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In this age of shrinking Medicare reimbursements, more and more physicians are working outside their traditional practices to generate additional revenue. In addition to the economic challenge that is persistent and provoking so much career change within the medical community, there is the very real dynamic of just impatient, innovative, enterprising spirit that lies within so many of the individuals driven to medical careers.
The individualism that inspires critical thinkers to medical science and to a profession as rewarding as healthcare will lead many to find ways to continue their path. Physicians who are asked to retire from their conventional medical practice will often recreate themselves, in that new role, many doctors are introducing their medical expertise to health care organizations and to the legal community.
It is no mystery that the courts need medical experts; both sides of the legal issue, the plaintiffs and the defendant physicians need some assistance understanding and explaining medical procedures, treatment plans and surgical services to an audience, or jury or to a state panel. The physicians who perform this service can fall into a no win situation. Physicians who are asking for your defense may accuse you of slander, misrepresentation and interfering with their right to earn a living if you say something that reflects poorly on their medical proficiency. Physicians asking for your support may second guess your opinions claiming that your testimony caused damages.
The physicians who are called on to provide these independent evaluations are referred to as Medical Experts, performing, often, independent medical exams, reviewing utilization files, sitting on panels to consider peer performance or rendering expert opinions on treatment plans.
When the physicians signs contracts to perform this work, they may be have to the legal exposure contained in this type of work. There is no guarantee that you, as an independent evaluator will not be sued and/or reprimanded by a healthcare panel for your opinions served.
Typically the large Medical Malpractice Insurance carriers such as The Doctors Company will do their best to extend coverage for limited exposure within the physician’s own specialty. What once was a fairly straightforward process between a solo practitioner and his or her medical malpractice carrier, has become complicated by the consolidation of small practices into larger groups and foundations, as well as the emergence of large medical corporations and hospitals that are less willing to assume the risk for outside work, no matter how small. We have a physician who is suddenly doing more and more of this forensic medicine and his malpractice insurance provider has made it very clear to him, that expressing his medical opinion without a patient consultation is not what the malpractice insurance policy was designed or contemplated covering.
He has no coverage for this medical/legal work under his medical malpractice insurance policy. After a careful underwriting review, this internal medicine physician who assumed that expressing medical opinions, even if to a judge, or to a health care payer, during an independent deposition where he is paid to come in to consult as an unbiased third party, he is very much at risk of suit and unprotected.
We've had a flurry recently from physicians looking for professional liability insurance coverage for their Expert Medical Witness testimony as well as the more routine Medical File Review work in the area of workers compensation insurance and disability insurance claims.
One doctor recently put this advertisement for services up on the internet, just looking for some companies, attorneys, or medical groups that need this expertise:
Wouldn’t it be more effective to bring to a close those many nuisance cases:
If you have a nuisance claim, let me know the facts: Have a nurse or a PA present a case to me over the telephone or Email. For much less than you would pay otherwise, I can identify the nuisance and help you with a dollar amount settlement. Typically a nuisance suit settles for much more than they should. This physician recommended settling for less than $10,000, or go all the way with an aggressive defense in court.
This physician represents himself to be a reasonably priced medical legal expert screener, with no vested biases by either party. His claim is to act independently, objectively. The companies paying for this independent evaluations can, possibly save a lot of money on these types of cases: There is no physician/patient relationship, completely objective independent claim/legal evaluations.
According to this physician, and, I suspect with many, there is no downside. They seem to be genuinely interested in moving the process forward, and in continuing their own purpose and place in the medical industry.
This type of work can be lucrative and rewarding; And, it should have an insurance policy protecting the physicians engaging in this work.
Coverage for these types of risks can start as low as $2,750 for $1 million/$3 million limits for claims made policy through Lloyd’s of London.
For more information regarding Medical Expert Witness Insurance and File Review Coverage, contact us or fill out the form to receive customized Professional Liability Coverage for Medical Expert Witness and File Review insurance quote.