is prohibited for all full-time School of Medicine faculty physicians.
"Full-time" includes all university-paid faculty members whose
employment status is 0.50 FTE or greater and who have regular faculty
appointments. This prohibition against moonlighting, which is strictly
enforced, derives from policies governing University Physicians, Inc. (UPI) as
well as the University of Colorado Malpractice Trust. Both documents require
School of Medicine faculty members to devote 100 percent of their professional
time and effort to the university.
Moonlighting, clinical consulting and locum tenens work are prohibited,
even during weekends and vacations. Here is why:
- Every full-time faculty member, at the
time of hire, must sign a Member Practice Agreement with UPI. The
agreement is mandated by the University of Colorado Board of Regents as a
condition of faculty appointment. The agreement is a binding contract that
obligates each faculty member to assign all clinical practice and other
professional income to UPI. This includes all earned income, even during
weekends, nights and vacations.
"Clinical practice and other professional income" is defined
broadly in the agreement; such income includes all work that relates to a
faculty member's training, expertise and professional duties.
Unrelated income—for example, from a lawn care business or private music
lessons—is not restricted by this contract. There is also a narrow
exception for certain types of small, one-time academic honoraria. The
university has strictly and vigorously enforced, in court, the prohibition
- Moonlighting also violates the provisions
of the Colorado Government Immunity Act (GIA) and jeopardizes a faculty
member's malpractice protection. Regular, full-time (> 0.50 FTE)
university-employed faculty members are considered "public
employees" under the GIA, and their malpractice liability is limited
to $350,000 per person and $990,000 per incident. But the "public
employee" status—and this malpractice insurance protection—only apply
if a faculty member has "no independent or other health care
practice." A faculty member who moonlights may no longer be
considered a public employee under Colorado law and may not be covered by
the GIA and the university's self-insurance trust.
- A faculty member who moonlights jeopardizes not only his or her
malpractice protection for the moonlighting work but also for clinical
practice at the university and its affiliated hospitals. Thus,
moonlighting can result in unlimited liability and no malpractice
insurance coverage from the University of Colorado. Note that work for
other public entities, such as Denver Health or the Veterans
Administration, is not considered an "independent or other health
care practice" and is permitted.
Information for Part-Time and
Volunteer Faculty Members
- Separate provisions apply to volunteer
faculty members and to those who are paid on a part-time basis. Part-time,
paid (<0.50 FTE) faculty members sign an Associate UPI Member Practice
Agreement that does not restrict their outside clinical or consulting
practices. However, if they also have an outside health care practice: a)
they are covered by the self-insurance trust only for injuries caused by a
student, intern or resident under their supervision; and b) they are not
covered by the self-insurance trust for their own acts or omissions and
must maintain their own malpractice coverage for work performed within and
outside the university.
- Volunteer faculty members, who receive no
payment or compensation from any university sources are covered by the
university self-insurance trust for those services that are volunteered.
- Part-time and volunteer physicians must
have active clinical faculty appointments to receive coverage by the
University of Colorado Malpractice Trust.
Occasionally, an outside clinical practice is considered vital to a
faculty member's work and to the School of Medicine. In these exceptional
circumstances, UPI and the School of Medicine can structure contractual agreements
to bring this outside work into a School of Medicine cost center, so that
earned income can be provided as an incentive to the faculty member. When
properly executed, such outside clinical work is no longer considered
moonlighting; rather, it becomes a component of the faculty member's work for
the university, and the legal entanglements discussed above are avoided. In
these unique circumstances, the faculty member and his or her department should
work closely with UPI to structure an agreement that permits the faculty member
to perform the activities in question.