Home Health Care Providers and Businesses Cannot Afford to Ignore Malpractice Insurance

/ BLOG

Home Health Care Providers and Businesses Cannot Afford to Ignore Malpractice Insurance

Medical professionals have the duty to provide treatment to their patients aligned to the medical standards of care. The staff you employ at your home health care business understands that any deviation from the accepted standards of care will be considered medical negligence. They may go to great lengths to deliver the best possible care in their role. Yet, there is a possibility of clients filing a liability or malpractice suit against your business.

A report entitled Tort Liability Costs for Small Businesses finds that two out of five medical malpractice claims are baseless. [[1]] Still, plaintiffs who lack the evidence to prove medical malpractice are paid approximately one-fourth of the claims!

The financial risk is real and any home health provider that prides itself on quality care would fight tooth and nail to defend its reputation. But this too will come at a cost – the cost of defense. And regardless of who is at fault, it takes an average of five year to get a settlement. If you mentally add up the lawyer and administrative costs of fighting a lawsuit, you will no doubt see a big number.

Should you already have malpractice insurance, your policy will cover the costs arising from medical incidents, including attorney fees and the costs and expenses related to a judgement or settlement. In the absence of liability insurance, you will have no option but to pay for all such costs on your own.

Given the unpredictability of medical malpractice judgements, you need to consider the benefits of having an insurance carrier cover administrative, legal, settlement costs or damages even if it means having to pay a monthly or recurring premium.

Common claims received by home health care insurance providers

Home health care providers need to exercise appropriate care to prevent on-the-job injuries and illness. Further, special care may be necessary when attending to patients with existing health conditions or a weakened immune system.

Home health liability insurance protects you against allegations of sub-optimal care and mistakes committed when performing care duties at the client’s home. Here are some common reasons why clients file professional negligence claims:

You did not meet the reasonable standards of care: If you failed to demonstrate proper care protocols, which harmed the patient in some way, then a claim may be brought against you. The patient’s family may allege that you – as a professional caregiver – did not handle the situation in a manner expected of you.

You failed to use equipment in a responsible manner: Claims can arise from improper handling of assistive equipment, first-aid kits or other patient aid technologies, which caused the patient physical or medical harm.

You did not document actions as required in your role: Home health aides who fail to meet patient documentation requirements may be faulted for omissions or errors. Any action pertaining to patient care, progress or assessment that isn’t documented may be viewed as an action not performed.

You failed to advocate for optimal patient care: Patients or their families may bring a claim if they feel that you did not act in patients’ best interest or did not make a reasonable effort to deliver optimal care.

You did not communicate effectively: Professional liability claims can stem from a lack of communication or miscommunication that causes errors when caring for patients and addressing their individual needs.

Examples:

A number of medication risks can occur in a home healthcare setting. Miscommunication or mistakes in transcription can cause medication errors [[2]], making it imperative to double-check the prescription before administering medication to the patient in your care.

There is also a risk of the patient overdosing on a prescription medication, and fatalities can occur in some cases. If the patient is on a blood thinner, then a third type of medication error is created. The patient may be getting lab results on a frequent basis and any change in results needs to be reported to the doctor so that the blood thinner can be administered in the right doses. If the home health aide’s responsibility extends to informing the patient’s doctor about their lab results and he/she fails to notify on time, then the resulting medication error and adverse health effect can create grounds for a claim.

Also within the ambit of a home health aide’s professional responsibilities is observing changes in the patient’s condition or general health. Any critical change that is left unobserved or unreported could potentially lead to an adverse health outcome.

Trained and licensed home health aides understand fully well that they must report changes in the patient’s health or demeanour immediately to the concerned individuals. If, for some reason, they forget to or are unable to register a critical change that may have serious medical implications, then a lawsuit may be brought against the aide and agency.

Your options after a claim has been filed

In the event that one of your clients files a claim against your agency or the home health aide you employ, then your lawyer will advise you on the next steps. Your insurance provider will also research to find out if the client has a history of filing fraudulent claims. Based on this information, your lawyer will determine the best way to proceed.

One is to respond to the claim, admitting to or denying the allegations of the claim accompanied by a suitable explanation.

Another option is to file a countersuit [[3]] against the plaintiff. If you don’t take a legal recourse, then the judge may declare a default judgement and rule in favor of the plaintiff. That means, you will need to pay the financial damages being sought in the claim.

