COVID-19 and Malpractice: Everything You Need To Know

A big question on all medical staff’s minds during the COVID-19 pandemic is the issue of malpractice. Practicing medicine on a normal day will throw curveballs your way. But the unexpected only grows amid pandemic response, especially one as chaotic and large-scale as COVID-19.

In the midst of doctors and nurses doing their best to care for patients battling this life-threatening respiratory disease, a few mistakes are bound to happen, or at least some frustrating miscommunications. Medical malpractice still exists, even in the middle of a pandemic. Explore everything you need to know about COVID-19 and malpractice.

The Chaos of Pandemic Healthcare

The nature of pandemics is to grow in scale at exponential rates, threatening the flexibility and scalability of current medical infrastructure. Unfortunately, COVID-19 proved too pervasive for many hospital systems across the United States.

Ebbing and Flowing

Case spikes and COVID-19 lulls ebb and flow with various seasonal, medicinal, and social behaviors. When people spend more time outside or traveling internationally, the disease spreads quickly. This movement even sprouted the Delta variant mutation. Oppositely, the spread of the COVID-19 vaccine reduced the burden of sickness on the health system.

All this to say, healthcare quality and capacity in the past year reflects the oncoming or abating pandemic. When COVID-19 cases rose, hospitals became strapped for resources; when COVID-19 cases descended, medical staff had a much-needed breather. Though the disease did not and has not faded in tenacity, the initial chaos has mostly ended. Sure, new developments will come, but the foundational understanding of the virus and proven healing tactics are in place for a swift response.

Changing Expectations and Protocols

The chaotic atmosphere surrounding the healthcare community led to varied diagnoses and treatments for COVID-19. For a while, many didn’t know the full range of symptoms—even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a result, the diagnostic expectations and treatment protocols changed with the evolving symptomology.

As you might expect, people become angry when they receive subpar or different treatment from their peers. Disparities in COVID-19 treatment stemming from the slow development of information could lead to legal headaches down the road. Imagine receiving one medicine in the first months of the pandemic that researchers ruled inadequate to treat COVID-19 symptoms. All patients following that medical proclamation benefit from it, but not you. In this scenario, patients may feel entitled to some form of compensation for their troubles.

Potential Malpractice Threats in Hindsight

Malpractice cases don’t usually show up on your desk the day after an incident. It takes time for patients to gather their thoughts, find a lawyer, and decide to press charges. So by the time a prior COVID-19 patient serves you with a legal battle, the issue is trailing along in your rearview mirror.

Resource Limitations and Tough Decisions

It was not uncommon to read headlines declaring that hospitals are turning away patients. Outside the context of a pandemic, this selection and discrimination would be unacceptable and unethical—a direct violation of the Hippocratic oath.

However, the resource limitations forced hospital staff to make tough decisions with their limited resources. If there were no beds or PPE left, treatment was no longer an option. This denial of care could lead to worsened symptoms, lifelong impairment, or even death for individuals turned away by the hospital.

Lending a Helping Hand

During the case spikes, medical staff offered a helping hand to struggling hospitals and practices nearby. In the darkest hour, medical staff built bridges and lines of support to service their local community. However, when a medical professional acts outside the parameters of their practice or broader specialty, this could be cause for legal repercussions. This nobly offered aid is altruistic and well-intentioned but could cause problems legally if a medical professional acted outside their scope of practice.

Telehealth Limitations and Rapid Release

Telehealth and its widespread accessibility are now a blessing when patients and physicians understand its purpose and limitations. However, the initial rapid release of digital medical care may present some issues for providers down the line. When smaller practices and specialists moved their appointments to digital spaces, medical care’s personal and physical touch immediately vanished.

Telehealth is great for those too sick to go to a hospital or too wary of COVID-19 to enter dens of sickness. However, it entered the market so quickly that many legal teams lacked sufficient time to research potential issues or safeguard medical staff before launching online health appointments. While telehealth is much more established now, the truth is many practices across the US lacked the know-how to pull it off successfully.

Protecting Your Career From COVID-19

COVID-19 and medical malpractice center around your medical career and judgments about your ability to offer high-quality medical care. Protect your assets and practice with these quick tips.

