Both “medical malpractice” and “medical indemnity” refer to insurance policies that you can take out on behalf of yourself and your practice. These policies will protect you in the event of someone lodging a claim against the services you provide.
As you begin to plan your future practice in the medical field, researching insurance policy providers and the specific policies available should be at the top of your to-do list.
Medical indemnity and Medical Malpractice Insurance provide protection against claims of professional negligence.
The terminology of the two products is often confusing. But it’s important to remember that, although they have similar attributes, they provide cover for completely different situations.
Appropriate insurance is vital for medical practices, such as:
- Remedial massage practices
- Chiropractic centres
- Cosmetic surgeons
- Medical centres
- Diagnostic and imaging clinics
- Optical centres
- Pathology centres
Medical Indemnity Insurance
If something were to go wrong while you’re providing medical care, medical indemnity insurance will protect both you and your patients.
This will include covering the legal costs of the claim and the compensation that you might have to pay.
In countries such as Australia, there are Medical Indemnity Acts in place. These make it compulsory for all medical practitioners to be covered under a medical indemnity insurance policy.
This insurance is also a condition of registration for allied health professionals such as chiropractors, midwives, and podiatrists. It works on a claims-made basis. So it will cover claims made, which the insurer is notified about, during the period of insurance.
What’s Usually Covered:
- Defence costs for claims
- Costs of compensation
Medical Malpractice Insurance
Medical malpractice insurance is like medical indemnity insurance, but will usually broaden the scope of coverage beyond just the health professional.
When a medical practice operates under a separate entity, there is a risk that someone could sue the entity for any errors or omissions that occur there.
People will often take a legal action jointly against the health professional and also the entity operating the medical practice, so both need to have coverage.
What’s Usually Covered:
- Breach of duty
- Loss of or damage to documents
- Administrative errors and omissions
Taking Out Medical Insurance
You should take out medical insurance to cover yourself, your new entity (business), and your employees.
If you’ll be one of several practitioners at your new medical practice, it’s vital that you obtain reliable insurance to cover yourself as an individual in the event of unexpected or accidental malpractice.
If you’re planning to be a solo practice, some insurers might offer entity coverage sharing policy limits at no extra charge, protecting both you and your practice overall.
Because your practice will hold all your business assets, such as equipment and accounts, you must have sufficient medical malpractice insurance to cover your business.
In the unfortunate event an error or accident occurs, you will be less likely to have to shut up shop and end your dreams of running your own medical practice.
Employers are usually held accountable for the actions or errors of their employees. So it’s important to obtain a medical malpractice insurance policy that covers your employees. This way, you will protect your staff as well as yourself.
So Which Policy Should You Get?
Some people might think they don’t need coverage because they’re thorough when providing medical services and performing administrative tasks.
But the fact is, accidents do happen and you might be held accountable for them. You might be completely innocent and not at fault for a claim made against you.
Unfortunately, legal representation alone can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without the necessary coverage, this expense could be crippling to your practice.
It’s important to assess how your practice will operate when looking at medical insurance in order to determine which one you might need.
All policies contain exclusions of some kind, so make sure you read through the exclusions thoroughly.
The most common exclusions are illegal conduct, record alteration, and so on. If you’ve lied or been dishonest in your policy application, you could cause issues when trying to make a claim, making your policy void.
Focus on what you’d expect to need from a policy. Then speak to some medical insurance providers to get a policy tailored to your specific needs. In most cases, people will need to take out both medical indemnity and medical malpractice insurance policies.
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