Presented by Charles D. Cash, JD, LLM, Senior Risk Manager, Professional Risk Management Services, Inc.
This webinar presents an overview of practice-related medical liability risk plus strategies to manage that risk. Cash also reviews information about medical professional liability insurance, including types of liability insurance policies, the insurance contract, and components of the policy.
The first half of this webinar covers insurance. Cash says a practicing neurologist is likely to need several types of insurance through his or her career. These may range from a medical professional liability policy and other types such as general liability, worker's compensation if you have employees, life insurance, an umbrella policy, and more.
Cash emphasizes the importance of understanding the difference between occurrence coverage and claims-made coverage.
Occurrence coverage means the policy covers claims from events that occur during policy period or while the policy is active. In claims-made coverage, the event has to occur and the complaint has to be made during the time when the policy is active. The major difference between the two is cost. Claims-made coverage is less expensive, but may require the purchase of expensive tail coverage at a later date. Tail coverage extends the claims reporting period after the policy is ended.
Cash says it's important for you to review your insurance contract or policy closely. Contracts typically have five basic parts: a declarations page, the insuring agreement, conditions, exclusions, and endorsements.
Your input in the claims settlement process is known as consent to settlement and Cash reviews four types of consent to settlement:
When comparing the costs of policies, pay careful consideration to the following: types of coverage; policy limits; geography; discounts; and specialty coverage. Cash advises to make sure you're comparing the same policies when looking at cost.
The second half of the webinar covers risk management. Risk management advice stems from the following basic elements of a lawsuit. In order to win a lawsuit against you, the patient or plaintiff would have to prove each of these elements.
Cash says a lawsuit is not a plaintiff's only option. They may make complaints to the medical or state licensing board, professional associations, and government regulatory agencies such as Health and Human Services or Office for Civil Rights It's important to take these complaints seriously as they may be used to build a case for medical malpractice against you.
Basic methods for reducing risk in neurologic practice can be gathered into three groups: information gathering, communication, and documentation.
The patient's history and physical are crucial to neurologists more so than other specialties because a neurological diagnosis often calls for a higher degree specificity than in other specialties. Documentation is important and can go a long way to defending you. Diagnostic tests are also an important part of gathering information and help lessen your risk. Lapses in communication account for a large number of neurologist lawsuits. Cash advises to never make an assumption about a patient's literacy.
Cash says obtaining the following may lessen your chances of a lawsuit: