Why shopping for tail coverage matters in today’s malpractice insurance marketplace


So you have to purchase “malpractice tail coverage”
The medical malpractice insurance marketplace continues to evolve as more regulations and government oversights place more pressure on traditional medical practices to evolve, join a larger group practice, or sell out to the local hospital system. Although this issue brings up a number of items to potentially dive into, the one I would like to focus on today is the question I most often receive from my clients: “What about my tail coverage?” With the changing healthcare landscape, insurance companies have begun to develop more “product offerings” to increase their revenue capturing opportunities. Not only are they looking to capture more revenue opportunities, but they are also beginning to think creatively rather than staying within the antiquated mindset that carriers have traditionally shown in the malpractice insurance marketplace. [More]


Further discussion on the effects of damage caps on malpractice claims in Florida


In my last blog post, I took a look at how the passage of tort reform in Florida has changed the number of paid claims for physicians in the state. In summary, analyzing the data provided by the National Practitioners Data Bank (NPDB) showed a clear decline in the number of paid claims against physicians in Florida. The information provided by the NPDB is some of the most comprehensive data we have on claims; however, the state of Florida also tracks malpractice claims and it would only be fair to review this data too. In the decision to overturn the cap on death cases, Justice Lewis references data from the annual report on medical malpractice closed claims and rate filings from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. [More]


Proper Planning of Physician Retirement & Medical Malpractice Insurance


As a physician approaches retirement, one of the most important items on the to-do list is to ensure adequate insurance coverage for any future malpractice claims that may arise after the practice doors are closed. Due to the “long tail” nature of malpractice claims, patients may bring a claim against their physician (or other healthcare provider) long after the date actual care took place. This is why you consider the risk of being sued months and even years after their practice is closed. [More]


Best Practices in Reducing Patient Transfer Claims


During a nursing in-service the following question was posed to the nurses: “How many of you go home with sore backs and need to take something to sleep at night because of it?” With most of the nurses raising their hands, we wanted to assure them they do not have to go home in pain and worry about if they will remain healthy until retirement. [More]


The Data Behind Florida’s Supreme Court Decision


This will be the first installment in a series of blog posts that focus on state caps on malpractice insurance payments and the corresponding data. This is a hot topic in the industry right now, as the Florida Supreme Court recently overturned the cap in that state and there is a push to overturn MICRA in California, which has been used as the model in many other states, including Texas. This discussion will focus on Florida, since it is the most recent development; I will discuss other states in future posts. If there is a specific state that interests you, please email me and I’ll see if I can work it in to this series. [More]


Medical Director Liability Concerns


Across the country midlevel providers are gaining more authority and autonomy with the oncoming shortage of physicians and at the same time physicians are looking to supplement their income with what seems to be a low risk, high reward position at various allied healthcare facilities. The types of facilities doctors are overseeing as medical directors range from midlevel clinics to long-term care facilities, medical spas and ambulatory surgery centers. Allied healthcare is only going to become more prevalent and frequently I receive calls from clients informing me of a medical directorship that they have accepted. [More]


Liability Concerns for Healthcare Staffing Organizations


Healthcare staffing organizations (HSOs) face several additional levels of liability concern when compared to more traditional healthcare practices. The customary needs of a practice, such as the following, are supplemented with exposures associated with off-site liability, contractual indemnification concerns and high volumes of provider turnover. [More]


What can a medical practice learn from a data breach at Target?


I received two emails today from the Chase Bank fraud department stating that my credit card information may at risk due to Target’s data security breach. Not that I shop at Target all that much, but if I had been there even once between November 27 and December 15 my card information could be at risk. So much for being proactive and not waiting until the last minute to buy a few Christmas gifts. The good news is that there is nothing to show that my data has been compromised and they are sending me new cards; however, that also means that I have to change all of my auto-pay bills that are set up on that specific credit card… which is essentially every recurring bill that I have. [More]


Worker Compensation – Factors to Evaluate When Trying to Control Your Costs


Saving money and controlling costs are always objectives for insurance buyers. Whether it’s the CEO, CFO, controller, or business owner themselves, finding ways to manage your costs better is a constant. So when it comes to worker compensation insurance, there are numerous questions an employer should ask when evaluating their cost control strategies. Here are a few: [More]


Social Media and Healthcare Best Friends or Worst Enemies


Social media isn’t just a fad. Facebook is a $100 billion company with 1.1 billion users, LinkedIn has over 200 million users throughout 200 countries, Twitter has successfully filed its initial public offering, and Google is one of the most valuable and powerful companies on the planet. The social media revolution has affected every industry, yet it poses unique challenges for the healthcare sector. [More]


