It’s commonly said now that when new graduates enter the healthcare field, they should not wonder if they’ll get sued, but rather wonder when they’ll get sued. All healthcare practitioners assume a high degree of risk, which is why affordable malpractice insurance is so crucial. However, locum tenens physicians have unique concerns when it comes to risk management. Contracting with a recruiting agency that provides locum tenens insurance in Miami is just one step toward risk management.
Review the Locum Tenens Insurance Policy
Every locum tenens physician should fully understand the extent of their healthcare liability insurance coverage. Typically, staffing agencies provide claims-made coverage, which provide coverage for claims that arise during the active period of the policy. If your recruiting agency offers claims-made locum tenens insurance, make sure you will also have tail coverage. Additionally, remember that different states and hospitals have varying minimum coverage requirements . Make sure that your policy meets the requirements for a particular area before accepting a position. Bear in mind that when you apply for future licenses and medical staff privileges, you may be asked to demonstrate proof of prior liability insurance. Always keep a certificate of insurance in your personal records.
Request an Orientation
When you begin a new locum tenens position, it’s wise to request an orientation. Some healthcare facilities routinely offer formal orientations to new staff members. If not, you can ask a co-worker to introduce you to the system. You may need to be shown how to use the clinic’s electronic health records (EHR) software, for example. Be sure to ask questions about anything that isn’t clear to you.
Maintain Solid Documentation
Meticulous documentation is especially important for locum tenens providers. Record all pertinent information in a patient’s record, and exercise caution when ordering procedures and tests. After ordering a test or imaging study, make sure you receive the results in a timely manner. Help your patients gain confidence in your ability by carefully explaining diagnoses, discussing side effects and complications, and discussing other relevant matters.
Communicate with Your Agency
Don’t hesitate to speak up if you have concerns about the quality of patient care or the safety of the hospital environment. Let your staffing agency know immediately about any issues and incidents, even if you were not directly involved in an incident.
Quite often, nurses are the frontline responders to a patient crisis. Even when a nurse is utterly devoted to upholding the standard of care, he or she can easily be a target of a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by a dissatisfied patient. One quick look at the latest nursing medical malpractice statistics verifies the critical importance of working with a malpractice insurance agency near Palm Beach to obtain comprehensive healthcare liability insurance . For nurses who plan to work for a medical staffing agency, reviewing the locum tenens insurance policy is essential.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
Advanced practice registered nurses are at the height of their profession, with the master’s or doctoral degree to prove it. Despite their advanced knowledge and highly specialized skillset, APRNs are a frequent target in med-mal lawsuits. According to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), there were 3,546 APRNs in the U.S. from 2003 to 2013. During the same time period, there were 1,458 adverse actions taken against APRNs, along with 2,791 med-mal payments. The state with the highest number of medical malpractice payments for this category of healthcare professional was Florida, at 382.
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
During that same time period, the NPDB reported that there were 49,543 licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in the U.S. and a total of 67,368 adverse actions taken against LPNs. However, 10,579 LPNs were reinstated and the claims only resulted in 399 medical malpractice payments.
Many individuals who aspired to the healthcare profession chose to become registered nurses (RNs) because of the favorable job outlook, the growth potential, and the lucrative compensation. In fact, from 2003 to 2013, the NPDB reported 70,145 RNs in the U.S. However, during that same time period, a significant number of adverse actions were taken. The NPDB reports 100,709 adverse actions and 3,743 medical malpractice payments. Although the highest number of medical malpractice payments involving RNs was 873 in New Jersey, it’s critical for RNs and other healthcare providers to obtain affordable malpractice insurance wherever they practice.
Many healthcare providers dread the day they might receive a notice of misrepresentation from a disgruntled patient’s attorney. It’s essential to have healthcare liability insurance in Palm Beach. However, while affordable malpractice insurance such as medical staffing insurance protects you from liability in the event of a lawsuit , the overall costs of medical malpractice to the U.S. economy are staggering.
When you watch this video from CNN, you’ll hear two experts debating the merits of medical malpractice caps and discussing the pitfalls of defensive medicine. While medical malpractice payouts equal approximately $1.4 billion each year, defensive medicine has been shown to cost the U.S. economy far more in unnecessary medical expenditures. This video serves as a good reminder of the importance of regularly reviewing your healthcare liability insurance policy to ensure adequate coverage.