Apparent Authority

It is good for an institution like the hospitals to distinguish clearly its nonemployees. However, the apparent authority concept portrays that, the principle instructs the third party by giving them information that an agent has been authorized to act on its behalf. In such case, the third party will have to abide and have good faith upon such authority (Reynolds, 2009). Also, it may arise when a person with no authority is given a contract to provide treatment to the patients with the company’s logo. For this case, sometimes doctors may not perform as the real employees of the hospitals but its patients may think so. Recently, it was confirmed that hospitals may be held accountable for their staff doctors. It is because patients believe that such doctors provide services on behalf of the hospitals.

According to the appellate court, it is not necessary to mislead the patient with affirmative action. However, the negligence of independent contractors sometimes makes the hospitals be immune from liability. Therefore, in its ruling, the court suggested that there are exceptions that allow doctors to act on behalf of the hospitals. Doctors can find themselves clothed under apparent authority due to the following factors. The first factor is the provision of the physicians by the hospitals. Secondly, the nature of the medical care provided. The medical care should be part of the treatment received by the patients.

Thirdly, they should provide the notices of the relationship between the doctor and the hospital. A prior notice should be supplied to the patient to know the actual relationship between the physicians and the hospital and also their responsibilities. The fourth factor is that the patient should have an opportunity to reject the Medicare and choose a different doctor or physician. Lastly, it is good to understand or have a special knowledge about the relationship between the doctor and the hospital.

The management in Hospitals is sometimes faced with higher risk, and this is because of the apparent authority liability. Therefore, it is upon the jury to take actions on the nonemployee physicians in Hospitals. The risk managers have hard tasks to review and give a clear approach towards distinguishing the nonemployees in their facilities. It is good also for the hospitals to notify their patients that the independent staff doctors seen are not their employees, and hence they do not act on their behalf. Similarly, the risk managers may decide to insert a disclaimer into the patient’s agreement form. It may work, but it cannot avoid liability (Antico & Miley, 2009).

Additionally, considerations should be put in place by the risk managers about the disclaimer when the staffs interact with the patients. Therefore, patients must be given a chance to choose a physician of their choice if they do not like the on-call doctors (Ting, Kwok, Tsang, & Lee, 2011). The risk managers should also ensure that independent staffs wear identifications to distinguish them from the others. Although these guidelines will not bar the court from finding apparent authority, it will instill faith in the institution.

However, there is quite a clear relationship between the physicians and the hospitals. The doctors or physicians are considered as workers to the authority that is the hospital. The physicians can be independent contractors or the actual employees (hospital-based specialists). Both the hospital-based specialist and the nonemployees treat patients after being authorized by the hospital. For the independent staff physicians, they are not employees and also, they do not act on behalf of the hospitals. However, they provide services to the patients and especially when they are on-call. The hospitals have also gone as far as posting the list of their independent staff doctors on their websites. It shows to the public that, the named people are not employees in particular hospitals.

As a health administrator, I conclude that the relationship between the physicians and the agency is right, but there are little hiccups. Most hospitals try to cover up their doctors or physicians by dispelling any impressions from their patients. Patients feel that these doctors act on behalf of the hospitals although the management disagrees with them. The hospitals should publicly show that the independent physicians are nonemployees instead of leaving the patients in the dark. Additionally, it is good that hospitals have adequately given the right information to the patients about the independent doctors. Patients getting such information may help in mitigating the risks that may be associated with it.

For the relationship between the physicians and hospitals to improve, certain things need to be considered. The pieces of advice to both parties are that hospitals should try and employ the independent physicians permanently. It will help in reducing uncertainty among the patients and also improve the faith of the patients towards the various treatments provided. Also, all hospitals should embrace the ideas of publicly telling the patients about the independent doctors. It will reduce cases of patients preferring to be treated by individual doctors to others. Lastly, it will be good if the physicians are clearly distinguished from the rest by being given particular dressing code. It will help the patients to identify them and hence providing a healthy relationship.




Antico, S. R., & Miley, C., (2009, April 1).Ruling may up risk for apparent authority: Healthcare risk management. Retrieved from

Reynolds, F. (2009). Apparent Authority. European Review of Private Law,17(6), 975-985.

Ting, S. L., Kwok, S. K., Tsang, A. H., & Lee, W. B. (2011). Critical elements and lessons learnt from the implementation of an RFID-enabled healthcare management system in a medical organization. Journal of medical systems,35(4), 657-669.

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