Become A Medical Director

Being a Medical Director is more than collecting a monthly paycheck. One of the most popular questions that I receive is how to make extra money as doctor. While there are many ways to make extra cash, becoming a medical director always seems to come up as a possible “easy” way to make money. While there are some perks, including financial benefits, there are also several risks to becoming a medical director. Your name will be associated with many legal documents, and you will be in control of quality metrics for the facility. The bureaucratic aspect of the job also is not worth the headache for many. I have become a medical director for a facility within the past year. I’ve grown to have somewhat love the job since starting this past year, but I have realized that this is by no means easy money.


Austin, TX At Dusk

What Is A Medical Director

A medical director is a physician who provides oversight, guidance, and works for quality improvement in an organization or facility.  Most states are legally required to have a medical director at facilities where health care is delivered.

The job title comes with a lot of legal and bureaucratic responsibilities. In return for a medical directors efforts, there is often a small to sometimes substantial financial compensation.


How To Look For Medical Director Work

  1. Read about responsibilities of what it means to be a medical director
  2. Call your insurance company to ensure that your malpractice will cover you or if you need to purchase additional coverage
  3. Consider starting up a PLLC or LLC and contracting work though these entities for legal protection. I would not go about this as an independent contractor
  4. Contact the facility and see if they have a need for your services
  5. Agree on terms and monthly payment (usually for SNF work in my area is 1-3k/month) Your market may vary. The larger the center, the larger the responsibilities, the higher the payoff
  6. Start working, reviewing programs such as infection control, seeing patients
  7. Attend the monthly meetings
  8. Collect your monthly paycheck

Medical Director In Haiti

Natural Spring Fed Pool In Haiti – Picture I took In 2014

It’s Work: Don’t Expect To Only Collect A Monthly Fee

Due to the laws mentioned above, many SNF’s, rehab centers, surgical centers etc., have to have a medical director. In some cases, this gets abused. Doctors will attached their name to several facilities, but only show up for the monthly meeting.

Doing this is a great way to earn a reputation as someone who does as little work as possible. The facility will most likely absolve you of your title soon after your start date if you are an absent director. Being absent also sets yourself for possible legal matters (when the boss is gone sometimes the quality of work or work environment goes down).

Do not take this type of job only for the money. You will find out quickly that the office will be calling or emailing you several times a week to sign all kids of different documents.


It Most likely Is Easier And Less Of A Headache To Do Locum Tenens

Being medical director comes with risk and more important to some people, a time commitment. My estimation is that I spent about 10-15 hours a month on medical director duties. This can be split up to an average of about 4 hours per week.

I could pick up one shift at a locum tenens job and make the same amount of money. Doing one shift a month is much easier than having to sign papers several different times a week and attend monthly meetings.


Being Called Anytime With Issues

Being medical director often means that you need to be available when issues arise. I was called on Christmas day after a patient filed a complaint against one of the staff members. This meant that I had to step away from my family gathering to deal with the situation.

Some doctors don’t mind being “always on,” but many others do. Be aware of what your call schedule is like and when you will need to be accessible. You will also need to find coverage for yourself in the event that you are on vacation.

moving coal in Haiti

Smugglers Moving From Dominican Republic Into Haiti – Photo I Took In 2014

Don’t Do It For The Extra Money

There will be dozens of companies in your area who are in need of an individual to fill the medical director position. This could range from urgent care centers, nursing homes, rehab centers, home health companies, hospice agencies. Do your homework before signing up. Like stated above, it’s not a free ride. Some companies will have you signing legal papers as a majority portion of your job – attaching legal responsibility to you.

First of all, ask yourself how much do you need the extra money before signing on as a medical director? If you don’t mind the bureaucratic aspect of medicine and extra responsibility, this might be a good job for you.


2 thoughts on “Become A Medical Director

  • January 10, 2018 at 4:58 AM

    I agree that it can be a source of income and that it can be a source of headaches. It does give you a little insight, influence, power, and connections. Being known can boost referrals to your practice. Medical directorships have served me well over the last 2 decades. On the other hand, I just dropped all of my remaining 3 part-time medical directorships and I couldn’t be happier.

    • January 10, 2018 at 6:25 AM

      I’m glad it has served you well and you’re right, it can be a good way to boost referrals to your practice!


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