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5 Things A Psychiatrist Must Consider When Buying Medical Malpractice Insurance

Psychiatrists hold an important responsibility when treating their patients. Unfortunately, there is always a risk associated with it. Therefore, having the right insurance to cover all costs is extremely important. When purchasing your insurance plan, it is important to consider the list below.

  1. Does the insurance policy have hidden costs?

Getting low premium insurance may not save you money in the end. The coverage may be inadequate with upfront costs and high deductibles. Some insurance companies will require individuals to pay huge amounts in order to apply for reimbursements or other costs upfront.

Before selecting an Insurance company, it is important to know in detail what all costs will be so you are not stuck with hidden costs in the end.

  1. Are there any conditions to ‘consent to settle clause’ in the insurance policy?

The clause of consent to settle is common in medical malpractice insurance. psychiatrists must be well aware of the conditions that are a part of it. In some situations the insurance company will prefer to settle. In other’s attributions may be required in order to settle the dispute. Such a situation may be favorable for the insurance provider but certainly not for you.

  1. Is your policy requiring you to pay extra for CME’s and risk management education?

There are some insurance companies that do not include the costs for CME’s resulting in Psychiatrists paying third party companies. Make sure that the company you choose provides such insurance without adding much to the costs.

  1. Is the risk management service specially for psychiatrists?

There can be situations when the insurance companies do not have policies specifically designed for risk management services. Such companies usually have a collaborated policy section for psychiatrists or physicians. There are companies having multiple speciality insurance services that focus basically on physicians with primary care. The special programs are designed appropriately for psychiatrists along with behavioural and health care professionals.

  1. Does your company have Psychiatric claims experience?

Not all insurance companies are knowledgeable on the issues that can be a part of psychiatric claims. Knowing the kind of sensitive field that it is, you have to be sure that your insurance company will be able to handle the situation well. Choose an insurance company that is highly experienced in the field to handle the situation in the best interest of the company.

Before selecting a particular insurance company make sure you have done your research. Review the list above as this can hugely affect the costs that you pay for  your insurance services and the additional costs when dealing with a claim.

Being a psychiatrist is a task of immense responsibility and care. One needs to be sure that the practice is secured with adequate malpractice insurance. Choosing a well fit medical malpractice insurance can save you money, your services and professional standing.

To learn more about services for medical malpractice insurance contact us at 973-939-3171.

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ICD-10 Countdown: How Your Practice Can Get Ready

“The transition to the International Classification of Diseases-10th Revision, Clinical Management coding system is more than a compliance exercise—it is a transformational event.”

In fact an Oct. 21 HIMSS/WEDI ICD-10 National Pilot Program Outcomes Report also warns that a recent test of professional coders only achieved a 63% accuracy rating when submitting ICD-10 codes.

While the transition to ICD-10 will impact everyone working in the healthcare continuum—from providers to payers and vendors—physicians have the most to lose. If claims are not submitted accurately, physicians simply won’t be paid. With less than a year until the one-day ICD-10 conversion on October 1, 2014, a physician’s ultimate life preserver is going to be planning and training, says Shari Erickson, MPH, vice president of government and regulatory affairs for the American College of Physicians.

“It’s time to kick it into gear,” Erickson says. “If you aren’t able to bill with ICD-10 codes next year, it is not just a little cut in payment. It is a 100% cut.”

Why so complicated?

ICD-10 greatly increases the specificity with which diagnoses are reported. The number of outpatient diagnostic codes will increase from around 13,000 to more than 68,000.

For medical practices, transitioning to the new coding system will require training for coders, billers, and providers in the documentation requirements, as well as changes to billing software and superbills. A 2008 study prepared by the consulting firm Nachimson Advisors LLC estimates the conversion costs will range from slightly more than $83,000 to as high as $2.7 million, depending on the size of the practice. A 2006 study prepared for America’s Heath Insurance Plans, the trade association for commercial payers, predicted the cost to the nation’s healthcare system as a whole will range from $3.2 billion to $8.3 billion.