If the case cannot be dismissed on legal grounds, it can proceed directly to judgment. Here, the jury will decide the dollar amount of damages to pay to the plaintiff without the involvement of a jury. You can always settle the case out of court; although you will still need to pay, it could end up being the least expensive of all other options.

What does home health liability insurance cover?

Medical malpractice insurance covers a number of expenses related to defending and settling lawsuits, including attorney fees, court costs, settlement costs, arbitration costs, medical damages, and compensatory and punitive damages. It does not cover medical suits arising from criminal acts, sexual misconduct and inappropriate alteration/amendment of medical records.

On an average, indemnity payments of medical malpractice suits are six-figure sums whether settled in or out of court. This is excluding lawyer costs, which can be less than $30,000 for dismissed or dropped cases and over $100,000 for claims that go to trial. These significant numbers can be a strain on your business operations, particularly if you’re a small business with limited capital and resources. By absorbing a large chunk of the costs, a medical practice insurance will keep operations sustainable.

Also factor in the costs associated with a loss of productivity until such time that the claim gets settled. Although your insurance provider can’t assist in this regard, they can minimize the stress of having to pay exorbitant out-of-pocket costs and help you focus on business rather than continually remaining anxious about the lawsuit.

Claims-made versus occurrence coverage

Claims-made professional liability insurance provides coverage for claims only when the incident and the claim occurred when the policy was in force. The coverage period keeps extending so long as you keep renewing your policy and continue paying premiums. The coverage stops once you stop paying the premium.

This type of malpractice insurance is offered by virtually all providers. If you wish to switch to a different provider, you need to purchase limited coverage aligned to the transition period as coverage will cease to exist once the policy is terminated.

Occurrence coverage is not as commonly offered as its claims-made counterpart. Occurrence coverage safeguards you against any incident occurring during the period irrespective of when the claim is filed. So, if a suit is filed after the policy has been terminated, the policy will still offer protection as long as the covered incident took place during the time period where the coverage was in force.

Who all can purchase medical malpractice insurance?

Medical malpractice insurance can take the form of an individual or group policy from a private insurance carrier. Home health aides can be covered by the liability insurance taken out by their employer (you). Across various health care settings, it is quite common for medical professionals to purchase insurance coverage for themselves, their employees and their business entity.

Why malpractice insurance is an essential component of risk management plans 

  1. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2003 deemed the results of the litigation system to be ‘largely random and unpredictable’. [[4]] Liability insurance serves as a safety net for unexpected judgements.
  2. The legal fees can add up quickly in a malpractice lawsuit. Home health care liability insurance protects your balance sheet against any financial shock that can exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  3. Baseless claims will still need to be investigated and defended. Insurers covering the healthcare industry set aside separate funds for the allocated loss adjustment expenses (ALAE) of processing every claim. This is a huge but unavoidable expense for insurers but benefits you in your fight against frivolous claims even if you don’t end up making an indemnity payment.
  4. Instead of focusing on arranging the costs of legal counsel and any additional costs of investigating the matter, you can continue running your business and count on your insurer to bear the costs of the medical suit.

How much will home health care liability insurance cost you?

Depending on the amount of coverage you want to purchase and the types of incidents you seek to cover, your premium can start at less than $50 per month at BizInsure. Factors such as your geographic location, claims history and number of years in business will determine the final cost.

You should be able to afford your premium payments and also make the deductible amount available before your policy starts covering you. If you cannot arrange for this amount, you can choose a policy with a smaller deductible. A BizInsure agent can help you work out the specifics to suit your individual requirements.


 

[1] https://www.instituteforlegalreform.com/uploads/sites/1/ilr_small_business_2010_0.pdf

[2] https://www.ems1.com/ems-products/Ambulance-Disposable-Supplies/articles/392153048-5-ways-to-eliminate-dosing-errors/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterclaim

[4] https://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/medical-malpractice-the-high-cost-of-meritless-claims

