Malpractice claims are an unfortunate part of being a medical professional—whether you’re a physician, nurse, or nurse practitioner. To better understand these claims and how to avoid them, we’ve compiled a list of common sources of malpractice allegations levied against nurse practitioners.
The most frequent source of malpractice allegations against nurse practitioners (NPs) comes from the patient’s diagnosis. Often, a patient will see an NP before they visit a doctor and consult the NP about whether they need further treatment from a physician.
Failure to diagnose a patient is a widespread malpractice claim where an NP doesn’t recognize the symptoms of an illness or injury or fails to order additional testing that would’ve helped in the diagnosis. A disease or injury untreated can cause severe harm or death to a patient, and the NP is a frequent target in malpractice claims.
One of an NP’s principal duties is prescribing and administering medication to a patient. Within medication administration, there are many opportunities for errors, such as:
Prescribing harmful medication
Dispensing the wrong amount of a medication
Administering the incorrect dose
Failure to dispense the drug at all
Medication is crucial to a patient’s health and wellbeing—simple mistakes like administering the wrong medication or medication the patient is allergic to can have dire consequences.
Within medication errors, there’s been a growing trend of pain management malpractice that’s coincided with the opioid epidemic. Overprescribing pain medication to patients can lead to addiction—jeopardizing the patient’s health and life.
NPs and physicians alike have had to adjust their pain management prescriptions to better diagnose the signs of addiction and be more cautious in prescribing addictive opioids. If not, they could be found liable for a patient’s addiction.
An NP has many daily duties and can also be responsible for numerous patients. Naturally, an NP can’t be everywhere at once, so if patients are overcrowded, mistakes can happen.
Some malpractice claims against NPs regarding inadequate treatment include not responding to a patient promptly, failing to report a change in the patient’s status, or even injuring the patient with a medical procedure.
As anyone can see, there are many opportunities for malpractice claims against NPs, which is why a malpractice insurance plan for nurse practitioners is essential. Mistakes happen, and patients can get hurt, but it’s not always the NP’s fault and doesn’t mean they should be liable.
Unfortunately, malpractice litigation is a regular part of practicing as a chiropractor or any other medical professional. This guide explores several tips that chiropractors can utilize to avoid chiropractic malpractice claims.
Communicate With Patients
A lack of communication is at the center of many chiropractic malpractice claims. Miscommunication is the culprit behind many errors from chiropractors and misconceptions from patients about treatment and results.
Communication between a chiropractor and patient should be thorough and precise before, during, and after any treatment or procedure. A patient should understand the chiropractor’s treatment plan, why they chose that treatment, and the expected results so that there are no misconceptions throughout the process.
Pro Tip: Body language is just as important to effective communication as talking. Ensure your body language communicates attentive reception and understanding.
Avoid Sales Language
While communicating with patients, chiropractors don’t want to sound like they’re selling treatment to a patient. Sometimes, a patient can feel like they’ve been misled because a chiropractor guaranteed things like pain-free treatment or results that weren’t realistic.
A chiropractor should explain their treatment plan for a patient and why they think it’s the right decision, but be cautious of overpromising or sounding like a salesperson. If patients don’t feel the treatment delivered on the chiropractor’s promises, they may seek retribution through a malpractice claim.
Create a Positive Office Experience
Patients with a pleasant experience at the chiropractor’s office are less likely to feel mistreated and file a malpractice claim. A positive office experience can make patients feel cared for and appreciated, even if that experience has nothing to do with their treatment.
Many things go into creating a positive office experience for patients, but two key factors many patients cite are courteous staff and punctual appointments. We know how difficult it can be to keep everything on schedule throughout the day, but operating your business in a timely fashion is a simple way to ensure patients are happy.
Don’t Slack on Documentation
Medical documentation plays a vital factor in many malpractice claims and can help prevent chiropractic malpractice altogether. For one, thorough and precise documentation ensures that nothing is overlooked throughout treatment and helps chiropractors reduce procedure mistakes.
Documentation also provides a reliable record of treatment, from the first consultation to the patient’s medical history and notes from each appointment. If a mistake happens because a patient failed to notify the chiropractor about a preexisting condition, the documentation will provide proof of the omission.
Hopefully, you never come across a malpractice claim as a chiropractor, but it’s always best to be prepared with chiropractic malpractice insurance. If you’re looking for malpractice insurance or want to learn more, feel free to contact our staff at Baxter & Associates.
In insurance, there are many phrases and terms that get thrown around that may be confusing to people unfamiliar with the industry. To help, we’ve put together a brief guide on insurance premiums and what they’re for so you can be more informed while shopping for an insurance policy.
What Are Insurance Premiums?
