Doctors told to check professional liability coverage

Association tells members to get an insurance check-up as survey shows nearly half don’t know how much cover they have

Doctors told to check professional liability coverage

Professional Risks

By Ryan Smith

Nearly half of American pediatricians aren’t sure how much medical liability coverage they have, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A survey of pediatricians found that only 53% knew the amount of basic professional medical liability coverage they had, according to the AAP. That’s down from 66% in 2007. And that’s not a good thing because risk exposure is growing, according to Dr. John W. Rusher, a member of the organization’s committee on liability and risk management.

“While clinical malpractice claims in pediatric medical care have decreased in most states (due partly to medical malpractice reform legislation at the state level), claims for failure to comply with state and federal regulations, managed care requirements, and privacy and safety regulations are growing,” Rusher wrote for the AAP.

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Rusher recommended that pediatricians perform a check-up on their own insurance coverage. He said that pediatricians needed to ask their insurance carriers three questions:

Am I covered for the work I perform?
Rusher recommended that pediatricians made sure they were covered in situations beyond just their own practice – if they were working “locum tenens” (filling a slot temporarily), doing volunteer work, or assuming any duties as a medical director outside their own practice. He also recommended they make sure all physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners under their supervision were covered.

Am I covered for a breach of a practice regulation?

Most malpractice policies do include coverage for breaching state and federal regulations, but Rusher said additional regulatory-breach coverage might be necessary in several situations.

Am I covered for a data security or privacy breach?

With cybercrime on the rise, Rusher said that doctors needed to be sure their insurance covers data breaches. While most malpractice policies have some coverage for data and privacy breaches, Rusher said doctors might want to consider expanding theirs.

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