Insure Your Future

Though many states have promised to protect medical professionals who lent a helping hand or denied care based on a lack of resources, it’s never too late to begin anticipating legal loopholes. Safeguard your career with malpractice insurance for healthcare professionals; that way, COVID-19-related incidents will filter through your policy.

Documentation Is the Best Policy

At the end of the day, COVID-19 is a developing situation, and the best way forward is with documentation and well-intentioned patient care. When you meet the standard of care as best you can with the information and parameters in your possession, you have little worry about your career. However, no one can anticipate the scope of legal problems related to medical practices post-pandemic; the more information you record about patient visits, the better.

The world turned to you for care and support in their direst hour of need. Don’t let legal nuances bite you back. Learn everything you need to know about COVID-19 and malpractice so that you can equip yourself for a long, successful career. Should you have any more questions about malpractice and insurance, our team at Baxter & Associates is more than happy to help. Reach out to us today to learn more about how you can find a policy to protect your COVID-19 response.

COVID-19 and Malpractice: Everything You Need To Know

4 Mistakes New Dentists Make That You Should Avoid

Starting your medical career is never easy, especially as a professional dentist. Discover these four mistakes new dentists make that you should avoid.


No matter what realm of medicine you work in, the key to above-board work is active engagement and error mitigation. While you cannot help that all people are prone to make a mistake at some point, you can do everything in your power to keep your track record pristine. Remember these four mistakes new dentists make that you should avoid.

Ignoring Thorough Documentation

Documentation is a huge part of operating a practice. Whether you are responsible for your own charts or a dental assistant is, the way you record and report patient interactions can be the difference between a successful business and a ruined career. Impress the importance of thorough documentation upon your staff as well. A few recorded sentences are all the evidence you need during a legal battle.

Forgoing Legal Protection

Should it come down to it, it is best to have medical malpractice insurance for dentists before a claim lands on your desk. While documentation helps with legal technicalities, an insurance policy is the only surefire way to protect your career. Avoid catastrophic consequences with a policy from Baxter & Associates.

Forgetting Patient Follow Up

It’s no secret that the majority of people don’t particularly enjoy visiting the dentists throughout the year. In fact, many might feel inclined to avoid your office altogether. While you cannot force someone into your exam chair, you can reach out to patients and follow up with them regarding future appointments.

If you want to establish a consistent, repeat client base and prove you care about people’s oral health, then don’t let past patients fall through the cracks. Though you may be busy tending to patients, you should task your front desk staff with these calls to ensure a personal and thoughtful patient connection.

Using Antagonistic Bedside Manner

You may not be an RN tending to a hospital patient for months on end, but your brief hour-long interaction with dental patients still falls under the bedside manner category. You can never anticipate how rude or kind, vulnerable or standoffish, chill or offended a patient will be when you first meet them. Your primary directive is to treat their oral health. However, you should also tend to your tone and conversational skills.

Avoid using antagonistic, pessimistic, overly firm, or uncaring words when interacting with your patients. People are sensitive about their oral hygiene, and most patients are loathing to answer your inquiries about flossing habits.

Keep these four mistakes new dentists make that you should avoid in mind as you flit from patient to patient. Should you have more questions about best practices in dental practices or want to safeguard your career with dental malpractice insurance, reach out to our team at Baxter & Associates today.

Tips for Starting Your Own Dental Practice

Medical professionals each follow a slightly different career track, but many aspire to operate their own practice. If you have a dream of owning your own dental practice, then you should start your planning right away. No amount of dental schooling or technical experience will replace focused business planning.

However, you don’t get into dental school because of your display of business acumen. Despite your well-established ambition, your skills are heavily weighted toward the technical side of the industry, not the business side. If you need somewhere to begin, check out these top tips for starting your own dental practice.

Build a Business Plan

The first step in developing any business venture is building a business plan. Whether you feel prepared for it or not, the truth is that a medical practice is a business at its core. You must have an airtight analysis for every business and accounting task.

Start With the Mission

Though your dental practice will most likely work as a for-profit business and not a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, you can still have an overarching mission statement. This unifying vision for the company will guide your daily practice and how you build in the future. By writing down your broadest hopes for the business, you can delineate your expectations for the practice’s growth and team interactions.

