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Doing medical administrative work? Do you have liability protection?

A female physician using a laptop

2 minutes

Published: May 2017 /
Revised: September 2021

The information in this article was correct at the time of publishing

If you’re a physician acting as a medical administrator, whether full or part-time, you need liability protection. You are generally eligible for CMPA assistance with medico-legal issues that arise from your medical professional work in Canada. However, for your work related to formulating and implementing the non-clinical policies of an organization you serve, you should look to that organization for legal advice and assistance.

Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions the CMPA gets about administrative work.

For what kind of administrative work am I eligible for assistance from the CMPA?

CMPA members are generally eligible for assistance with administrative work that requires them to use their medical knowledge and expertise. For example, this can include acting as a medical advisor and performing tasks such as reviewing disability claims for insurance companies; reviewing medical journal articles; providing medical input to hospital committees, boards, management groups, and review panels; and being involved in certain research activities. It can also include providing medical opinions or advice for organizations such as hospitals, health authorities, learning institutions, governments, associations, or private companies.

If I’m not seeing patients, do I need protection?

Yes. Although you may not have direct clinical contact with patients, you may remain vulnerable to medico-legal actions or regulatory authority (College) complaints arising from your medical input.

What kind of administrative work is not protected by the CMPA?

The CMPA generally does not assist physicians with non-clinical administrative work that supports an organization. This can include developing and implementing non-clinical policies, procedures, or other directives established on behalf of organizations such as hospitals, health authorities, learning institutions, governments, associations, and private companies. Included in this category is non-clinical administrative work performed by hospital or clinic administrative appointees such as chiefs of staff, department heads, or medical directors of clinics.

Do I need protection for non-clinical administrative work?

Yes. Physicians should ensure the organization they’re serving will provide them with full defence and full indemnification if legal problems result from their non-clinical administrative work. Physicians should speak to their organization and obtain confirmation of protection in writing.

For more information on the CMPA’s assistance for administrative work and your appropriate CMPA type of work code, call the Association or read more:

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this learning material is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific professional medical or legal advice, nor to constitute a "standard of care" for Canadian healthcare professionals. The use of CMPA learning resources is subject to the foregoing as well as the CMPA's Terms of Use.