Malpractice insurance is essential part of business
It protects you in case you’re sued
Independent case managers should purchase malpractice insurance to protect themselves from possible legal action if the patients whose care they manage experience an adverse outcome, says Elizabeth Hogue, Esq., a Washington, DC, attorney specializing in healthcare issues.
“Our society is not getting any less litigious, and there is no doubt in my mind that case managers may be included in lawsuits if the plan of care they develop doesn’t meet the patient’s needs, is incomplete, or if the patient is referred to a provider that cannot provide appropriate care,” she says.
If there is a lawsuit filed on behalf of a patient with whom you were involved, expect to be included, Hogue says. “Attorneys are trained to include everyone who sees the patient in any malpractice lawsuits they file. Their point of view is that they won’t know who is responsible for the injuries or damages the patient received until they sort it out later during discovery. For the sake of risk management, they can’t afford to overlook someone, and that means that case managers are going to be included,” Hogue says.
If you are included in a lawsuit, your insurer will assign legal counsel who is solidly in your corner, Hogue says.
Malpractice insurance is relatively inexpensive and is readily available through professional associations at a reasonable cost, Hogue says. “Malpractice insurance is not so expensive that it’s prohibitive, and the potential benefits far outweigh the costs,” she says.
Self-employed case managers may not think of themselves as having deep pockets, but they do have assets that should be protected, Hogue says. The only way to ensure protection of these assets is to purchase and maintain your own insurance policy, she adds.
“It is untrue that if you have your own malpractice coverage you are more likely to be sued. In most cases, patients and their families have no way of obtaining information about whether or not you have malpractice insurance before they file lawsuits,” Hogue says.
Even after a lawsuit is filed, rules governing discovery may prohibit attorneys for patients and families from getting information about whether you have malpractice insurance, and if so, the amount of coverage, she adds.