When you write your mission statement, you should consider what drives your dental aspirations. What ideals do you ascribe to? Who do you aim to help with your services? What is the primary goal of your practice in the long term? Ask yourself these questions and draft a few phrases that are meaningful to you. Once you pare down the semantics, you can concoct a concise and eloquent mission statement for your dental practice.

Construct a Budget

Dental practices operate with the same influx of payments and invoices as all businesses, just with different procedures and line items. As an aspiring practice owner, you should build a budget—yes, build. Constructing a budget can feel quite tedious, and it resembles the process of an actual building project.

First, you must set a structure for your spreadsheet—what categories do you need to create, and what will go in them? Then, you must build on that foundational framework with market research that addresses equipment costs, local wage averages, and more. With every line item filled, you can then total the costs and present your totals to lenders and investors.

Address Logistical Needs

After planning your business ideas and jotting them down, you should move on to logistics. Your logistical needs will be many, but they are the most important to address before opening your practice doors.

Recruit Top-Notch Staff

As a dentist with years of training and experience, you know the extent of your abilities and the quality of your work. However, dental practices don’t rely solely on you as the dentist. There is a whole array of people that you need to keep your doors open.

Billing and Accounting

First, you need someone to manage your finances. When you have a constant stream of patients paying invoices, insurance companies to coordinate with, and staff salaries to pay, you need a qualified person to handle it all. Whether you decide to split your finance department into several roles or roll it all into one, you must have an experienced, organized professional at your side.

Front Desk Schedulers

Every patient that walks through the door needs a friendly, smiling face. The way you welcome newcomers will set the tone for the entire patient experience. Your front desk schedulers are critical to the success of your customer experience, which directly relates to online reviews and returning customers. You should look for a personable, calendar-loving individual who can manage multiple schedules, take dozens of phone calls, and handle several streams of communication simultaneously.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Your medical facility needs to be clean and tidy. Without the support of cleaning and sanitizing staff, you won’t meet safety standards for many dental procedures. Whether you have dedicated cleaning staff or blend these tasks into other roles, you can’t overlook the priority of health and safety.

Human Resources

Human resources staff are a vital part of your operation. If you don’t provide a safe, nonjudgmental, confidential space to report workplace problems or handle personal issues, then your practice dynamics will suffer. If you don’t have the capacity to hire an on-site human resources person, you should look for outsourced HR management.

Legal Support

Since you work with people’s bodies, there is always the chance that something can go wrong. While you can’t help a patient’s choice to let their teeth rot, you can manage expectations and handle medical problems if they arise. But accusations of malpractice may land on your desk, nonetheless. A lawyer on staff or retainer will give you the immediate support you need if a claim occurs.

Update Professional Documents

When you obtain your license to practice dentistry from the state, you have very clear parameters for what you can and can’t do. If you want a license to practice orthodontics or oral surgery, you need a license for that specialization. That way, the state acts as a gatekeeper for the population, shielding them from ill-intentioned doctors. You must be crystal clear when describing the scope of your practice to the state and updating your professional licensure for the practice.

Another logistical need you must address is your insurance situation. As a private individual, you should have medical malpractice insurance for dentists that covers your personal interests. Then, depending on the tax structure of your organization and where liability rests, you may need further insurance on the practice itself. This way, you have a doubly verified failsafe should legal nastiness come your way.

Remember these tips for starting your own dental practice as you prepare your business plan. While each step will happen in its own time, you should operate with this general scope in mind. If you need help figuring out the insurance aspect of your new business, reach out to us at Baxter & Associates today. Our experts can help you find affordable, well-rounded policies for your new dental practice.

Tips for Starting Your Own Dental Practice

The Importance of Having CRNA Malpractice Insurance

No matter what specialty you perform in the medical field, you interact with patients or their treatment to some degree. Certified registered nurse anesthetists are one such medical professional whose work involves significant patient engagement.

While you have the necessary degrees and experience, there is always the possibility that something could go wrong, and your patient will need to bring the problem to the legal sphere. In that case, it is best to have additional support by your side to protect your career if the situation goes sideways. Here is the importance of having CRNA malpractice insurance.

The Riskiness of Anesthesiology

Certified registered nurse anesthetists deal in drug-based sedation. While medicine is highly scientific, anesthesiology does require a certain level of creativity and experiential nuance. As such, the exactitude of a CRNA’s performance is less prescriptive and more subjective.

