Medical Care Consultants and Advisor Liability Insurance

June 19, 2020

Some Medical Malpractice Insurance policies only activate, or “trigger,” when the insured clinical provider (M.D., N.P., P.A., or any other professional healthcare provider) is engaged in providing Direct Patient Care, often called DPC in the medical malpractice niche of the insurance industry.

Unless there is a breach of duty owed to the patient (or client) receiving medical care, resulting in a claim or demand for reparations or damages restoring the pained, injured person to whole (or better), then the policy will not respond.

The underwriters or claims representatives will say that they need the action that is insured to happen, which triggers the policy to act. If no action occurs against the insurable events, then it is not the right policy.

There is a growing need for advice and counsel online and in person in order to understand options, interventions and medical resources. This is in contrast to clinical medical diagnosis, and these services are provided by medical advisors, health educators, authors, online medical navigators, and others.

These activities, which may not be covered by a conventional medical malpractice policy, are as follows:

  • Plan and write reports for new and ongoing activities of health care organizations
  • Opine on proposals’ medical or health benefits
  • Interact at a senior level with national and regional health authorities
  • Offer scientific input into protocol feasibility assessments for clinical trial proposals
  • Assure selection and design of trials by entering into medical teams
  • Check medical trends, experiences and utilization/protocol
  • Map needs and draft plans with partner organizations
  • Develop strategic plans
  • Discuss medical aspects of programs with leadership
  • Discuss issues with medical advisory groups
  • Confer on clinical outcomes on medical research

The concept of “direct patient care” is why it can be so hard to get the right policy for work that doesn't fit this category. The work could still certainly result in a claim of negligence, with patients or clients relying on your information and counsel. Just because a client is not receiving direct patient care, you are not immunized from liability.

A medical advisor, health educator or public health advisor could easily be included (and often is) in the claims against healthcare, medical device makers or research facilities alleging that the treatment, evaluation or service somehow failed to provide up to expectations, caused harm or resulted in lost time or wages.

  • A Medical Advisor provides significant contribution towards the evaluation, critique and communication of important medical and scientific information related to a company's products. Medical Advisors assist clinical research teams and often help training and supporting the sales force.
  • Health educators teach people about behaviors that promote wellness. They develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities. They collect data and discuss health concerns with members of specific populations or communities.
  • The Public Health Advisor is an individual who offers assistance and advice pertaining to matters that involve improving public health activities. Typically, they will represent one or several federal public health programs in their work with the non-federal health community.

When you are a consultant in the healthcare field, the calculus in the premium and therefore the information guiding the policy is dependent on you telling your story.

In the application, there will be a section like this:


Please indicate your professional specialty:

☐ Chiropractor* ☐ Medical Director** ☐ Physical Therapist

☐ Counselor (describe): ☐ Nurse, Licensed Practical ☐ Physician Assistant

______________________________ ☐ Nurse, Registered ☐ Psychologist

☐ Dental Hygienist ☐ Nurse Anesthetist*** ☐ Respiratory Therapist

☐ Dietician ☐ Nurse Practitioner ☐ Social/Case Worker

☒ Healthcare Consultant** ☐ Occupational Therapist ☐ Speech Therapist

☐ Laboratory Technician ☐ Optometrist ☐ X-ray Technician

☐ Massage Therapist ☐ Pharmacist ☐ Other (specify): ___________________________

This will be followed by the chance to tell your narrative:

Please describe in detail the professional services you render: _______________________________________________________

The policy mirrors the information that you provide here in the application; any of this particular work can be included.

The common theme here is that there does not have to be direct patient care in order for you to be ‘covered’ by a medical malpractice or ‘medical professional liability policy.

The Doctors Insurance Agency provides malpractice insurance to individual physicians, mid-level groups, mental health counselors, naturopathic physicians, functional medicine providers, behaviorally health facilities, and start up telemedicine organizations.

Our policies protect the physicians with the important tail included (depending upon the type of policy and the structure of the business). The definition of “insured” covers the owners, investors, directors and officers.

We are aligned with specialty financial professional liability products intended to protect the business of managing growing telehealth organizations, insuring individual clinical physicians as well as the growing field of medical advisors and health educators.