As the primary care professional for many Americans, nurse practitioners can be the targets of malpractice claims just as physicians. We’ll list some of the most common malpractice claims that target nurse practitioners, from diagnosis errors to prescription mistakes.
Failure To Diagnose
Most malpractice claims targeting nurse practitioners (NPs) involve the diagnosis in some way, with failure to diagnose being the most common claim. NPs often serve communities with few or no doctors, making them typically the first medical professionals a patient will see when experiencing symptoms of illness.
If an NP misses something during their initial evaluation or doesn’t order the right tests, it’s likely for serious illnesses like cancer or infection to go unnoticed until it’s too late. NPs serving these areas with few resources should be cautious regarding symptoms and diagnosis.
Another common malpractice claim against nurse practitioners regards errors with medication. Prescribing and administering medication is one of the principal duties of an NP that they likely do frequently every day.
Errors with medication can come in many forms, from administering the incorrect medicine to prescribing medications together that cause an adverse reaction in the patient. These mistakes may seem simple, but they can cause significant harm or illness in patients, so NPs must diligently and cautiously prescribe medication.
One malpractice claim that’s becoming more common against NPs and other medical professionals concerns pain management. The opioid epidemic is a significant problem in US healthcare, which has shed light on the unethical practice of overprescribing opioids.
NPs are often responsible for prescribing opioids, so they can be the target of a malpractice claim if they knowingly prescribed opioids to an addict or overprescribed the drugs to a patient and caused an opioid addiction. While NPs aren’t typically the target of overprescription claims, the increased focus on this unethical practice affects NPs and physicians.
Improper Treatment & Care
Improper treatment and care is a vague term for the malpractice of a medical professional mishandling a patient’s condition. NPs are often responsible for the primary care for millions of Americans, so they can be held responsible if their condition worsens due to the NP’s diagnosis and treatment.
A claim of improper treatment can mean many things, but it’s often associated with providing the incorrect treatment or a treatment that carries an unnecessary risk to the patient. If it’s found that the treatment for a patient’s illness was too risky and caused significant harm or death, the NP can be found responsible.
There are many other claims against nurse practitioners, so NP liability insurance is critical for any practicing NP. If you’re a nurse practitioner needing liability insurance, Baxter & Associates can help you find the right insurance policy.
Even the best chiropractors and practices have bad days with frustrated clients. Below, we’ll offer tips for chiropractors to deal with unhappy clients respectfully without ruining the relationship.
Why Clients Complain
A good way to go about dealing with upset clients is to understand why they’re complaining. Clients often complain because they have high expectations—sometimes unrealistically high—but it shows that they believe in your skills and hope for good results.
Some clients will complain because they’re frustrated—progress has been slow, or their body isn’t responding how they hoped. We’ve all had those moments of pure frustration, and it’s often just another sign that they believe in the promise of the treatment plan. Sometimes, clients complain because they want to be heard and need to vent some of their frustrations.
How To Deal with Unhappy Clients
Keep in mind the most common reasons that unhappy chiropractic clients complain; the best tips we can offer to deal with these complaints are to be honest, patient, and respectful.
Sometimes, you or your staff will make mistakes, and it’s perfectly alright to be honest about them. If a staff member double-booked an appointment slot with two clients, there’s not much to do except own up to it.
Mistakes and disappointment are possible during treatment. Even with all the expertise and skills available, progress in the treatment plan won’t always be as fast or significant as hoped. If you’re deflecting blame or making excuses, you’ll appear untrustworthy to patients—it’s better to be honest about mistakes.
As mentioned previously, clients often want to vent their frustrations, so chiropractors must be patient. When a client is leveling a critique or grievance that may not be completely logical, it’s not wise to correct or interrupt them.
Hear the complaints patiently, take the lumps when they come, and offer honest feedback. Often, a complaint will go away or be retracted if the chiropractor is patient and the client feels they have been heard respectfully.
A chiropractor should always be respectful of clients and their time. Perhaps the most common complaint is waiting time—it’s tough to maintain a tight schedule, but clients left waiting long periods feel disrespected.
