Malpractice vs PL for Healthcare Professionals

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The medical field is a rewarding one and becoming a healthcare professional is a popular choice. Not only can you make great money but you get to help people in need and this is an amazing feeling that not every industry has the opportunity to experience. However, as with any profession, the medical field comes with its own set of risks. And since insurance can be its own headache, it is important to know what insurance is best for your medical profession needs. While all liability insurance has the same goal they may cover different things. Liability insurance is meant to keep you in business should a mistake happen that impacts a patient.

Why do Healthcare Professionals Need Insurance?

Healthcare professionals are highly regarded in that you have specialized training to help patients with their medical needs. Because patients are relying on you to provide them with quality care, you have a high standard to uphold. Unfortunately, mistakes can happen whether they are small or large. Because of this reason alone, all healthcare professionals should have insurance. After all, you are human and can overlook something, provide the wrong medication, or mistake one disease for another. Because you are still human, there is an unlimited number of mistakes that could be made when it comes to the health care profession, but there are several other reasons that those in the medical field should have insurance.

  • Legal Requirement – Some states require healthcare professionals to carry insurance. Additionally, the practice or company that you work for may insist that you carry your own insurance as well. There will be many cases where having your own insurance is a legal requirement, and therefore you must purchase it anyway. While it is a vital thing to have even without the legal requirements, this gives you an extra reason to do it.

  • Lawsuit Costs – Since you are dealing with patients that most likely have a family, a mistake that you make as a healthcare professional can end up having you sued for more money then you may ever make. Due to the high emotions that come with medical mistakes, you could be sued for millions. You surely do not have millions of dollars to just give to a patient that you made a mistake with, so insurance can help you with this devastating situation, should it ever happen to you.

  • Legal Representation – A great thing about having the proper insurance protection is that it pays for your legal representation to help defend yourself with the case. Lawyers charge a lot of money to do what they do and if you want to be defended by the best, you will need a lot of. Insurance policies can help you have great legal representation by having the coverage, which is likely more than what you would be able to pay for out of pocket.

  • Peace of Mind for Patients – Many patients these days are going to confirm that you have the proper insurance in place before they become one of yours. Being able to show them that you are a responsible healthcare professional, regardless of in what aspect you are, is going to make them feel more comfortable about being your patient. This is especially true if the same type of medical provider down the street is unable to provide proof of coverage. The patient will likely do business with you over your competitor if this is the case.

  • Unhappy Patients – There may be times where you simply are going to deal with an unhappy patient no matter what you do. Sometimes people can sue for no reason at all, but you will still have to pay to defend yourself even if you did nothing wrong. Insurance for medical professionals is a must when dealing with the public.

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What is Malpractice Insurance?

Medical Malpractice insurance is a type of Errors & Omissions Liability insurance that was developed specifically for the healthcare field. It was created because in the medical field you are working on a human body and there could be a loss associated with it. With the potential for mistakes being rather high in the healthcare profession, Medical Malpractice insurance is a must. Those who deal directly with patients like doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists, and surgeons are those that need Medical Malpractice insurance.

What is Professional Liability Insurance?

Professional Liability insurance is another type of Errors & Omissions insurance. It is different from Medical Malpractice, though, in that it provides coverage for claims due to a financial loss rather than a physical one. For example, if you are in a consulting role and give advice that causes a financial loss to your patient or customer, this would be a Professional Liability insurance claim. What is great about all Professional Liability insurance policies is that they all provide coverage for the settlement or judgment that may be awarded, as well as defense costs which include attorney fees and court costs.

What Should You Get as a Healthcare Professional?

When it comes time to determine what insurance you should get as a health care professional, it is important to understand your position in the medical field and which situations each policy is going to cover. It is vital to remember the very distinguished difference between Medical Malpractice and Professional liability. Medical Malpractice provides coverage for losses related to the human body, while Professional Liability provides coverage for financial losses. Once you understand the difference between the two types of policies, you can better determine which you need. Here are some suggestions based on different medical professions.

  1. Doctors/Surgeons – Of course, doctors and surgeons are always dealing with patients and their bodies. Because of this reason, they should have Medical Malpractice insurance. Performing surgery on the wrong extremity, diagnosing the incorrect disease, prescribing the wrong medication, or missing a diagnosis altogether could mean a major issue with a patient. You can be certain that if this happens you will want to have Medical Malpractice insurance in place.

  2. Dentists – When thinking of Medical Malpractice insurance, we usually think of doctors automatically. Well, dentists also need to have this important coverage because they are working directly with patients as well. Extracting the wrong tooth, failure to diagnose an issue, or even delaying care can all be claims that patients make, and even if you did nothing wrong you will need to defend yourself which could cost a lot of money.

  3. Medical Directors – These days, walk-in clinics, health spas, and chiropractor practices are booming and in need of medical directors or supervising physicians. If you are a medical director or looking to become one, then you will need Medical Director Liability insurance. Please be aware that Medical Director Liability insurance is more on the Errors & Omissions side of things, not on the Medical Malpractice side and often excludes medically related losses. It will pay for financial losses due to your supervisory or management duties. And of course, it will pay for defense costs for these related claims as well.

  4. Nurse Practitioners – Many people are deciding to go into the nurse practitioner field because there is less schooling involved than becoming a physician, which means fewer student loans to repay. While you may be permitted to do less than a physician, your risk for lawsuits related to your profession is not any less than if you were a doctor. You are probably seeing more patients in a day, and because you are dealing with them and their health directly you should have Medical Malpractice insurance. Now, if you decide to be a consultant instead of actually practicing, you could get away with Professional Liability as long as you are consulting with other medical professionals and not patients.

  5. Massage Therapists – Even though you are not performing surgery or prescribing medicine, you are dealing with patients' bodies. And, you are at risk for hurting them even if unintentionally. If you use oil or hot stones you could burn their body, or you could push too hard to get a knot out and injure them and then they could sue you. All of these things are not fun to think about but it is a reality that you must consider working in the healthcare profession.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, some sort of Errors & Omissions insurance coverage is crucial to every position in the medical field. As a healthcare professional, patients are depending on you to make their lives better. If you are unable to do that or even make their lives worse, they are likely to sue you. If you don't have the right insurance policies in place, you could lose your job, your business if you own one, and even your home. Being able to pay for any settlements or judgments that are given to the patient, as well as the expensive defense costs that come along with a lawsuit, is going to allow you to keep doing what you love. Get a quote online today with CoverWallet for whatever policies you need.

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