Matthew Finneran, MD, a family medicine and geriatrics practitioner in Wadsworth, Ohio, has already started trying to get into the habit of coding with greater precision. Finneran says that preparing for the transition has made him and members of his staff pay more attention to the codes they use now. They are trying to input codes as accurately as ICD-9 allows, carrying them to the second decimal point whenever possible.   “We are making the extra effort to capture all the right codes so we can identify the complexity of visits, even though we are not getting paid for it yet,” he says.

Finneran believes that making the transition is everyone’s responsibility, which is why his entire team—which includes two full-time physicians, two part-time physicians, a nurse practitioner, and about 15 support staff—is working on understanding ICD-10 so they can help the practice’s biller/coder do her job better.

Practices that have not already gotten started on ICD-10 preparations need to get busy. “If you ignore it, you are only hurting yourself. It will be a 1-day switchover. There will be no transition. If you aren’t ready, you won’t be paid,” he says.

But since his practice is well on its way, he has another concern: Will his payers be ready? “Are they going to be able to pay me in a timely way? I have my doubts, especially Medicare. As a small practice, I don’t have a hospital to subsidize my cash flow or help me pay my employees,” he says.  Some experts are recommending that practices secure a line of credit ahead of the transition that they can draw on if a problem with the ICD-10 transition halts their cash flow temporarily. “It would be prudent to take out a credit line equal to about 5% of the total reimbursement for the year for the practice,” says Michael F. Arrigo, CPHIT, CPEMR managing partner of No World Borders, a healthcare management and information technology consulting firm.

However, Finneran says even that wouldn’t calm all of his fears, because credit lines have costs that he would probably have to shoulder alone.

Source: http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/RC/icd-10-countdown-how-your-practice-can-get-ready?page=full

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Medical Malpractice Insurance For Nurses: Why Is It Important?

Medical malpractice insurance provides nurses with medical malpractice liability coverage against lawsuits and actions taken by the Nurses registration board. Even the most experienced and skilled nurses can make a mistake which can result in a lawsuit.   It’s important to understand why nurses need medical malpractice insurance, and what to consider when choosing the right medical malpractice insurance policy.

Having medical malpractice insurance provides nurses with financial protection and a peace of mind as they go about their duties.  Even where medical malpractice insurance coverage is provided by employers, it may still be necessary for a nurse to have his or her own medical malpractice insurance policy that would provide for attorney fees, reimbursement to licensing boards and lost wages.  Such additional medical malpractice insurance policies can also provide coverage when performing part-time nursing assignments and volunteering, since this would not typically be covered by the employer’s insurance company.

When Does Medical Malpractice Occur?

Medical malpractice is said to have occurred when a nurse fails provide a reasonable standard of care as expected from nursing professionals.

Nurses are given numerous responsibilities and failure to properly perform any of them can lead to charges for malpractice.  Common examples include failure to monitor the patient’s vital signs, errors made when performing a medical procedure, and administering medication among others.   However, good the nurse may be, even a slight mistake sue as mishandling of a patients medical records resulting in unauthorized persons accessing them can lead to a serious medical malpractice claim.

Common Misconceptions About Medical Malpractice Insurance

Here are several misconceptions that nurses have over medical malpractice insurance.  One such myth is that only bad nurses need this cover.   Many good nurses get sued or reported to the licensing board.  It can be very costly to cover legal expenses out of your account if this happens.  Having a medical malpractice insurance policy gives a nurse the freedom to evaluate the settlement offer made by the BON without worrying whether he or she can afford legal counsel, if the matter proceeds to a hearing.

If the matter goes to court and the nurse loses the medical malpractice lawsuit, he or she would be liable for any damages awarded to the plaintiff.  Without medical malpractice insurance, it would be very hard to pay such large amounts of money.