Even if the client is upset, lodging a complaint, and not acting respectfully, you and your staff should still be as respectful as possible. If the client and the complaint are treated with respect, that’ll go a long way toward maintaining the relationship and loyalty of the client.
Sometimes, unhappy clients and complaints can turn into malpractice lawsuits. For those times, you’ll need a chiropractic malpractice insurance agency like Baxter & Associates. Contact us today, and we’ll help you find the ideal policy for you and your practice.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) have a choice when they begin their careers—get a full-time position at a facility or become an independent contractor. But what are the pros and cons of being an independent CRNA contractor? Working full-time and as a contractor can have different impacts on your work-life balance and your pay. We discuss the pros and cons of working as a CRNA contractor in our helpful guide below.
What Is an Independent CRNA Contractor?
CRNAs face many different challenges on the job, but the first is to decide which is a better fit for your life—working full-time or as an independent contractor. First, what does it mean to be an independent CRNA contractor? Basically, there are two types of nurses—W-2 and 1099 nurse contractors. A full-time W-2 nurse is employed by a healthcare facility and files their tax income with a W-2 form.
According to the IRS, a 1099 independent nurse identifies as a small business—they pick and choose the contracts they agree to but don’t have a full-time employer. So, a 1099 CRNA nurse can travel nationwide to many different facilities and locations each year instead of just one facility.
Advantages of Working as an Independent CRNA Contractor
Choosing whether to be a W-2 or 1099 CRNA is a significant career decision. Below, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of becoming an independent CRNA contractor so you can weigh both sides and make an informed decision.
Freedom of Job Choice
As the name suggests, being an independent CRNA contractor affords much more freedom than a standard CRNA. As independent contractors, CRNAs can take on the contracts they desire and choose where they want to work and what type of work they’d like to do.
CRNA contractors can choose their location and work hours and are not beholden to changing shift schedules at facilities and staffing shortages. And if a CRNA gets tired of a facility and wants to try somewhere new, they can move on to somewhere across the country if desired.
Perhaps the most difficult part of being a CRNA and a nurse is balancing time devoted to work and personal time. With so many facilities around the country suffering from nursing and staffing shortages, many CRNAs and RNs are working longer, more intense hours, which takes up a larger portion of their personal lives.
Independent CRNA contractors aren’t immune to feeling an imbalanced work and personal life, but they’re given much more flexibility and power to change the balance if needed. 1099 CRNAs can negotiate their hours and move to a different facility at the end of their contract instead of feeling tied down to one place.
One of the primary reasons that many CRNAs consider becoming a 1099 contractor is that it gives them more power in negotiating their pay. Typically, a 1099 nurse gets paid roughly 10-20 percent more than a regular W-2 nurse, but much of that is offset by costs a W-2 nurse doesn’t worry about—which we’ll discuss later.
But since independent CRNA contractors choose their contracts, they have many more options and can find a facility that’s in greater demand and is willing to pay more. An independent CRNA has much greater earning potential than a standard CRNA—at least at first.
Later, we’ll discuss that independent CRNAs have a significantly higher tax burden, but they can still use many tax deductions to ease that burden. As an independent contractor, a CRNA is considered a small business—and not just a person—in the eyes of the IRS.
As a small business, an independent CRNA can file for many more tax deductions than they would normally be able to, as there are many provisions to help entrepreneurs and small business owners in the tax code. Plus, 1099 CRNAs can write off many of the added expenses that come with being independent, including:
One of many things that independent CRNAs rave about their unique status is that it offers the chance to cultivate a lot of experience. As a 1099 contractor, CRNAs can try different locations and facilities across the country until they find something that best fits them.
The added experience of working at multiple facilities in a short time frame helps CRNAs better develop their skill set towards their dream job and allows them to meet more people in the industry and develop references. The independent contractor role is ideal for those who wish to try everything before landing in one spot.
It Can Turn Into a Full-Time Job
There’s always the option for independent CRNAs to change their mind and switch when they desire. If a 1099 CRNA starts a job at a facility they enjoy with a staff they build strong connections with, they can apply to work there full-time.
Many independent CRNAs eventually choose one place to settle down with for greater stability, but as a 1099 contractor, they can take the job for a test drive before deciding to stay long-term.
