There’s Insurance for That: Medical Malpractice
We have all heard of malpractice – it is often the villain in episodes of soapy medical dramas – but what do you actually know about it?
Merriam-Webster defines malpractice as “a dereliction of professional duty or a failure to exercise an ordinary degree of professional skill or learning by one (such as a physician) rendering professional services which results in injury, loss, or damage.”
Medical malpractice, then, is malpractice by any healthcare professional.
And the good news is – there’s insurance for that!
WHAT IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE?
Medical malpractice insurance is a policy designed to cover healthcare professionals should they be sued for the injury or death of a patient.
It is a requirement for most medical professionals, and many are covered through group or organization policies (for example, a surgeon may be covered by the hospital in which she operates).
WHAT DOES MEDICAL MALPRACTICE INSURNACE COVER?
In general, medical malpractice insurance covers errors in treatment, aftercare or health management.
If a health professional acts negligently (fails to do what a prudent person would, or does something a prudent person would not do), and a patient is harmed and seeks damages, medical malpractice insurance will cover the costs to defend the practitioner in court, as well as settlement costs and punitive damages (if there are any).
Depending on the type of practice, medical malpractice insurance may also cover:
- Wrongful dismissal
- Human rights violations (discrimination)
- Loss of documents
- Privacy breaches
- Abuse liability
The limits of coverage available vary based on the type of practice, but are usually between $5,000,000 and $10,000,000.
WHO NEEDS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE?
Although we tend to think only of medical doctors, medical malpractice insurance is a vital component of a well-rounded insurance portfolio for all professionals & businesses in the health sector, including:
- Doulas and midwifes
- Dieticians and nutritionists
- Life coaches
- Massage therapists
- Alternative therapists (practitioners who do acupuncture and acupressure, aromatherapy, Reiki, dry cupping, homeopathy, Chinese medicine, and more)
- Occupational therapists
- First aid trainers
- Naturopaths (practitioners who offer alternatives to traditional western medicine)
- Home care providers
- Dentists and dental clinics
- Medical laboratories and their technicians
- MRI and ultrasound clinics and their technicians
- Fertility clinics
- Sleep clinics
- Dialysis centers
- Blood banks
- Walk-in clinics and GP offices
- Nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- Substance abuse and rehabilitation centers
- Genetic testing centers
- Medical research clinics
- Pharmaceutical labs
- Student health centers
And, similarly, beauty centers and spas should have medical malpractice insurance as well, if they offer:
- Acid peels
- Vampire facials (yes, that’s a thing, and it’s pretty much what it sounds like)
- Teeth whitening
- Laser treatments
- Tattoo removal
- And more!
WHY PURCHASE MEDIAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE?
Well, for starters, medical malpractice insurance is often required by regulatory bodies in order for a practitioner to maintain their license. And if medical professionals are practicing outside of their primary facility (back to that surgeon who is covered by her hospital’s policy), they may need additional coverage.
For businesses and facilities offering any of the services outlined above, their commercial general liability policies often contain an exclusion for medical malpractice, so they need to obtain a separate policy to ensure adequate coverage.
HOW TO GET A QUOTE
To get a quote for medical malpractice insurance, click here and speak to one of our expert business insurance agents today!