Another common misconception is that having medical malpractice insurance would increase their chances of being sued.  This is supposedly because they would be targeted by unscrupulous individual for lawsuits.  The truth s unless the nurse voluntarily reveals to a potential plaintiff that he or she has medical malpractice insurance, no one can ever know. The decision on who should respond to the lawsuit is made based on whether the defendant is covered by insurance or not.

What Nurses Need to Know to Purchase a Medical Malpractice Insurance Policy

Before purchasing a medical malpractice insurance policy, nurses should do some research on the medical malpractice insurance provider. The company’s financial strength as well as the length of time it has been operating should be considered.   Go through and thoroughly understand all provisions concerning the limits of their coverage, the number of claims they receive each year and the amounts they have paid out following such claims.

According to a website known as “nurses together”, the best insurance providers would give the nurses an option on which medical malpractice insurance policy to take up depending on their circumstances. Additionally, a good policy should not provide any limits on the hourly rate charged by attorney.

Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?Malpractice-Insurance-For-Nurses:-Why-Is-It-Important?&id=7113061

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What You Need to Know About Medical Malpractice “Tail Coverage”

Medical Malpractice Insurance Tail Coverage is an expensive and necessary insurance product for covering your professional liability exposures. It can run as high as 200 percent of the annual premium of your mature medical malpractice insurance claims-made policy. For this reason, it is critical to your business success that you explore your options when it comes time to make that investment.

What is Tail Coverage?

Optional Extended Reporting Period Coverage, more commonly known as Medical Malpractice Insurance Tail Coverage, is an insurance product purchased so that liability coverage extends beyond the end of the policy period of your claims-made medical malpractice insurance coverage.

When practicing medicine under a claims-made insurance policy (by far the most common form of medical liability coverage), your insurance company is only obligated to pay claims received during the effective policy period. Because a medical injury can take months, even years to reveal itself, you can have a claim filed against you well after the policy you were practicing under has expired, been cancelled or non-renewed. Under such circumstances, you will need Tail Coverage to protect against those claims not known about at the end of the policy period.

Your Questions Answered About Medical Malpractice Tail Coverage in 3 Scenarios

Scenario #1

After practicing at a five-person nephrology clinic in New York, you have taken a new job in Pennsylvania. Because your current medical malpractice insurance carrier doesn’t write policies in the state where you’ve relocated – Pennsylvania, you cancel your policy and sign on with another insurer. Two years later, a claim is filed against you for an incident that took place while you were practicing in New York. You’ve had uninterrupted insurance, so you should be covered, right?

Scenario #2

You have practiced family medicine in New York for 40 years and are ready to retire. After selling your practice, you allow your medical liability insurance policy to lapse and spend your days down at the local fishing hole. Eighteen months later a malpractice claim is filed against you. You paid for malpractice insurance every year for 40 years, while you were practicing in New York, so you should be covered, right?

Scenario #3

The trend toward hospital-based employment finally lured you away from your independent gastroenterology practice in Pennsylvania. One of the new perks is that the hospital will coordinate and pay for your medical malpractice liability insurance coverage. Your new coverage starts the day your old coverage expired. There have been no gaps in your coverage, so you should be covered, right?

Answer:

The answer to the above three scenarios is, Only If You Purchased Tail Coverage!

While Tail Coverage is So Important To You as a Physician Practicing in New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania – or any other State

Tail Coverage is important because so many medical malpractice insurance claims are made months after the patient interaction occurs, and some may even be made years after the interaction. Even if your medical malpractice insurance policy was active while you were treating the patient, if a claim is brought against you after you have let your coverage lapse, it will not be covered.

Purchasing Tail Coverage is the best, safest way to protect yourself against claims that may arise after the cancellation or non-renewal of your policy.

Demystifying What You’ve Heard About Medical Malpractice Tail Coverage

Myth #1

You can only purchase Tail Coverage from your existing claims-made medical malpractice insurance carrier.

There are a number of “A Rated” medical malpractice insurance companies that are now willing to write Tail Coverage for physicians leaving another company.