Using a Medical Malpractice Insurance Agent and Why It’s a Necessity


Chances are that at some point in time you have purchased an insurance product through an online system. Or you have called the carrier directly and have gotten a quote over the phone. You probably thought, “Hey, it’s easy,” “I don’t have to worry about sales calls,” “This site tells me that it’s less expensive if I apply online,” or “It’s the quickest way to get coverage.” While some of those statements may be correct, people tend to make major mistakes when dealing directly with insurance carriers and not using a broker. The items below reference the downside of not having an agent in the numbered sections. The remaining content is about what you receive in having your own agent. [More]


What to learn from a carrier’s combined ratio


The combined ratio is an important aspect of any insurance carrier that brokers study in order to better service their clients with their medical malpractice insurance policy. Before we demonstrate what to look at when studying this ratio, we will first explain how it is calculated. [More]


Top 10 Things to Consider When Buying a Medical Malpractice Insurance Policy


There is a significant amount of information on medical malpractice insurance and the accompanying different kinds of policies and features a physician can purchase. While it is beneficial that so much information is available, it can actually lead to many physicians feeling overwhelmed and confused rather than informed and enlightened. It is with this underlying issue, that I would like to simplify things. Here are the top 10 things to consider when buying medical malpractice insurance policy (in no particular order of importance): [More]


Capitation - One Alternative to a “Fee for Service”


One can hardly escape conversations about “change” in healthcare circles today. Changing demographics, changing industries, changing regulations; the list continues. However, one change, the change in provider reimbursement, is pervasive. We hear constant sound bites concerning the “movement away from the 'fee for service' model,” but movement toward what? If we are not reimbursing providers for procedures conducted, how are we measuring healthcare delivery and how is it paid for? [More]


Growing Trend: Direct Employer Contracts with Healthcare Providers in the Self-Insured Industry


While not a new trend, direct employer contracting with providers is rapidly picking up steam, particularly among self-insured companies. The arrangement can provide employers and healthcare providers with myriad benefits, but with these benefits come risks.

Before providers agree to enter into such an arrangement with employers or approach self-insured employers to discuss a partnership (if this allowable under a provider's contract terms with existing health plans), it is important to understand how the arrangement works, why it can work well for both parties and some the risks providers need to be aware of. [More]


Dispelling the Myth: Conrad Murray Cannot Receive Medical Malpractice Insurance


As Conrad Murray, the doctor who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson and recently released from jail, seeks to regain his Texas medical license, questions have been raised about whether he will ever be able to practice medicine in the U.S. [More]


Texas expands prescriptive authority rules on Nov 1, 2013. Are you ready?


Advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants in Texas will find themselves with fewer restrictions placed on their practice, and on how they collaborate with their physician counterparts, when they go to work on November 1, 2013. Earlier this year, Senate Bill 406 was passed by the Texas Legislature. Signed into law by Governor Rick Perry, the new bill will provide better access to care for patients by allowing physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to work together with greater ease. This will be especially helpful in the vast rural areas of the Lone Star State. [More]


What Are the True Risks of Vicarious Liability?


As medical practices expand in size, an increased number of professionals come into contact with patients. This has many positive results: patients can get multiple opinions and diagnoses, allowing their treatment to be more well-rounded, and doctors can expand their patient network by bringing nurse practitioners and physician assistants on board. However, these additions can also bring added risk to doctors in the form of vicarious liability. [More]


Management Services Organizations (MSOs) - Emerging Trends in Hospital/Physician Affiliations


The landscape of healthcare practice structures continues to evolve and create new incarnations of medical service delivery models. An example of this evolution is the adaptation of physician clinical practices beyond the individual practice setting into the integrated and collaborative world of hospital ownership, large provider group absorption and Accountable Care Organizations etc. This consolidation trend towards a more broader based, top-down organization has resulted in an often frustrating loss of physician independence and control over their clinical practice. Management Services Organizations have gained prominence an organizational structure which solves some of these concerns by allowing physicians to maintain an element of independence while remaining competitive with larger corporate or hospital based provider groups. [More]


Deciphering who covers your tail


When it comes down to who is responsible for purchasing your medical malpractice insurance tail when you are leaving a group should always be discussed and agreed upon in a contract at the beginning of your employment. If this was not previously addressed then there are different situations that can arise, each one depending on either the group you are leaving or if you are joining a new group. One way that can happen is that you end up having to pay for your tail if both, the group you have left or the group you are switching to refuse to purchase it on your behalf. The next could be if that you do not feel that you need to tail, but your old group does not feel comfortable having a period of no coverage then they would end up buying it. Another outcome is that the new group agrees to pay percentages of your tail, but depending on the number of years that you keep practicing with them. For instance, a new group could make a deal with you that if you leave after the first year then you must pay for your own tail, after two years then you would both split the costs, and if you stay with them for three or more then they cover all of the costs. These are all possible to happen; it just depends on who has more leverage in the situation. [More]