You have probably heard the term “insurance premiums” get thrown around a lot—but what are they, and what are they for? In essence, insurance premiums are the amount the policy owner pays for their insurance, whether home, auto, life, or another policy.
Insurance premiums can be paid monthly, semi-annually, or annually but are most often a monthly payment. If, for example, you spend $200 a month for a policy, your yearly insurance premium would be $2,400.
What Determines an Insurance Premium?
So, an insurance premium is a term for how much you pay for the insurance policy, but what determines how high or low your premium is?
Type of Coverage
There are obviously many different types of insurance and coverage—some are inherently more expensive and have higher premiums than others. For example, a standard auto insurance policy will have different insurance premiums than a professional liability policy from a malpractice insurance agency.
Amount of Coverage
What the policy covers significantly influences the insurance premiums along with the coverage type. The more extensive and comprehensive the coverage for your policy, the more you’ll have to pay in insurance premiums.
Plus, the value of what you’re insuring affects the premiums. Insuring a $200,000 house will cost less in premiums than a $500,000 home.
A deductible is an amount the policyholder pays out-of-pocket toward a covered claim. For example, even if your professional liability policy covers a malpractice litigation claim, you’ll still be on the hook to pay the deductible.
Most policies offer a range of deductibles for a policy, and, typically, the higher you pay, the lower the insurance premiums you can get. It’s a trade-off between how expensive a one-time payment is versus a series of payments.
Personal Info & Background
Of course, your background and info will also greatly influence how high your insurance premiums are. The greater the insurance company determines the risk of insuring you or your property, the higher your premiums will be.
If, for instance, you’ve been in multiple car accidents in the past couple of years, your insurance premiums will be higher than someone with a spotless record.
Now you understand a little more about insurance policies and insurance premiums. If you’d like to learn more about insurance or malpractice insurance, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Baxter & Associates!
We don’t like to think about bad days and disasters, but they’re a part of life. For businesses like medical practices, there are many ways that a mistake or accident could exceptionally damage their revenue and financial security.
That’s why there are many different types of medical insurance to help protect practices in worst-case scenarios. Our guide will break down some of the most critical coverage policies that every medical practice should own or seriously consider.
#1: Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance is perhaps the number one type of medical insurance you should prioritize to protect your practice. Otherwise known as medical malpractice insurance, professional liability insurance protects practices if errors from staff members result in patient suffering or death.
Medical malpractice litigation comes with the territory of medical practices, and without sufficient liability insurance for health care facilities, your practice could be on the hook for substantial damages. The average successful malpractice claim means hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. Practices must have liability insurance to ensure a mistake and malpractice claim doesn’t bankrupt them.
#2: Property Insurance
A medical practice, big or small, is like any other brick-and-mortar business—it contains valuable property inside its walls like medical equipment and furniture. Property insurance covers damaged property and equipment in medical practices from accidents, natural disasters, or criminal activity.
It may not be the most important aspect of medical practice, but it’s hard to attract and keep patients comfortable without some furniture! Property insurance is there to replace your property quickly should the worst occur, from fires to theft.
#3: Business Interruption Insurance
Business interruption insurance is like a type of property insurance in that it deals with damage to the physical property of a practice. However, instead of covering the damages to the property, business interruption insurance covers the loss of income of shutting down a practice due to property damage.
If your practice ever suffers severe property damage, property insurance may replace some valuables, but what about the loss of income from closing the business for days, weeks, or months? Business interruption insurance supplements your practice’s income so you don’t have to worry about paying for rent or utilities while your business recovers.
#4: Worker’s Compensation Insurance
Worker’s compensation insurance is reimbursement for the business should an employee become ill or injured on the job. The insurance can cover medical expenses and replenish wages for workers who can no longer perform their duties.
Workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state—in some, it’s legally required, while in others, it depends on the number of employed workers and other factors. Whether or not you’re legally required to procure worker’s compensation insurance, it’s still valuable coverage for any small business, especially a medical practice.
#5: Practice Overhead Insurance
Are you a large revenue generator for your practice? For small businesses that would suffer greatly should the owner be absent, practice overhead insurance helps cover business overhead expenses.
Practice overhead insurance is different from disability income insurance as it doesn’t directly supplement an individual’s income. Instead, it helps cover overhead expenses of the practice. If your business would struggle significantly without your presence for days or weeks, you’ll want to consider practice overhead insurance to ensure overhead bills don’t get out of hand.
Overhead expenses that practice overhead insurance covers typically include:
#6: Life Insurance
It may seem morbid, but there’s no guarantee of tomorrow for anyone—and medical professionals know this, especially. That’s why life insurance is also critical for medical practice owners should the worst occur.
