Advanced Practice Providers Need Affordable Professional Liability Policies

May 01, 2018

The Doctors Insurance Agency and O'Brien Insurance Services has been working with advanced practice providers in both clinical and aesthetic settings for over 25 years.

We wanted to share in this blog some of the common questions we receive from these healthcare providers:

Having just attended a convention where there are many advanced practice providers learning how to add Telemedicine to their Medical Practice. We have been reminded of what a wide range of solutions there are …Some insurance solutions perfectly constructed and well priced. And others overpriced, and even leaving the professional liability risk partially unprotected.

Questions about Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner Professional Liability Insurance:

The questions that we hear from Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners in regards to the cost and construction of their Medical Professional Liability Insurance are as follows:

  • How much will my professional liability cost ?
  • Can I insure myself and my collaborating physician?
  • Can I insure my clinic independent of the medical director?
  • Can I have a policy that includes laser technicians, medical assistants and supervising physicians and other advanced practice providers all included in the premium?

Advanced Practice Providers should have their own policies that include employees and Medical Doctors collaborating …

Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) are qualified health care professionals who provide care and treatment while working under the supervision of a doctor. They have been certified to perform many of the same tasks as a doctor.

Physician Assistants working independently need their own Medical Malpractice Insurance. It is important for the insurance policy to include coverage for the supervising physician if the practice is owned by the physician assistant or the nurse practitioner. Similarly the policy should accommodate and include in the broad definition of insured all non-medical doctor employees. This includes other advanced practice practitioners as well as many allied healthcare professionals.

A policy that is a good fit for advanced practice providers a clinical practice or Medispa should include coverage for the collaborating physician. This is extra important because the collaborating physician might switch; the plans change and you need to substitute MD’s on the policy. You don't want to have a policy that triggers a tail premium each time a collaborating physician changes plans and cancels off of the policy.

Cost is low when sharing limits with the physician. The Doctors Insurance Agency has been providing Medical Malpractice Insurance for physician assistants for over 25 years. The cost of Physician Assistant Malpractice Insurance has come down to under $ 750.00 per year (and in some cases, in some states, less than $ 500) but it is important to note, those premiums are for when the APNP or PA are insured ON the policy of the physician. Those premiums do not represent the true cost of providing an independent Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner Malpractice Insurance policy.

Most physician assistants are covered under the medical malpractice policy of the doctors with whom they work. These arrangements share the limits with the doctor. This is good but not great insurance for physician assistants because the medical malpractice insurance provided by for the physician assistant is essentially a sub set of the doctors policy.  When coverage is shared there is the possibility ( in the event of a large claim) the insurance amount could be compromised.

It is affordable and the market is strong for physician extenders to take out their own insurance policy. These policies are affordable, flexible and underwritten by strong experienced insurance carriers.

There are still some medical malpractice companies that do not provide standalone independent physician assistant policies and it is important understand the difference between shared and separate policies.

Some benefits of a strong PA or NP program:

  • Pure Consent to Settle - The Carrier will never settle any case without the consent of the physician assistant. It's your money. Your name is on the policy. You should be the one making the decisions.
  • Defense costs are paid outside of policy limit (unlimited)
  • Premises liability
  • Coverage for physician assistants and their staff
  • Occurrence and Claims-Made - We offer both claims-made and occurrence policies. An occurrence policy gives you increased flexibility and never requires the purchase of a tail (extended reporting period).
  • Risk Management - Your carrier should be committed not only to defending you in court, but also teaching you how to avoid being named in a claim.
  • Risk managers take hundreds of phone calls helping to improve patient safety, communication and training.