Malpractice Insurance - What NDs Need To Know
Friday, July 20, 2018
As a naturopathic physician, your common ground with other NDs is your unwavering dedication to your patients. But even the best doctor can make a mistake, have a bad outcome or face an unwarranted allegation.
Having the right malpractice insurance provider by your side helps protect your patients, your financial well-being and your reputation. Although there are many characteristics of a high-quality malpractice insurance provider, the following are essential:
1. Expertise. Not all malpractice providers are created equal. If you face a claim or go to mediation or court, who do you want by your side? Make sure your provider is knowledgeable about naturopathic care.
2. Resources. Sometimes you have questions about the "what ifs" in your day-to-day practice. What resources does the insurance provider have available for those types of questions?
3. Stability. Ensure the insurance provider is reputable, reliable and financially stable.
What Malpractice Insurance Covers
Understanding why malpractice insurance coverage is needed and what it pays for are important when selecting this coverage.
Limit of Liability
The limit of liability you choose is used to compensate for damage, loss or injury suffered by the plaintiff (patient). Payments to plaintiffs due to court judgments or settlements are often referred to as indemnity payments because the malpractice insurer indemnifies, or covers, the cost of these judgments.
When looking for malpractice insurance, you’ll notice coverage limits are shown with two figures: the first is for a single claim in the policy period and the second is for the total limit of liability for all claims in a policy period.
For example, a $1 million/$3 million limit of liability means there is a single claim limit of $1 million and $3 million for all claims in a policy period (usually one year).
Legal Defense Malpractice insurance also pays for your legal defense whether the allegation against you has merit or not. Because this can easily cost tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, your legal defense coverage is very important. Look for a policy that covers these costs outside of the limits of liability.
How Much Coverage You Need
To determine the amount of coverage you may need:
- Evaluate how much money is needed to compensate an injured patient and to protect your personal and practice assets. Depending on your policy, you may be responsible for paying attorney fees and/or judgments in excess of your policy limit out of your own pocket.
- Know what your healthcare networks and state statutes require. Also, find out if your employer has minimum coverage requirements.
- Keep in mind that low policy limits may hinder a successful outcome of your case because lawsuits often entail negotiation and compromise.
It is important to note that industry standard is at least $1 million/$3 million for coverage policy limits. As with other important aspects of your practice management, it is advisable to meet with your attorney or business advisor for guidance on what specific policy limits are advisable.
What Plan Features Are Important
There is a lot to consider and insurance can be a confusing a topic. NCMIC has developed a guide [link to guide] to help you understand the policy provisions, features and terms you need to know.
Naturopaths can take advantage of comprehensive benefits with the NCMIC Malpractice Insurance Plan.What’s more,NCMIC recently made the following enhancements to meet the growing needs of naturopathic physicians:
- Minor surgery coverage expanded—Coverage now includes minimally invasive skin and gynecological biopsies
- Additional therapies now covered: Scar injections, Prolotherapy utilizing platelet-rich plasma, Sclerotherapy for the treatment of spider veins, IV and rectal chelation for health metal toxicity treatment
- Increased coverage for state disciplinary proceedings—Legal expenses have been increased to $15,000 per policy period and now also include QIO Sanctions and HIPAA or Privacy-Related Proceedings
- Tail coverage available at no additional cost—After ten (10) years of continuous coverage with NCMIC, tail coverage is offered at no additional cost. Tail coverage allows a claim to be reported after the policy ends as long as the incident occurred when the policy was active.
So take a look at the helpful guide that includes more details about selecting a malpractice insurance plan or call 1-800-769-2000, ext. 4757, to review coverage options or get a quote.
If you aren’t already insured with NCMIC, now is a great time to get a quick quote to see how affordable our rates can be. You may receive a discount for being a member of your state association, as well as other potential discounts. Call Diana Fenton at 1-800-769-2000, ext. 4757, to learn more about our coverage.