Disadvantages of Working as an Independent CRNA Contractor
Below we’ll explore some of the disadvantages of working as a CRNA contractor.
Greater Tax Burden
The primary downside to operating as a 1099 CRNA contractor is the taxes. Since an independent CRNA doesn’t have a permanent employer, they’re responsible for withdrawing their share of FICA from their income. Instead of taking the income taxes from the paycheck as employers do, independent contractors typically have to pay one large sum at the end of the year.
But unlike full-time employees, CRNA 1099 contractors can take advantage of tax deductions, like travel expenses, insurance, and office supplies.
No Employer Benefits
The other downside to not having a permanent employer is that you wouldn’t get employer-owned benefits as a 1099 CRNA. While an independent CRNA can apply for benefits from certain healthcare organizations that provide perks to 1099 contractors, they’re typically not as robust as those from an employer.
Independent CRNAs are responsible for getting their insurance and don’t receive perks like a paid vacation from employers. They may find benefits that are just as good, but they’ll have to do the legwork themselves to find equal or better benefits.
Another disadvantage to being independent is that CRNAs are responsible for securing their malpractice insurance. Since they’re independent, they’re liable for malpractice claims instead of being covered by the facility’s insurance.
Obtaining nurse anesthetist malpractice insurance is critical to working in healthcare, as it protects professionals from damaging liability lawsuits that could cost thousands of dollars. While independent CRNAs benefit from choosing their insurance, it typically costs more as an individual than it would join a group malpractice insurance plan for a healthcare facility, as other CRNAs do.
There are pros and cons of being a nurse anesthetist whether you’re full-time or a contractor. We hope our explainer has enlightened those who want to learn more about the independent CRNA experience, especially if you’re considering moonlighting as a nurse or CRNA. If you’re a 1099 CRNA contractor and need malpractice insurance, contact our helpful staff to get started and find the right coverage for you.
Explore our blogs to learn more about CRNA as a profession and contact us to get malpractice insurance quotes.
One of the many seismic changes the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the healthcare industry is the rapid use of telemedicine services. While telemedicine can benefit patients and doctors, it could also be the reason for substantial errors that could lead to a lawsuit. We’ll discuss some of these errors and situations below.
While misdiagnosis errors aren’t strictly confined to telemedicine, it’s still the primary concern for healthcare providers and professionals who offer telemedicine services. Telemedicine is convenient for many providers and patients, but an examination over a video call still isn’t as thorough as a physical examination.
Misdiagnosis is one of the most costly errors that could lead to a lawsuit, and telemedicine is not immune to the risk. When making a diagnosis and treatment plans, it’s always better for the doctor to be in the room with the patient instead of conducting a visual examination.
Similar to a misdiagnosis, prescription errors in telemedicine can quickly result in malpractice suits. Prescription errors can come in many forms—the patient has been prescribed the wrong dosage or the wrong medication, or a human error in miscommunication mixed up prescriptions.
While telemedicine may provide patients with more access to doctors, a communication barrier can always cause issues, particularly with prescriptions. When prescribing powerful medication for severe illnesses, it’s always best for the doctor to meet the patient face-to-face.
Doctor-patient confidentiality is a crucial principle for healthcare providers—patients must trust their providers to protect their sensitive health information from data thieves. While telemedicine is often secure, it offers another opportunity for data thieves to steal information.
All healthcare providers who offer telemedicine services must use HIPAA-compliant video conferences and data services for any video examinations or discussions regarding patient information. If a healthcare provider accidentally leaks patient information or it’s stolen due to incompetent telemedicine services, they could be found liable.
Communication Mistakes & Delays
While telemedicine makes accessing doctors much easier for patients in many ways, it can still be a burden on the provider and their communication if it’s not managed correctly. With telemedicine, some doctors see many more patients than they used to, which means juggling more diagnoses and treatment plans.
Through this higher load of patients, doctors and healthcare staff can make more mistakes or delay diagnoses or treatment plans, which can be labeled malpractice in a lawsuit.
If you’re a healthcare provider offering telemedicine services, group medical malpractice insurance is essential for mitigating risk and lawsuit damage. Contact our expert staff at Baxter & Associates to learn more about group malpractice insurance.