As a physician assistant, you work hard to provide the best possible care to your patients. However, even the most competent and careful healthcare providers can make mistakes. That’s why it’s important to have malpractice insurance to protect yourself in case of a lawsuit. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about physician assistant malpractice insurance.
The Problem: Why You Need Physician Assistant Malpractice Insurance
Medical malpractice lawsuits can be ruinous for healthcare providers. Even if you are found not liable, the legal costs alone can be staggering. Without malpractice insurance, you could be forced to pay out of pocket for these expenses. In addition, a lawsuit can damage your professional reputation and make it difficult to find work in the future. For these reasons, it’s essential for physician assistants to have malpractice insurance.
The Solution: How Physician Assistant Malpractice Insurance Works
Malpractice insurance for physician assistants is similar to insurance for physicians. It provides coverage in case of a lawsuit alleging that you caused harm to a patient due to your negligence or wrongdoing. Your insurance policy will cover legal fees and any damages awarded to the plaintiff, up to the policy limits. Most policies also cover expenses related to regulatory proceedings or investigations.
Key points about Physician Assistant Malpractice Insurance
Here are some key things to keep in mind when shopping for physician assistant malpractice insurance:
1. Coverage limits
Make sure you understand the coverage limits of your policy. You’ll want to make sure you have enough coverage to protect your assets in case of a lawsuit.
2. Claims-made vs. occurrence policies
There are two main types of malpractice insurance policies: claims-made and occurrence policies. Claims-made policies only cover claims that are made while the policy is in effect. Occurrence policies cover claims that arise from incidents that occurred while the policy was in effect, regardless of when the claim is made. Claims-made policies are generally less expensive, but they can leave you exposed if you switch insurance providers.
3. Tail coverage
If you have a claims-made policy and switch insurance providers, you may need to purchase tail coverage to protect yourself from claims related to incidents that occurred while your previous policy was in effect.
4. Prior acts coverage
If you’re a new physician assistant, you may want to consider purchasing prior acts coverage. This covers claims related to incidents that occurred before you purchased your policy.
5. Defense costs
Make sure your policy covers defense costs. Some policies may have a separate limit for defense costs, while others include defense costs in the overall coverage limit.
6. Consent to settle
Some policies require your consent before settling a claim. Make sure you understand the implications of this provision.
One physician assistant we spoke to, who had been practicing for 20 years, had never been sued for malpractice. However, she maintained malpractice insurance throughout her career because she knew that even the most careful healthcare providers can make mistakes. She said that having malpractice insurance gave her peace of mind and allowed her to focus on providing the best possible care to her patients.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much does physician assistant malpractice insurance cost?
The cost of malpractice insurance varies depending on a number of factors, including your specialty, location, and claims history. You can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per year.
2. Is malpractice insurance required for physician assistants?
Malpractice insurance is not required by law, but it is generally considered a best practice for healthcare providers.
3. Can I get malpractice insurance if I have a history of malpractice claims?
It may be more difficult to find malpractice insurance if you have a history of malpractice claims, but it is still possible. You may need to pay higher premiums or accept lower coverage limits.
4. Does malpractice insurance cover intentional wrongdoing?
No, malpractice insurance only covers claims related to negligence or mistakes. Intentional wrongdoing is not covered.
5. What if I work part-time as a physician assistant?
Many insurance providers offer part-time policies for healthcare providers who work less than full-time.
6. Can I be sued even if I have malpractice insurance?
Yes, it’s possible to be sued even if you have malpractice insurance. However, having insurance can help protect your assets and give you peace of mind.
7. Can I purchase malpractice insurance on my own, or do I need to go through my employer?
You can purchase malpractice insurance on your own, or you may be able to get coverage through your employer. It’s a good idea to shop around and compare prices and coverage options.
8. How do I know if I need tail coverage?
If you have a claims-made policy and are switching insurance providers, you may need tail coverage to protect yourself from claims related to incidents that occurred while your previous policy was in effect. Your insurance provider can help you determine if you need tail coverage.
Pros of Physician Assistant Malpractice Insurance
Here are some of the benefits of having malpractice insurance as a physician assistant:
- Protects your assets in case of a lawsuit
- Provides peace of mind
- Allows you to focus on providing the best possible care to your patients
- May be required by your employer or state licensing board
Tips for Choosing Physician Assistant Malpractice Insurance
Here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for malpractice insurance:
- Shop around and compare prices and coverage options
- Make sure you understand the coverage limits and provisions of the policy
- Consider your claims history and specialty when choosing a policy
- Ask your colleagues for recommendations
- Consider purchasing tail coverage if you have a claims-made policy
Physician assistant malpractice insurance is an essential protection for healthcare providers. It provides coverage in case of a lawsuit alleging negligence or wrongdoing. When shopping for malpractice insurance, it’s important to understand the coverage limits and provisions of the policy, and to compare prices and coverage options. Having malpractice insurance can give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on providing the best possible care to your patients.