This type of medical malpractice insurance provide protection for those who have a medical exposure for operations that are incidental, but not the major function of their business. Incidental medical malpractice insurance does not protect clinics, hospitals or health care service providers simply because their medical exposure is directly related to their job. Examples of incidental medical exposures that this insurance will cover are nurses or first-aid providers at schools and infirmaries, athletic trainers and counselors. With some policies, the coverage can extend to EMTs, paramedics, ambulance attendants/drivers, and firefighters. Specific policies vary greatly depending on provider and state.
History of Incidental Medical Malpractice
Originally, incidental medical malpractice coverage had an exception to medical professional liability exclusionary endorsements. This was largely eliminated when incidental medical malpractice insurance was first introduced to standard general liability policies in 1976. Its purpose is to protect those offering medical services by an entity not engaged primarily in the offering of such services. Coverage can now also be provided in a commercial general liability policy to cover employees such as those implementing first aid to an injured worker.
Current Coverage Standards
Coverage can vary by state and especially by the individual plan you carry. Overall, the latest incidental malpractice liability coverage comes with the standard ISO commercial general liability policy provisions instead of as separate policy coverage. It includes the coverage within the “Who Is An Insured” section of the policy, which is different from the previous exclusion because it only applies to an employee providing or failing to provide professional services. In other words, this means that by exception, the coverage applies to the vicarious liability of the employer unless they attach it to professional liability endorsement. This endorsement would have to preclude the vicarious liability of an employed professional.
Who is Covered?
Coverage applies to injury arising out of the rendering or of failure to render, during the policy period, the following services:
- Medical, surgical, dental, X-ray or nursing service/ treatment or the furnishing of food or beverages in connection with these services
- The furnishing or dispensing of drugs or medical, dental or surgical supplies or appliances.
The coverage does not apply to the following:
- Expenses incurred by the insured for first aid to others at the time of the accident.
- The “Supplementary Payments” provision and the “Insured’s Duties in the Event of Occurrence, Claim or Suit” condition. Both are amended accordingly.
- Any insured engaged in the business or occupation of providing professional medical services.
- Injury caused by any indemnity if such indemnity is engaged in the business or occupation of providing professional medical services.
Avoiding Medical Malpractice
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 7,000 people die each year from medication errors in hospitals. Avoiding these serious mistakes starts with you, the health care professional. Medical errors often occur during the performance of routine tasks, such as providing the wrong meal to a patient on a low-sodium diet. While some mistakes can be blamed on the complexities of today’s health care system, many are due to poor provider-patient communication.
Where Errors Happen
Errors occur when medical care is executed incorrectly, or the wrong plan is initiated altogether. This care is typically provided in the following:
- Doctors’ offices
- Emergency rooms
- Nursing homes
- Operating rooms
- Outpatient surgery centers
- Patients’ homes
These errors can involve the following:
- Diagnosis equipment
- Lab reports
The most important thing you can do to avoid errors—and a medical malpractice lawsuit—is to remain informed of every aspect of your patient’s health care.
Approximately 88 percent of medication errors involve the wrong dose or the wrong drug. Here are some tips to avoid medication mistakes:
- Making sure you are aware of every prescription and over-the-counter medication your patient is taking
- Staying up to date on your patient’s known allergies to medications
- Making sure your handwriting on the prescription is legible
- Explaining directions in a patient-friendly fashion
These directions should include volume, frequency, foods, beverages, and activities to avoid, the total length of time, and any side effects that could occur.
Hospital Stays and Surgeries
- Before surgery, make sure you, the patient and the surgeon have reached a consensus on what will take place.
- Upon discharge, carefully explain the home treatment plan to your patient. Research shows that at discharge time, doctors think their patients understand more than they actually do.
Talk to NEWS Insurance Services about incidental medical malpractice coverage today to protect your company, your employees and those you care for.