Who Needs Medical Malpractice Insurance in a Medical Facility?
Craig Skerpac, MBA
Medical facilities often employ hundreds of individuals, many of which perform different tasks. Many, if not most of them, have direct interaction with patients. When employees interact with patients, they have a chance of accidentally harming others. If a patient is accidentally harmed, a malpractice lawsuit might result. This could put both the facility and the individual in question, in a bind. Almost all parties in the facility need malpractice insurance coverage. Who are the groups that need malpractice insurance? Does everyone have coverage under the same protection?
Malpractice coverage will apply to a variety of those within your practice. However, make sure they all have appropriate coverage from the correct policy forms. Often, you can require coverage based on an individual's employment status.
Understanding Malpractice Coverage
Generally, malpractice coverage applies to individuals in medical practices who treat patients. There will always be a risk that, during these interactions, someone could get hurt. An injured patient might hold the provider responsible.
A malpractice policy might help pay for claims arising from:
- Misdiagnosis or mistreatment of illnesses
- Prescription errors
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia mistakes
Along with other similar charges. The injury costs resulting from such mistakes could become extremely excessive. Thus, a malpractice policy might prove critical. It can help protect the facility from unanticipated financial losses. Any medical facility can benefit from effective protection.
Medical malpractice can also protect you from:
- An insurance carrier settling a case without your permission
- Claims for past insured events when switching carriers
- Late notification of insured events that occur during the policy period
- Bodily injury and property damage
- False advertising, slander or libel claims
How Policies Cover Employees
Malpractice insurance comes in multiple shapes and sizes. The policy your facility needs will depend on the services offered, and the employees within.
Often, facilities carry a malpractice policy in their own name. Therefore, the operation itself has a degree of coverage. The policy can extend not only to the facility, but also to many of those under its roof. Indeed, multiple hospitals extend coverage to anyone under full-time employment at the facility.
Even so, some employees need extra coverage beyond the protection carried by the facility. Some facilities only carry generalized coverage for their own commercial needs. Therefore, many practices require employees to carry additional malpractice coverage on their own.
Coverage can extend an extra degree of protection to the individual, based on their own needs. For example, employees in particularly high-risk jobs, like ER physicians, might need their own coverage.
Furthermore, the facility's coverage might not apply to parties who are not official employees, but still work within the business. For example, contracted physicians or nursing services might not prove official hospital employees. Thus, they might need their own coverage, or a policy from their own official employer.
who can benefit from malpractice insurance?
Often, paramedics are not employees of a hospital itself. Generally, they are the employees of independent ambulance groups. Even so, they are often the first line of defense when someone needs critical medical care. These employees often need malpractice policies. Yet, coverage must apply to the risks they might encounter in their specific duties.
Medical Students and Residents
Often, hospitals will require medical students to carry their own malpractice insurance. Generally, medical students stand to lose the most following a malpractice claim. Therefore, coverage can prove critical to their own protection.
Physicians and Surgeons
All physicians within the practice need medical malpractice insurance. However, every doctor is different. Therefore, the coverage they need might vary. Again, while many facilities provide a degree of malpractice coverage, most physicians need their own policies. Both physicians and physician assistants need coverage.
Surgeons often reside in a special field of their own. Therefore, they'll often need more tailored coverage than attending physicians. Coverage should apply, in all cases, both inside and outside the operating room.
Nurses and Nurse Practitioners
Most nurses work in a diversity of scenarios. Indeed, many do not focus on a particular specialty, like some physicians. Therefore, they need malpractice coverage to apply to their risks, uniquely. Depending on a nurse's duties, the type of coverage they need might vary.
If your facility uses contracted nurses, they might have coverage from their own employer. Nevertheless, check your own policy to see how it applies to those working on your premises.
You don't want to place the facility in a bind in case a patient holds both parties responsible for a loss.
Other Parties Within The Facility
These are not the only people within a facility who need malpractice insurance. Others who need coverage might include:
- Psychiatrists and psychologists
- Physical therapists
- Social workers
Yet, the protection these parties need might differ from a standard medical malpractice policy. In some cases, for example, they might need what is better termed a professional liability policy. These policies need to apply to professional mistakes these parties might make in the course of their duties. A broader professional liability policy might apply to other groups within the facility, like accountants and legal counsel. Therefore, you might need several types of liability coverage.
So, when the time comes to get a liability insurance policy, talk to one of our agents. We can help you determine the balance of coverage for all employees within your practice.
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