Often, physicians are responsible for purchasing their own healthcare liability insurance, which is one reason why so many have considered applying for locum tenens positions. With a locum tenens position, the placement company is almost always responsible for providing locum tenens insurance in Palm Beach. In some cases, the healthcare facility that is engaging the locum tenens provides the coverage. If you’re considering applying to a locum tenens company, it’s imperative to read the fine print before you sign any agreement. Not only will you need to make sure that you understand the terms of your engagement, your cancellation clause, and other provisions, but you must also make sure that the placement agency provides exceptional locum tenens insurance .
Understanding Claims-Made Coverage
Locum tenens placement companies often offer claims-made hospital malpractice insurance. These policies provide coverage for physicians in the event that an incident both occurred and was reported within the active period. This means that if the policy extends to February 1, 2015 and an incident was not reported until February 2, 2015, coverage is not provided. Generally, claims-made coverage is somewhat riskier for locum tenens physicians, given the short-term duration of the engagement and given that the placement agency, not the physician, is in control of the policy renewal.
Evaluating Occurrence-Made Coverage
Many locum tenens physicians prefer to apply to placement agencies that offer occurrence-made coverage, which provides more comprehensive protection. With this type of locum tenens insurance, the physician is covered for all alleged incidents that occurred within the active period of the policy, regardless of when the claim is filed. This means that even if the healthcare liability insurance coverage expires on June 1, 2015, and an incident that occurred months earlier is not reported until June 1, 2016, the policy still provides coverage.
Purchasing “Tail” Insurance
Even when a locum tenens placement agency provides claims-made coverage, physicians can obtain additional protection if the contract includes a provision for the purchase of “tail” insurance. Purchasing “tail” insurance with a coverage period of at least two years is preferable, given that the typical medical malpractice statute of limitations is two years.
For many physicians, locum tenens positions offer the ability to travel to new locations, transition to the next stage in their careers, and choose their own assignments. And for existing practices, locum tenens employees provide an ideal stop-gap solution to temporary staffing shortages. CLS Healthcare Liability Specialists is the leading provider of locum tenens insurance in Palm Beach. We also provide affordable malpractice insurance from our offices in Georgia and Texas.
When you choose our company for your medical staffing insurance needs, you’ll have access to highly competitive premiums—a must in today’s evolving healthcare industry. We offer non-auditable flat premium policies, with defense cost outside the limits available. Our top-rated carrier has been approved not only in all 50 states, but in 200 countries. If it’s time to upgrade your locum tenens insurance, you can rely on CLS Healthcare Liability Specialists to provide premium coverage and a simplified quoting process. Plus, when you work with our experts, you won’t have to purchase “tail” insurance from your current provider.
Tens of thousands of medical malpractice claims are filed each year in the U.S. While no physician likes to think that he or she will be named as a defendant at some point, in today’s litigious society, it’s entirely possible. Comprehensive healthcare liability insurance is an absolute must for all practitioners. When evaluating medical malpractice insurance companies near Palm Beach, the following questions may arise.
Why Should Physicians Purchase Their Own Liability Coverage?
In some cases, having healthcare liability insurance through the hospital or facility is sufficient. However, you may wish to purchase additional coverage for yourself, depending on a number of factors. First, given the likelihood of a claim occurring at some point during your career, it only makes sense to protect yourself with affordable malpractice insurance that goes above and beyond what your hospital offers. Second, you may want to change employers at some point or your current facility may close, in which case having your own policy offers portability. And third, the coverage your hospital offers may provide inadequate coverage.
How Should I Choose an Insurance Company?
It’s a good idea to choose an independent agency that specializes in medical malpractice insurance. Select an agency that is well established in the field, such as one that has been in business for at least a couple of decades. Your agency should work with financially stable carriers with top ratings.
What Will My Policy Cover?
The answer to this question varies depending on your particular policy. There are different types of coverage options, such as claims-made and “tail” coverage. It’s always a good idea to read a policy before purchasing it or to have an attorney help you understand it. Generally, healthcare liability insurance will cover settlements, damages, and court costs.
What Information May be Reported?
In the event that a claim is filed against you and your healthcare liability insurance company makes a payment to the plaintiff, the insurance company is required to report the payment to the National Practitioner Data Bank.
What are Policy Limits?
You’ll notice that your insurance policy has an individual limit and an aggregate limit. The individual limit is the maximum amount that will be paid for any particular claim. The aggregate limit is the maximum payout for all of the claims within the term of the policy.
“I need to talk to YOU”, barked the elderly mother of my friend, Jane.
