Medical Exercise Specialists as Contractors
Medical Exercise Specialists are working as contractors in new settings such a chiropractic and physical therapy clinics. In these settings client cancellations and no-shows are common. Once you are contracted by a licensed medical professional, you work under his or her supervision with all aspects of client care. You make decisions regarding exercise selection, intensity and limitations but the medical professional and the office staff make the decisions on practice policies and their enforcement.
One of our Medical Exercise Specialists contacted me today concerning the chiropractor with which she has a contract to provide MET services. The chiropractor expected her to collect cancellation and no-show fees from patients receiving services in the practice. In this situation, MES is a contractor in the practice. The administrative and front desk staff handle all appointments and scheduling. The contract MES is not responsible for collecting fees or enforcing the cancellation/no-show policy. If you find yourself in this situation, please understand your responsibilities as a contractor do not include collecting fees.
MET Contractor Responsibilities
Your responsibilities as a MET contractor are directly solely toward client management. These responsibilities include: 1) developing safe and effective exercise programming; 2) supervising the exercise sessions; 3) documentation of MET services; 4) communication with medical professionals regarding the client progress; 5) utilizing exercise equipment in a safe manner; 6) lifestyle education. Anything beyond these activities is inappropriate for a MES providing contract services in a medical setting.
Consequences of Not Having a Contract
This is an important story because many Medical Exercise Specialists are entering into agreements with medical professionals to provide contract-MET services. If you aren’t clear of your responsibilities as a MET contractor you are sure to have problems. These problems may result in clinical as well possible financial and tax issues. The IRS has a strict litmus test on the role and activities of “contractors”. A situation similar to the one outlined above may cause the IRS to re-classify you as an employee. This may result in penalties and fees for you and the medical facility.
Professional Independence & Integrity
If you are working in a medical setting as a contractor and you are performing activities you feel are inappropriate, please contact our office at 1.888.610.0923. As medical professionals recognize medical exercise training as a revenue generator, more contract opportunities will come available. Protect your professional independence and integrity by putting a contract in place that specifically outlines your clinical and administrative duties/responsibilities. Do not start providing services until your attorney reviews the contract. You will save yourself a lot of frustration.