Myth #2

You only have 30 days from the date your coverage ends to purchase Tail Coverage.

There are strict deadlines for purchasing Tail Coverage, but they vary from company to company. Let your medical malpractice insurance agent know in advance of your career plans, but don’t be pushed into making a purchasing decision prior to exploring your options.

Myth #3

You have to purchase lifetime Tail Coverage.

While you can purchase Tail Coverage that has no end date, many companies offer one-year, three-year, five-year or seven-year Tail Coverage policies.

These finite Tail Coverage policies are generally less expensive than the lifetime policies.

If you live in a state with a strong statute of limitations on medical malpractice insurance claims, these finite Tail Coverage policies can save you money without sacrificing peace of mind.

Source: http://www.mymedicalmalpracticeinsurance.com/tail-coverage.php

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Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance Claims Study By Physician Specialty

Recently, The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a special article, Medical Malpractice Risk According to Physician Specialty. While there have been studies about medical malpractice liability in the past this one takes a slightly different approach and therefore is worth exploring. With the practice of defensive medicine and medical malpractice rates contributing to the high cost of medicine, understanding the data around medical malpractice is needed if solutions are to be developed. This study provides a practical glimpse into the world of medical malpractice, medical malpractice liability insurance, and how it applies to specific physician specialties.

Unlike other studies that focus on local results, or those that look to claims with payments, this new study looked at closed malpractice claims nationwide from 1991 to 2005. By looking at data from closed claims from a national malpractice insurer, the researchers were able to gather information about the ages, specialties, and location of claims, whether a payment was made or not. Data was gleaned from all 50 states and 24 distinct specialties were represented as has having a minimum of 200 claims. The study shed new light on how often claims are made regardless of whether a payment is made.

Having been in the medical malpractice liability insurance business for 30 years we are surprised by some of the findings.

This study specifically …

“… uncovered an important aspect of medical malpractice liability: the high likelihood of claims that do not result in payments to a plaintiff. Annual rates of claims leading to indemnity payments ranged from 1% to 5% across specialties, whereas rates of all claims ranged from 5% to 22%. Projections suggest that nearly all physicians in high-risk specialties will face at least one claim during their career; however, a substantial minority will not have to make an indemnity payment.”

Pediatrics Led All Specialties in Loss Payments

There were some findings in this study that may seem surprising. For instance, specialties that were most likely to face indemnity malpractice insurance claims were often not those with the highest average payments. For example, Neurosurgeons were the most likely to receive a claim, however their average loss payment was significantly less than that of Pediatrics which was the least likely to receive a claim. In fact pediatrics led all specialties by a dramatic amount in loss payments. This fact was likely due to a higher sympathy factor for children and the longer life span that may require higher compensation. Nonetheless, the findings were interesting.

The top 6 specialties that were most likely to have a medical malpractice insurance liability claim brought against them included:

  • Neurosurgery
  • Thoracic-cardiovascular surgery
  • General Surgery
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Gastroenterology

(Obstetrics and Gynecology was 7th on the list)

 Conversely, the top 6 specialties that had the highest payments were:
  • Pediatrics
  • Pathology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Pulmonary medicine

What seems unfortunately clear was that no matter what specialty, the likelihood of being named in a claim was relatively high. There was a clear discrepancy, however, among what are considered “low-risk” specialties where “36% were projected to face their first claim by the age of 45 years, as compared with 88% of physicians in high-risk specialties.” Surprisingly the numbers jump significantly by the age of 65 years, when 75% of physicians in low-risk specialties and 99% of those in high-risk specialties were projected to face a claim.

High Risk of Being Involved in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

While the study points to the fact that many claims that are filed result in no payment to the claimants, the relative risk of being involved in a lawsuit is high. While medical malpractice liability insurance will cover you for the costs associated with trial and any possible payment, the intangible uninsurable costs such as time, stress, and reputational damage are hard to measure.