Eugene was Awesome!!!!
Lakesha G
Lakesha G
17:19 21 Jul 21
Excellent solution for writers and authors professional liability policy as well as coverage for copyright and trademark infringement. Service was prompt and excellent.
Lane
Lane
18:22 22 Jun 21
Jugrid Ombisi
Jugrid Ombisi
16:26 15 Jun 21
Done in less than an hour!
William Opperman
William Opperman
00:30 02 Jun 21
Efficient, and great value. The agent was able to give us a quote and a new policy in a short period of time. Thank you
Brenda Jones
Brenda Jones
20:30 24 May 21
I had a great experiencing obtaining several of my insurance needs as a landscaping company here in Northern Colorado. BizInsure's team took care of my needs and was very responsive to help with paperwork needed to secure a potential client account!
Arik Solberg
Arik Solberg
16:34 10 May 21
Adj Ako
Adj Ako
16:47 05 May 21
Very efficient they were able to help me out with my request promptly....highly recommend this companyI am very happy to have them
Elba Perez
Elba Perez
18:50 26 Apr 21
I need a help getting errors and omissions insurance along with general liability. Jose was very friendly informative and was very patient with me during the process. He found me some of the best rates for the coverage that I needed. Highly recommend
Casper Martinez
Casper Martinez
19:51 20 Apr 21
I had numerous conversations with several business insurance agents over a month's time. I also had several conversations confirming the policy inclusion/exclusions and asked many questions. My BizInsure agent was professional, knowledgeable and most important—detail oriented. Even after having an initial conversation a month earlier he knew and *remembered* all my personal/professional insurance needs. When I asked for additional information on the third call he was able to provide me with details very quickly. He was also VERY patient. That is a big plus in my opinion. It illustrated a high level of respect for my needs. I also found when I called back and asked to talk with the initial agent, the person who answered the call was able to get in contact quickly and my agent responded and returned the call within 5-10 minutes. The transaction was smooth, and I think it's a good sign should I ever need to make a claim. I highly recommend BizInsure.
Poetic Films
Poetic Films
21:00 07 Apr 21
Sandra Darjean-Murphy
Sandra Darjean-Murphy
17:48 31 Mar 21
Jusephine Ghong
Jusephine Ghong
17:58 23 Mar 21
The rep was extremely helpful actually lowered my quote and made sure I was covered to fit my needs with my growing business! 5star!!
Franklin Behm
Franklin Behm
19:04 16 Mar 21
Excellent service and prices.
Cassiopée V Lapierre
Cassiopée V Lapierre
23:13 09 Mar 21
S & S Professional care llc Home Health Agengy
S & S Professional care llc Home Health Agengy
04:15 24 Feb 21
Mr. Daniel Scott was very responsive to my professional needs.
Stephanie Woodruff
Stephanie Woodruff
17:38 18 Feb 21
Eugene deserves a raise! First time purchasing insurance and he made the process so simple for me. His patience and attention to detail left me feeling confident in my decision to choose BizInsure. Gracias Eugene!
Esined Perez
Esined Perez
23:32 17 Feb 21
DIVINE FIJIANS HOME CARE SERVICES
DIVINE FIJIANS HOME CARE SERVICES
22:49 05 Jan 21
The customer service provided by Jose was outstanding. He explained everything in a very clear/logical way and answered all of my questions. After providing all the information to obtain general liability insurance, Jose sent me the declaration page of the insurance for review. All of the information matched what I provided over the phone and there were no typos. The next day I called back to purchase the insurance which was easy and fast. Overall, my experience with BizInsure including the customer service by Jose exceeded my expectations.
Joe Wajdula
Joe Wajdula
03:29 12 Dec 20
Hiscox/BizInsure made getting Liability Insurance very easy and reasonable.I expected it to be a long and complicated process and it was a nice surprise that they made it so uncomplicated. Thank you. Lisa
Lisa Word
Lisa Word
21:51 24 Nov 20
Eugene was incredible. I called 4 other brokers before him who were impossible to get any help.
rhonda hale
rhonda hale
23:26 12 Nov 20
Owner (LPN)
Owner (LPN)
23:19 06 Nov 20
Cincere Browdy
Cincere Browdy
15:16 29 Oct 20
Very quick to get in touch with you and good with follow up. Had some trouble retrieving my quote to log into my account initially but Daniel assisted me and the changes were made to get me into my account. Great value for the money.
Fran Sutton
Fran Sutton
16:34 20 Sep 20
Very happy to be insured with this company. Professional, Timely, very helpful. Thank you Juan, you made it so much easier for me to understand.