In the case of death, life insurance helps to cover costs and expenses for beneficiaries, including business partners. If you’re in a practice with significant partners, it’s wise for all partners to have life insurance policies in case the worst should happen.
#7: Business Auto Insurance
Business auto insurance is for practices that use vehicles as part of everyday business. If you’re a doctor who makes house calls, business auto insurance would be a good idea in case you should get into an accident while driving for work.
Or, if your practice uses company vehicles like vans for transporting employees or patients, business auto insurance ensures it’s protected should an accident or theft occur. Most personal auto insurance policies don’t cover losses or damages if a vehicle is used for business purposes. Business auto insurance covers this gap for automobiles.
Bonus Insurance Coverage for Practices to Consider
Those are some of the most critical insurance policies for medical practices, but there are still others that practice owners should consider. Two worth mentioning are employment practices liability insurance and employee disability insurance.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance
While you obviously believe in your staff and trust them to make the right decisions, you don’t want one of their mistakes to cost your practice’s financial security. Employment practices liability insurance covers businesses should an employee file litigation against the practice or another employee.
The litigation can be against the practice for wrongful termination or discrimination, or it could be against an employee for workplace harassment. The insurance covers legal defense costs and possible damages caused by the lawsuit. Hopefully, you never have to use it, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Employee Disability Insurance
If you have a rather small practice with only a handful of medical professionals and revenue-generators, you understand that every employee is crucial to the practice’s operation. If an employee for a small practice is sick or injured, it could mean a sizable hit to the practice’s revenue.
Employee disability insurance differs from worker’s compensation since it covers lost revenue due to an employee suffering an injury or sickness outside the workplace. The policy also covers the loss of revenue from a missing employee so workers and practice owners have better peace of mind. Plus, it doesn’t require a disability, just enough injury or illness for the medical professional to be unable to see patients or perform their duties.
Hopefully, our guide has enlightened you on some of the key insurance policies that every medical practice should have, no matter its size or specialty of medicine. You may not think you need some of these insurance policies, but all it takes is one bad day to devastate a medical practice—unless it’s covered with insurance.
If you’re interested in learning more about medical practice insurance or purchasing a medical malpractice insurance policy, contact the experts at Baxter & Associates.
Malpractice insurance is, unfortunately, a requirement in many professions. Our guide explores the most common professions that utilize malpractice insurance below.
The most common profession for malpractice insurance is the primary physician in medical treatment. It’s easy to see why—healthcare often comes with life-and-death stakes, and if a physician makes a diagnostic or therapy error, it could lead to severe patient suffering or death.
That’s why liability insurance for healthcare facilities is essential for any hospital or care facility with primary physicians—it’s only a matter of when, not if, a malpractice claim is filed. Doctors are incredibly skilled and educated but still make mistakes like the rest of us. Without sufficient coverage, one physician’s mistake could cost them and the healthcare facility they practice in.
Attorneys & Lawyers
It’s not just medical professionals who have to worry about malpractice—legal professionals often face malpractice claims too. If a lawyer’s client is unhappy with their care and services, they can file a malpractice suit for damages in the thousands or millions of dollars. While malpractice insurance isn’t required in some states, it’s vital for practicing attorneys to have some form of liability insurance.
Examples of why a client may file a malpractice claim against their attorney include:
Failing to disclose a conflict of interest
Not communicating with the client
Missing court dates
Missing statutes of limitations
When a court case could decide a person’s life and liberty, lawyers can become targets for litigation afterward.
Nurses may not have the same diagnosis and treatment responsibilities that a primary physician may have over a patient, but they handle much of the day-to-day treatment. Since nurses are not as responsible, they’re not as often named in malpractice litigation but still get targeted frequently.
Much malpractice litigation against nurses involves administering medication to a patient—either the wrong drug, the wrong amount, or the failure to administer medication. With nursing personnel stretched thin across the country, nurses will likely face greater malpractice claims in the future.
Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA)
All nurses can face litigation, but one profession facing a growing number of claims is CRNAs. A CRNA works directly with an anesthesiologist to administer anesthesiology and is responsible for their well-being before, during, and after surgery.
CRNAs are in demand now more than ever before as anesthesiology becomes a growing medical field—but with this growth is also an increase in malpractice litigation. Typically, the anesthesiologist is targeted, but CRNAs can be just as culpable if a patient is to suffer or die while administered anesthesia.
The stakes are slightly lower for chiropractors than typical physicians or nurses, but chiropractic malpractice litigation is still common. A chiropractor can be sued if their spinal manipulation treatment harms or immobilizes a patient or if they fail to diagnose an illness or injury in the patient.
Common injuries that result in chiropractic malpractice claims include:
These professions are all different, but what they share is that they need sufficient liability insurance to protect them in case of malpractice litigation.