Medical Director Liability Concerns
Gallagher Healthcare :: Industry InsightsBy Hal Williams | 3/17/2014
Across the country mid-level 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 often than not the common assumption is that the physician’s existing medical malpractice insurance policy automatically insures them for this new exposure. While in some rare instances this is true, it is not the case for the majority of medical directors. The misconception is that the risks and exposures associated with a medical directorship are the same as those related to a medical practice with patient care. From a liability and insurance standpoint, these two risks are unique and should be insured as such.
First, a physician should consult with their insurance broker to determine whether or not their existing medical malpractice insurance policy can be expanded to include coverage for the newly assumed medical directorship. Some policies explicitly exclude coverage for claims arising from outside directorships and can be simply endorsed to include coverage for the new exposure while other policies and underwriters are simply unwilling or unable to insure an administrative post.
If it’s determined that the physician needs to procure additional coverage for the directorship then the need can be satisfied in one of two ways: (1) via the healthcare facility’s existing professional liability insurance policy or (2) by obtaining a stand-alone medical director errors and omissions policy. The former will be the path of least resistance since facility policies typically include coverage automatically for those designated as medical director and involves the least underwriting and lowest cost. The latter is attractive though because it ensures that the physician maintains the most control over their policy, personal asset protection, and any subsequent claim defense, and gives the maximum available coverage.
The brokers at Gallagher Healthcare are ready to assist you in navigating the market for medical director insurance along with any other insurance needs you have. Contact us today to request a quote.