Liability insurance offered for Internet-based care

Healthcare First, a unit of insurance broker Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., announced recently the first professional liability insurance policy in the country developed specifically for managed care transactions that take place on the Internet. RLI Insurance Co., a unit of Peoria, IL-based RLI Corp., will underwrite the policy. All applicants must be accredited by URAC, a Washington, DC-based health care standards-setting body.

Health care First’s new policy is designed to address health care providers’ web-related information technology risks and liability exposures, such as contingent bodily injury resulting from web site content and breaches of privacy. "This new Internet liability coverage will indemnify electronic-based transactions that healthcare organizations use to manage, process, and disseminate information — including access to this information by the consumer via a web browser," says John S. Fisher, assistant vice president at Healthcare First in San Francisco.

URAC, formerly known as the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission, has standards for health care web sites. The standards cover sensitive issues such as data disclosure and privacy as well as issues of content, linking, and accountability.