By David I. Katz, AAMS®
connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter
Insurance Protection for Physicians pt 1
"One of the best ways to reduce the risk of a malpractice lawsuit is to treat every patient with courtesy and respect."
-Kenneth Fox, a partner with McAloon & Friedman, P.C. in New York City
Medical malpractice insurance protects against the financial risks faced by doctors and dentists. Some types of practices - cardiovascular surgery, and obstetrics-gynecology, for example - carry a higher risk of a malpractice lawsuit, and premiums reflect that difference. For example, a new obstetrician in New York might pay an annual premium of $100,000 to $200,000 for $1.3 million in primary insurance coverage.
State laws vary widely in terms of malpractice insurance requirements. In some states, purchasing a policy is mandatory. In other states, a medical professional can post a bond as surety in the event of a malpractice lawsuit, or even drop coverage altogether. In addition, some state legislatures have set caps on damage awards in malpractice cases, reducing the potential financial risk to a practicing physician.
New physicians and doctors who are changing affiliations should also have a clear understanding with the practice or hospital about how a malpractice lawsuit would be handled.
Malpractice liability and insurance coverage may also be affected by the structuring or a group practice or collaborative arrangement, such as an accountable care organization (ACO). In a partnership, one physician or dentist may be considered liable for the actions of another partner, said Fox. However, the shareholders in a professional corporation or limited liability company would generally not be liable for another shareholder’s medical malpractice. Instead, a malpractice lawsuit might also be filed against the company as well as the practitioner. READ MORE