors, regardless if the other criteria above are met.
Indeed, Freelance Clinician has contacted the U.S. Department of Labor, the IRS and each State to ensure that the Freelance Clinician model of temporary contract employment is compliant with these complex laws. In each and every determination, it was found to be compliant.
Freelance Clinician truly is unique: it is the only company that allows healthcare facilities and medical professionals to engage in an independent contractor relationship while remaining fully compliant with the myriad, complex and subjective labor laws.
Stay compliant, save money, save time and find the highly-qualified and credentialed medical professionals and the best contract medical jobs in the USA- use Freelance Clinician today!