Because each patient requires a tailor-made solution, there is always the possibility of slight miscalculation or outright misadministration. In the event of anesthesiologic oversight, the patient may experience adverse side effects that prompt them to file a legal claim against you. It’s best to have CRNA malpractice insurance to cover your bases if a patient levels brings legally backed accusations against your medical performance.

Protect Your Interests

As a CRNA, you likely work in a practice or facility setting among other medical professionals. If you happen to work in a hospital, chances are you have a general malpractice insurance policy covering you and your colleagues from work-related lawsuits. However, these policies don’t have your best interests at heart—they serve to protect the medical institution, not your career.

That’s why you must take your career protection into your own hands. Don’t entrust an employer and their insurance policy with your financial and vocational future. CRNA malpractice insurance that addresses your specific scope of practice will serve you better in the long run than an employer’s policy.

Keep Doing What You Love

Medical professionals spend countless hours studying, working, and perfecting their craft to offer the best services to people in need. While professional interest and zeal may ebb and flow, your heart for medicine remains true. Keep doing what you love by protecting your career from disgruntled patients. All it takes is one determined former patient demanding an astronomical settlement to derail your professional legitimacy and devastate your financial stability.

Knowing the importance of having CRNA malpractice insurance can help you safeguard your career for decades to come. If you have any questions about medical malpractice insurance for CRNAs, our team at Baxter & Associates can answer all your queries. Reach out to us today and let us help you help others with peace of mind.

Tips for Managing Stress as a Nurse Anesthetist

Managing your emotional health on top of your daily duties as a certified registered nurse anesthetist feels nearly impossible. It’s far simpler to prioritize the job and neglect your mental wellbeing. However, this is a road to misery paved by worry. Instead of living on the emotional edge, try out these tips for managing stress as a nurse anesthetist.

Name It and Sit With It

The first step in stress management is acknowledging that you’re stressed. Without an accurate perspective, you will always have trouble identifying your problem and taking effective action against it. Name your stress and sit with it for a minute. This could look like reflective journaling or introspective conversations with a therapist.

Get To the Root

The hardest part of noticing stress is finding its root. Sure, your job is stressful, but what about your job is stressful? Here are a few common stressors nurse anesthetists face that you could subconsciously struggle with:

  • Overloaded with tasks
  • Always racing the clock
  • Inadequate professional social support structure
  • Exposure to diseases, workplace injuries, and agitated patients

Connect With Others Outside Work

It is so easy to let workplace relationships consume your life, especially when working in a demanding atmosphere with long hours. CRNAs, just like everyone else, need to have friendships outside of work. Connect with other people in your neighborhood and community. Join interest groups and find ways to play sports with others. The more people you let in, the easier it becomes to manage your stress.

Safeguard Your Career

Nurse anesthetists work under intense pressure to perfectly perform every day, with dire consequences should something go wrong. Many CRNAs live with the nagging anxiety that a career-ending lawsuit is just one miscalculation away. CRNA malpractice insurance like ours at Baxter & Associates can help you find rest from your worries. Safeguard your career with a safety net.

Remember these tips for managing stress as a nurse anesthetist as you go about your daily duties. Though the medical field is demanding, try to recall the positive things you encounter each day. Patients are not the only ones who can have stories of triumph—conquer your day with a renewed mind.

Common Mistakes New Chiropractors Will Make

Learning how to practice medicine is one thing, but running a medical practice is quite another. Chiropractors who finish school and want to join or start a practice often encounter a few obstacles along the way. Like many working professionals experience, there is a learning curve between what you know and what you must do once you begin a job. Here are the most common mistakes new chiropractors will make and how to avoid them.

Ignoring the Business Side

Chiropractors spend years in school to become a medical professional that makes a difference in people’s health and comfort. You spent countless hours absorbing information about the human body and physiology that few others do. Yet, there is surprisingly little education on the business front. One of the most common mistakes chiropractors make is ignoring the business side of their practice.

Relying on an Underdeveloped Business Plan

When you start any business, you must craft a thoughtful business plan. This document serves as the basis for your grand opening and operations. Chiropractors who open a practice will likely need a business plan to get meetings with investors and secure loans from banks.

