In a previous post I outlined how a healthcare professional can become an expert medical reviewer for their respective medical boards. In this post I’ll discuss a side income option for healthcare professionals – performing medical expert jobs for a private legal firm.
A medical expert jobs can be taken on by a physician, pharmacist, or an NP or PA. Such individuals will then be used as medical experts in their field and review cases, offer opinions, and possibly testify for a private legal firm.
Needless to say, if you’re an MA, RN, or LPN, it’s the same process when it comes to legal representation. Lawyer’s have the ability to pick apart an argument but don’t know the details of how each specific profession is practiced and what the standards of care is.
Finding Medical Expert jobs
I get inquiries about finding medical expert jobs on this blog and answer it the following 3 ways which is effective based on the feedback I’ve received.
1. Word of Mouth
The most effective way of finding medical expert jobs is by word of mouth, by connecting with another healthcare professional who is already doing this sort of work.
Ask your older per diem colleagues. Some of them are doing it or know of someone who is doing it. There is plenty of work to go around if you’re the right candidate (which I’ll discuss below).
2. Contact Law Firms & Expert Firms
The second best option for finding medical expert jobs is by seeking out medical law practices and medical expert firms and submitting a fine-tuned resume to them.
Below are a list of some medical expert websites I have found and some that I’ve applied to myself in the past:
- Expert Witnesses
- Expert Pages
- Juris Pro
- Margarian Law Group
- American Medical Experts
- Huegli Fraser Law Firm
- The Expert Institute
- Elite Medical Experts
3. Job Search
The final method would be performing a job search such as this one on a website such as LinkedIn. The terms used are: “medical expert” or “medical expert witness”.
The Need For Medical Experts
These are various fields where medical expert jobs are abundant.
1. Medical Malpractice
Though medical malpractice is obviously the gorilla in the room, there is a need for a medical expert for other legal battles.
Before a case is taken on by a legal firm, they may email their medical experts to see if it’s a worthwhile case to take on and how best to approach it.
2. VA Benefits
Consider VA benefits where a person wants to petition for disability through the VA.
3. Workman’s Comp
Workman’s comp is another area where medical experts are routinely utilized. Though these are rarely jury-type cases, they are lengthy.
4. Insurance Fraud
Then there are insurance fraud cases. A private office may be billing for an ultrasounds of the knee to diagnose early arthritis – but is that justified?
CMS (Medicare, Medicaid) audits fall into this category as well and medical expert jobs are sometimes available through the gov’t directly.
(been there, done that)
5. Medical Board Investigation
Regulatory cases involve medical board investigations, professional group investigations, or federal investigations.
(been there, done that)
How Much Can You Earn
I can’t speak for specialists outside of primary care, though, unless you are a neurosurgeon don’t expect to earn substantially more based on your specialty.
Just like anything in this economy, it’s about marketing yourself. Everything from your resume, to the articles you write, to your industry-specific blog, can help you land medical expert jobs at higher hourly remuneration.
One of my colleagues earns $500 to review a chart for a law group in California. He gets paid $500/hour to be in court. He gets about $1,000 to show up to the law office for a deposition.
Medical Expert vs Consultant
A medical expert is someone whose opinion is considered to be the standard of care or at least is spun so by the legal team. This person will not only review cases but also serve as an expert in court, possibly in front of a jury.
A medical consultant may be someone who is used by the legal team to obtain further information. A consultant may be someone who is available by email to the legal team to tease out workflows or protocols.
Sample consultant inquiry:
“Dear consultant, this is lawyer xyz. Since you perform outpatient anesthesia, we would like to inquire as to the proper procedures involved when observing a patient in the outpatient setting after their procedure/surgery is done. Please answer the following questions.”
How To Apply as a Medical Expert, Effectively
It’s common for healthcare professionals to bombard such companies with their resumes which makes it hard to stand out if all you have is a generic resume.
1. Targeted Resume
Take the time to create a specific resume for medical expert jobs and you’ll definitely stand out more. Certainly include a picture of yourself and mention that you speak English fluently – or… comprehensibly.
2. Field Experience
In the “field experience” section, include any QA work you may have done. Or perhaps you have reviewed charts for your medical group or supervised PA’s.
3. Be Specific
Most importantly, be specific about your area of expertise in your search for medical expert jobs. Family medicine won’t cut it and anesthesia probably won’t set you apart, either.
Instead, use “outpatient acute care” or “urgent care” or “walk-in care”. You want to use as many terms as possible – don’t be shy about it. Your CV will be scanned into a giant database and the terms you use will become searchable.
Consider the following terms if you feel that you can competently serve as a medical expert for them:
- post-op care
- patient transfer
- urgent care
- outpatient trauma
- primary care imaging interpretation
- outpatient consulting
- workplace injury
- rape assessment
- primary care gynecology
You get the idea. Be specific. The lawyers are looking for someone who can come across as an expert – they aren’t looking for the world’s leading authority on the subject.
4. Pertinent Negatives
The law group client will want to know that you have never had a felony. That you have never been investigated by the medical board. That you have never been fired from a job for xyz.
They will want to know that you have never settled a case in court or had a medical malpractice case. And if you have had one, this is the perfect place to explain it because it doesn’t rule you out.
Mention that you have never had a drug problem. That you have never had a license taken away or suspended. Etc, etc.
5. Mention Your Blog
This is how you can make money from your blog. If you are writing about medical cases, reviewing journal articles, and discussing topics of interest, then mention it.