454 Las Gallinas Avenue
Many of our physicians will accept positions as Medical Directors without checking first to see if the work is protected by their present insurance policy. The assumption ‘on the ground’ (so to speak) is that everything must be covered by my medical malpractice insurance policy. If the physician just keeps their head down, work hard, assume that the work is covered all will be well. There are some physicians who assume that regardless of how many associations with other facilities, medical groups or organizations you have, your medical malpractice/professional liability insurance policy will cover it…right?...
This, of course is not the case, all is immediately made uncomfortable, the assumption of everything is okay ends, when the letter arrives, the email demand, announcing that there is a claim being made against you.
Accepting medical director positions is not always motivated by financial reasons. Our insured doctors will often accept medical director positions of Laboratories, Surgery Centers, Rehab Centers, Pain Management Clinics, Hospital Departments, Medispas, etc. because they have a family, friend or alumni connection to the facility/organization asking.
There are many noble reasons to accept these medical director posts. And, many of these are very good reasons. The Medical Director/Supervisor Position does not have to be too risky.
When physician do not disclose this work to their ‘medmal’ carrier, there is no clear path to defend, prepare, endorse, manage the risk.
The position of medical director is not contemplated in the totality of clinical practice that is measured when the physicians are applying for their specialty specific professional liability insurance, the underwriter and actuary are measuring the laws of large numbers. They are engaged in the process of measuring the risk of being named in a claim against a primary care or specialty care or surgical specialty. The administrative vicarious liability or the oversight of an organization is clearly a lower risk to the actual practice of medicine. And, the risk can be larger when associated with a large, broad reaching organization.
The Medical Director usually ends up managing and supervising a little more than they imagined. Medical Directors will establish protocol, they are involved in physician licensing, approval, credentialing. The hiring and firing of physicians, mid-levels, allied personnel.
Before you know it, the essentially volunteering position of medical director is running the entire place. And, the is where the work for the organization can get sticky. We saw recently a very good intentioned urgent care center owner become responsible for acting medical director of first another primary care group, integrated into a wide reaching network of physicians: from specialty care to mid-levels, the clinic expanded, and our medical director was at the helm. all of which was covered by his own independent contractor solo medical malpractice insurance policy.
Medical Directors should invest in the time to complete the search for a stand alone, separately underwritten and priced medical director policy. The benefits of maintaining your own policy will keep your own medical malpractice policy off the radar of future litigants, future patients who maybe looking to cast a wide net when presenting a clinical liability claim; they name the administrators. Your Medical Director policy will be there rightfully not only to respond, but to provide the specialty lawyer coverage, medical expert witnesses and experienced claims representatives with the knowledge of how to defend the organization and the work that you are doing in that context. Your defense, success and coverage will all be much better if you maintain your own medical director policy. The cost is absolutely nothing compared to the added protection you will bring your own loss experience as a physician and your reputation on the national practitioner’s databank.
An example of when a well intentioned surgeon was caught defending a claim, paying the settlement for a laser claim that he should never have taken. The problem for our Plastic Surgeon was that the Medispa did not have sufficient coverage in place. When the two claims came against the Physician Assistants for the laser claims, the only insurance available to defend any of them, including the medispa organization was the Plastic Surgeons own medical malpractice insurance policy.
Of course, the Medical Malpractice Carrier denied the claim, and denies the defense of the claim. Yet, still his policy ended up covering (funding) the losses. This just happens, for better or worse, the feeling is that the insurance is there, the courts will attach the policy that is active and certainly if that policy is protecting the Medical Director of the facility that is the subject of the lawsuit. As in the case with the MediSpa.
The result to our physician is: his losses are now counted on the national practitioners databank, he lost his filed, and approved claims free discount resulting in a $ 1,800 increase in his annual medical malpractice insurance premium.
Now, we have a specialty insurance policy written to cover the entire Spa, the physician and the midlevel’s, each covered properly under the medispa Lloyd’s of London policy, which leaves he conventional clinical medical malpractice insurance policy alone.
What a physician can do as soon as the request (the seemingly imminent request) is made of them to act as medical director:
The best thing to do is to report this work to your own medical malpractice carrier so that your own loyal, experienced defense counsel and insurance company can Endorse this extra exposure for the proper premium. The risk can be carefully underwritten and included in your own single medical malpractice risk.
If you wait to add this, you will have already taken some risk. The medical malpractice carriers are usually great at figuring this work out, if they are not covering this work, they will endorse and attach a premium to it.
Our Medical Directors Liability insurance program offers stand alone programs for all types of Medical Directors and is available in all states. Coverage is available for direct, in-direct and no patient care. Retroactive coverage is available and there are no deductibles. Limits are available at $1,000,000 Per Claim and $3,000,000 Aggregate for Professional Liability with the option to Include General Liability, No Location Limitation.
An easy step to take to solve this problem:
Check in with you own medical malpractice insurance carrier to ensure that you are properly endorsed. If not, then call us so that we can represent you to Admiral, RSUI, Beazely, NAS, Evanston, Professional Program, Kinsale or any one of a number of Excess and Surplus lines insurance companies to help us write the accurate coverage for you.
Remember, you do not want to lose hard earned, ongoing discounts on your medical malpractice insurance policy by taking one for a larger, team of providers, facility and different management focus. The coverage is important, and your allegiance to the health care organization can be great; but it is not worth putting your insurance on the line for it.
For more information regarding medical director liability insurance, contact us or fill out the form to receive customized insurance quote.
"The Doctor's company was a joy to work with! They responded promptly to inquiries, answered ALL my questions, helped to educate me about insurance coverage and found me what I needed expeditiously and at a very reasonable rate. I received a phone call from Brad within 24 hours of sending the initial email inquiry and had terrific service from both Oneyda Urbina and Brad O'Brien--Very professional and confidence inspiring!" - L. Char, MD from Honolulu, HI