As physicians align themselves with Hospitals, large groups or ACO’s they have to consider their medical malpractice insurance. When you are solo you are the one in charge of your medical malpractice insurance. Now you may be considering relinquishing that control to the hospital, as you become their employee.
Remember, when there is a suit, they are suing you primarily and your employer is often secondary. It is you who will deal with the Medical Board, and the claims history, and the loss of reputation. So take a moment to ask some good questions:
1. Who is the hospital’s insurer, is it a self insured program. What if the Hospital has a financial crisis and I am in the middle of a claim? Who will pay for my defense?
2. If the hospital goes bankrupt what will happen to my prior acts coverage or current coverage?
3. Does the hospital cover Medical Board actions if so how much?
4. What are the limits of my malpractice coverage, will I have my own separate 1 million/3 million limit, or am I sharing this with other doctors. What will happen if the other doctors erode the policy limit, am I on my own?
5. Is the coverage occurrence or claims made; if the coverage is claims made medical malpractice will you buy my tail when I leave? How will you provide me proof that a tal was purchasedl? Also what will the limits be on my tail, and will the policy terms are the same?
6. What if I want to retire will you give me free tail?
7. Will you inform me when you make changes to the hospitals malpractice coverage, will I have a say if I do not like your planned changes?
8. Will Medicare/Medicaid billing fraud and abuse be covered?
9. Can I select my own attorney or do I have to use yours?
10. Can you force me to settle a case that I want to fight? Also what control do I have over allocation of settlement? Will payments be allocated against my record with the NPDB?
If any of the above makes you nervous. Negotiate with the hospital to have them reimburse you for your own medical malpractice insurance policy that you purchase on your own. This way you control your own insurance. Then purchase an occurrence policy from an” A” (AM Best Category insurer) insurer. By buying occurrence medical malpractice insurance, when you leave the hospitals employ, you will have built in tail.
Parting thoughts, it appears great to leave the pressure of private practice and go work for a hospital, but remember the above before handing your medical malpractice protection over to your new employer.