However, it is common for medical professionals without extensive business education to come to the table with an underdeveloped business plan. While investors and loans may come through in the end, you will not have the preparation you need to succeed.

A well-thought-out business plan should include a realistic budget, extensive market analysis, notes on the competition, your organizational structure—the list could go on. The more details you iron out at the beginning, the simpler your work will be down the road. Instead of feeling bogged down by technicalities and business woes at the onset, you can triumph with your trusty, well-researched guide by your side.

Over-Extending on Overhead

Business requires money. And, as the saying goes, you must spend money to make money. Business overhead is the embodiment of this epigram. The tricky part is determining how much money to spend on the front end in order to start your business.

Overhead costs can quickly add up, especially if you want to outfit your offices with the latest and greatest equipment. While there is nothing wrong with setting yourself up for success at the cutting edge of technological advancement, you have other areas to budget, too. Over-extending on overhead is an easy mistake to make, but not an easy situation to escape.

It is exciting to imagine a practice with all the bells and whistles, but this is not an attainable starting point. The best plan of action is one that prioritizes a lean spending profile. The less you spend on overhead, the more you have to allocate elsewhere. A sober-minded approach to your overhead spending will ensure that you have decades of practicing to build capital and invest in the top-notch tech for years to come.

Ignoring Bedside Manner

Bedside manner is a valuable facet of medical work if leveraged correctly. Unfortunately, new chiropractors lack years of experience with all types of people to manage their interactions well. Here are a few tips for managing your patient interactions and keep people coming back.

Talking Over the Patient

As a new chiropractor, you are excited to finally spend time with patients one-on-one each day. You likely want to tell them how grateful you are they chose your new practice and share all about your journey to this milestone in your life. However, be careful not to talk too much with patients.

You should always let your personality shine, but do not get the better of yourself and converse with patients to the point they cannot address the medical issue at hand. It is always better to ask the patient too many questions and listen to their answers than to make conversation for the sake of talking and establishing rapport.

Not Focusing on the Patient Enough

Every patient deserves your undivided attention, especially while you are in the room addressing their problems. The patient chose you out of all the other options, so make them feel special from the moment they walk through the door. You want them to know that you are grateful for their business.

One of the best ways to do this is by boosting your customer service game in the waiting room. Your front desk staff are not just your schedulers and receptionists; rather, they are the face of your practice, and the first smile a patient encounters upon entry. After a positive waiting room experience, you can provide winsome treatment in the exam room and focus on their needs both empathetically and effectively.

Ignoring the Community

The local community is your “in” as a new chiropractor. Your practice needs the support of nearby denizens. Otherwise, you will not have a stable or supportive clientele. Ignoring the community is one of the most unfortunate mistakes you could make as a new chiropractor.

Overlooking Community Events

Community events happen all the time, but it is up to you to join in the fun and festivities. As a medical specialist, you have the opportunity to advertise your services and familiarize people with your craft.

For example, you could become a minor sponsor of a cause-based fun run in the area. You can get your name on the race T-shirts, set up an information booth, or even run in the race yourself to show support. No matter how you engage in these events, the most important part is to show up and have a presence.

Avoiding Active Marketing

As a business, you need a stream of new clients. Active marketing strategies are the best way to maximize your visibility and get the word out. New chiropractors who avoid advertising themselves will quickly fall behind because no one knows about them. No matter the quality of your services, people will not come through your door if they are not aware of your practice.

Ignoring Career Development

Career development is vital for people in all industries, but especially for medical field practitioners. As a new chiropractor, you need to continue your professional growth beyond the classroom.

Not Attending Networking Opportunities

You should must attend all networking opportunities. Without these curated events, you will not meet professional contacts who can help you in your career. The more you put yourself out there, the better your chances of finding new job positions and hiring high-quality staff will be.

Forgetting To Use Insurance

Chiropractic malpractice insurance is a must. Without this protection, you could be in for a world of trouble should a claim come across your desk. Safeguard the future of your career with an insurance policy that fits your scope of practice and the level of risk of your field.

Knowing these common mistakes new chiropractors will make can keep you out of trouble in the first months and years of practicing. No matter your career trajectory, our team at Baxter & Associates is here to help you find insurance that fits your needs.

Common Mistakes New Chiropractors Will Make