Malpractice is a big issue, regardless of what type of physician you are or how you practice. In private practice or while working in a permanent job for a health center you may have to provide your own malpractice coverage or may by covered by the facility. So how does malpractice insurance work for locum tenens physicians? Most locum tenens agencies are going to provide malpractice insurance while the physician is on assignment and good agencies will provide tail coverage in the case a suit is brought once a physician’s assignment is done.
Weatherby Healthcare recently published a comprehensive guide to malpractice for locum tenens. It outlines the risks, the costs, how coverage works, the process for handling suits, what happens following a suit, and the physicians role in the process. Here are some of the highlights:
- According to a recent Medscape survey, 55% of physicians had been named at least once in a medical malpractice lawsuit
- The cost of malpractice insurance premiums depends on the following:
- The state you practice in
- Your medical specialty
- The number of hours you work
- Your past malpractice claim history
- Your malpractice insurance provider
- There are two types of malpractice policies – occurrence and claims-made policies. Occurrences are covered regardless of when a claim is made. Claims-made policies are only good during the policy period and require tail coverage for claims made after the policy period
- The process for responding to a claim will be different based on your locum tenens agency
- 67% of the physicians who responded to the Medscape survey indicated that their lawsuit had no negative effects on their careers
- It is the physician’s responsibility to report any adverse patient outcomes which result in injuries or claims for damages to their locums agency or malpractice provider
Malpractice lawsuits can be scary but with proper coverage and a good team supporting you they can be worked through.