“ My Cardiologist FIRED ME! ” she exclaimed.
“ For being a non-compliant patient?” I queried.
“ How did YOU KNOW ? “ She demanded. My friend Jane gave me a knowing look. Hmm I thought, need to be diplomatic here. “ Well, that is the primary reason a doctor will terminate the patient/doctor relationship.” I tried to sound matter of fact.
“HMPH! She snorted…just because I don’t want to take all that diabetes and cholesterol medication he prescribed for me—I just don’t believe in it! It’s a conspiracy between the pharmaceutical companies and the doctors! Firing a patient–I never HEARD of such a thing!”
I sure have, I thought!
Nothing says high-risk, non-compliant patient like a cantankerous older, obese patient with several chronic conditions, who refuses to follow their prescribed medication regimen.
Many physicians find it difficult to terminate a long-term relationship with a patient. A physician has every right, in fact it is good loss prevention policy, to terminate your relationship with a non-compliant patient after you have exhausted every effort to manage their condition.
Kimberly Hathaway, MSN, RN, LHRM, CPHRM, CPHQ
Risk Manager for The Doctors Company, advises ” It is good practice to discuss issues related to keeping appointments, acceptable behavior or compliance with the prescribed treatment with the patient, prior to sending the patient a discharge letter. In very few instances should the letter be the first indication to the patient that things just aren’t working between you. Each situation is different, but a physician has the right, in fact it is good loss prevention policy, to terminate the relationship with a non-compliant or disruptive patient after you have exhausted other efforts to manage their behavior and or condition”.
Most brand name malpractice insurance companies have a Risk Management or Patient Safety consultant that can provide you with guidelines, resources and medic-legal advice, if you have a patient relationship that you feel you need to terminate. Take advantage of this resource so that you can protect yourself.
“Twenty years ago, we would have taken care of this with a phone call” said the young internist as I waited with my 90-year-old mother-in-law for him to work through the lengthy list of questions required at every visit now, due to healthcare reform. On the one hand, I could understand his frustration with the process. I recalled my first visit to my own primary care physician, who we fondly refer to as “Crazy Dr. Larry.” Crazy-BRILLIANT, that is, following Dr. Larry’s implementation of Electronic Medical Record keeping. Dr. Larry was very frustrated with the new requirements at that first visit. “You know computers, right? Can you answer all these questions? He gave me the laptop and ran to check another patient whose EKG was irregular. So, I got to try it for myself, working through the lengthy list of questions, and possible replies via drop down menu. I noted the prompts and other built in checks. Hmmm, I thought, this might actually be good for Dr. Larry who is multi-tasking and fielding staff interruptions and calls from the hospital during every patient visit. Back to the young internist, he is not my mother-in-law’s regular physician, and had never seen her before as a patient–he did know that she is a retired physician herself, and one of his asociate’s most “VIP” of patients. As he worked through the lengthy list of questions, I noted that he was learning a lot about by mother-in-law’s history, things he probably would not have known had he been using an old paper chart, and reviewed only the last few visits and recent lab work. Since my first visit after Dr. Larry implemented the new requirements, he has become much more adept at working through the electronic chart and is seeing his patients more promptly. Certainly, there are improvements that can be made, and much streamlining that can be done. Bottom line, though, change is hard, but it is not all bad–in fact much about it is an improvement over our old systems. From a medical malpractice risk management standpoint, the electronic charting will help physicians improve their chart documentation, which is often key in defending a malpractice case. Incidents of “if it is not in the chart, it cant be proved it was done” will be reduced to nil for physicians diligently completing every field in their electronic charts.
An ongoing question on the minds of medical malpractice insurance professionals is what is the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the medical liability exposure to physicians? A decade ago, we cautioned physicians who were purchasing their malpractice insurance through hospital sponsored programs that the interests of the hospital, and the interests of the physician, are very different, when it comes to defending both in a medical malpractice claim. It was commonly held that physicians are more aggressively defended when they have representation independent of the hospital. To speak more plainly, in a joint defense scenario when the hospital and the physician are covered by the same insurance company (or RRG or Captive), hospital counsel will pressure the insurance company to protect the hospital at the expense of the physician. Typically, the hospital counsel will want to settle as soon as, for as little as, possible. Physicians, on the other hand, want to fight every case aggressively, to protect their reputations. With the increase in hospital-employed physicians, how will these divergent interests shake out? Presently there is no real data available to review and come to any conclusion. Risk Managers are focusing on the changing liability landscape presented by the ACA. Hospitals now have a continuum of vicarious liability issues including employer liability, greater duty to train on policy and procedures, and a renewed emphasis on open communication between employed physicians, ancillary staff and hospital administration. Prior to widespread employment, physicians did not need to be concerned with policing other physicians and hospital staff. As employees of the hospital, they will have the same interests at stake as the hospital. There will need to be an organization-wide commitment to Risk Management and Patient Safety Initiatives. So…can the ACA reduce liability exposure? Maybe. The ACA emphasis on quality of care, coordination of care, improved outcomes, prevention of hospital re-admissions, all of these, if implemented correctly, can reduce liability over the long-run. On the other hand, plaintiff attorneys will be ready to exploit any deficienceis in comppliance with the ACA to further their medical malpractice allegations.