Aileen Day
Aileen Day
19:55 15 Sep 20
This company responded when I needed them to respond while facing a deadline. They are an excellent choice for business Insurance.
Michele Harris
Michele Harris
01:52 12 Sep 20
Jose Quintero took such great care of me and was very patient explained everything I did not understand and got me set up quickly. Fabulous customer service
Christina Rose
Christina Rose
02:41 27 Aug 20
I can't say enough good things about Daniel Santos kind and effective communication skills as an insurance agent. Daniel was so pleasant, friendly and efficient with helping me obtain insurance as a teacher. If I were to give Daniel a grade, he has earned an At . He made the process easy to understand, it was far easier than what I anticipated. Nancy S.
Nancy Sloan
Nancy Sloan
00:47 26 Aug 20
I was in need of professional liability insurance for my sole proprietorship. A friend referred me. Everythng was quick and simple and AFFORDABLE!
hope jones
hope jones
20:31 25 Aug 20
If you need Private Home Care Provider insurance for your company, BizInsure, LLC can get it for you!
Pamela Curry
Pamela Curry
16:45 24 Aug 20
Cameron Peek
Cameron Peek
19:25 24 Jul 20
Great and fast service!!!! The representative was very professional!!!!
Tanya Sweet
Tanya Sweet
19:51 14 Jul 20
I was tryi9ng to find commercial liability insurance for my new comp-any and BizInsure was easy to use and very affordable which is great for me as a new business.
Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith
19:01 14 Jul 20
Great service, but they're also extremely patient. I called over a month ago for specialized E & O coverage, and Bizinsure was able to put me in touch with an extremely reasonable quote. Absolutely invaluable time and monetary savings to be had by going through these folks. If you can-- ask for Anthony. Absolute gem of a human.
James Lang
James Lang
18:19 02 Jul 20
Ken M
Ken M
23:21 28 Jun 20
Great service insurance prices are great for professionals looking to get insurance for businesses....
Rhonda Gray
Rhonda Gray
22:34 22 Jun 20
The provided very professional service and made the process easy.
Paul Rising
Paul Rising
21:51 04 Jun 20
Bradley Hoyle from the Biz Insure team was excellent to work with. Everything was quick and smooth. Great service, much appreciated!
Kristene Smith
Kristene Smith
02:03 04 Jun 20
Anthony Spencer was great!! Very quick response time!! He was very Professional! I would suggest him because he helped me find a affordable rate and explained all the technicalities..
Fre Hall
Fre Hall
16:38 28 May 20
I was referred to Bizinsure by a industry trade group that I am a member of. It was easy to get a quote online and then received excellent customer service from Bradley H. to complete my policy purchase over the phone. I have shared this company information now with other business owners for their policy needs.
Dawn Torres-Gale
Dawn Torres-Gale
22:11 08 May 20
This company was very precise with explaining services and made sure I chose the right business insurance coverage, great customer service at purchasing.
Nekeisha B.
Nekeisha B.
01:30 05 May 20
Amazing
Jasmine Q
Jasmine Q
14:31 02 Dec 19
Trish is the most patient, professional and understanding insurance agent I’ve ever worked with. Trish has taken care of all my business insurance needs for the last couple years. I am really happy that I found an insurance agent that I know will take care of me & all of my concerns. I feel like a valued customer & I appreciate the great customer service that I get every time!!THANK YOU!
Dr. Youssef C. Atallah
Dr. Youssef C. Atallah
17:21 14 Nov 18
Tricia helped me get insurance for my business. The task of obtaining a quote was really starting to frustrate me until I was referred to BizInsure through a different agency. Tricia got me a quote fast, and even took a down payment over the phone and issued the proof of insurance the same day. a+ service, would do it again in a heartbeat!! Thank you!!
Josh Mariscal
Josh Mariscal
18:07 22 Jun 18
BizInsure was a great find! I did not have to fill out applications, and Tricia was able to quote and bind business insurance for me within half an hour.
Allison Young
Allison Young
17:28 21 Jun 18
Started doing business again and needed a policy fast. Ramez was reasonable, helpful and the rates are OK. Buyer beware? Sure, for me it turned out OK this time. Worth a call.
Mark Wallace
Mark Wallace
23:42 13 Nov 17
Daniel Scott
Daniel Scott
15:15 27 Jun 17
Great customer service. I've been very inpressed with my dedicated representative that had helped me navegate my insurence needs. Thanks so much!
Graham Blair
Graham Blair
22:12 23 Jun 17