No Corporate Practice of Medicine Doctrine in Missouri; Certain Licensed Healthcare Professionals Can Form Professional Corporations
Unlike Kansas, Missouri does not have a corporate practice of medicine doctrine. Generally, states with a corporate practice of medicine doctrine prohibit general business entities from hiring or contracting with physicians and other licensed healthcare professionals to practice medicine and other professional healthcare services, if the entity itself is not licensed to provide such services.
Because Missouri does not have a corporate practice of medicine doctrine, general business entities in Missouri can hire or contract with physicians and other licensed healthcare professionals to provide professional services. Before seeking or accepting such employment, Missouri physicians and other licensed healthcare professionals should seek legal counsel to ensure that the licensing authority for their specific profession does not prohibit or restrict such professional’s employment by a general business entity.
Missouri does permit many types of licensed healthcare professionals to form “professional corporations.” Each owner of a Missouri professional corporation must be licensed or authorized to practice a certain profession, and all directors and officers (other than the secretary) must also be qualified persons with respect to the underlying profession of the entity. Missouri permits the following healthcare related professionals to form and own shares of professional corporations:
- Physicians, surgeons, doctors of medicine, or doctors of osteopathy
- Registered nurses
- Physical therapists
A Missouri professional corporation may be formed only for the purpose of rendering a single type of professional service and services ancillary thereto, except to the extent a combination of professional services is permitted by the licensing authorities of the specific professions. If you have plans to start a professional corporation for the purpose of offering a combination of the above services, you should seek legal counsel regarding whether offering such combination of services is permitted.
As a licensed healthcare professional, you may wish to start a professional corporation to receive the benefit of protection of your personal assets from the debts and legal liabilities of the corporation. You will remain potentially liable for losses caused by your own professional actions or carelessness. Therefore, it is important to maintain your own medical malpractice insurance, even if you become a shareholder in a professional corporation.
If you are a Missouri licensed healthcare related professional and are thinking about new employment, a new affiliation, or forming your own entity, the Health and Business attorneys at Martin Pringle are ready to assist.
For a discussion of the treatment of similar topics in Kansas, click here.