Medical Malpractice and Disaster Preparedness–January is not the customary time for healthcare professionals to review their Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Plans–but maybe it should be. Better yet, it might be advisable to review plans and conduct in-service staff training on a quarterly basis. I’m reading Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink, a detailed account of the events during and after Hurricane Katrina at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans, LA. It is a sobering account and a cautionary tale for Medical Professionals. The saying no good deed goes unpunished comes to mind. In no way would we construe allegations of euthanasia as a good deed; however, an overriding desire to mitigate and alleviate horrible pain and suffering is a quality we hope for in all our care givers. Employed physicians, nurses and ancillary healthcare professionals should take note of how events can unfold in a time of crisis and how actions will be viewed down the line, out of the context of the crisis. Heroic caregivers who put their own lives at risk to care for their patients and who dutifully “followed orders” may be thrown under the bus. Most medical malpractice insurance companies have seminars and/or publications to assist and support the efforts of their insureds in the area of emergency preparedness. It would be a best practice to take advantage of these services, and review and update disaster preparedness plans on a regular basis.
i got some great information and saved $900 on my medical malpractice insurance premium.” One of my new clients remarked to me when I inquired about the about the option I gave him to do an online insurance company-sponsored Risk Management CME prior to binding coverage. Most major carriers offer a variety of discounts that can reduce your new or renewal policy premium by as much as 40% Participation in a company sponsored Risk Management Program is just one type of discount–there are many more. Claims-Free, Hospital Affiliation, Specialty Society Membership Affiliation, Board Re-Certification, these are just a few examples of the many discounts available from most of the major insurance companies. How do you find out about these discounts? That’s where your agent comes in. A good agent will negotiate your eligibility for the maximum combination of discounts, within the company’s filed underwriting rules and guidelines. We save most of our clients at least 25%, some as much as 40%. Contact us for a review of your current medical malpractice insurance insurance premium and discounts, contact us today!
In 2002, I attended the annual agents meeting for The Doctors Company in Napa, California. Prior to this meeting, the main topics for discussion at medical malpractice insurance company agent meetings were Loss Prevention, Risk Management and Claims Trends. The Doctors Company , always a market leader, introduced a new focus, Patient Safety . The Doctors Company was the first medical malpractice insurance company to start moving the discussion away from Loss Prevention and Risk Management and to focus on systems and practices promoting patient safety. This approach, by definition, acheives the goals of loss prevention and risk management. This many years later, the National Patient Saftey Foundation and The Doctors Company are again focusing on patient safety initiatives by marking Patient Safety Awareness Week. (PSAW), March 3 to 9, 2013 by providing physicians and other health care providers with the top five tips to promote patient safety. A press release on The Doctors Company website explains: “PSAW is an annual education and awareness campaign for improving patient safety led by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF). To mark PSAW 2013, The Doctors Company is issuing a downloadable compilation of key patient safety articles, providing infographics on the top five tips to promote patient safety, and announcing an opportunity to earn CME credit with a Webinar about ” The Top Five Risks in the Office Practice” on March 19. Details on these offerings and events can be found at www.thedoctors.com/psaw.” We encourage our site visitors to take advantage of this great information.
As a physician that works for a Clinical Research Organization, you don’t need malpractice insurance, right? Physicians whose sole practice is Clinical Research often tell us, “I don’t need medical malpractice insurance–the drug company indemnifies me!” Yes, in most cases, they do–but not in all cases. If you are in private practice, you may have a gap in coverage between you private malpractice insurance and the coverage provided to you by pharmaceutical companies. Further, our Clinical Research Organization Clients tell us that having separate coverage for their research practice makes them a more attractive candidate for the more lucrative studies. One of our agents can provide you with a minimum premium quote for your Clinical Resarch Organization or your research practice–call us today!