Buying Insurance (Oh, No!)
A nationally syndicated advice column last week dealt with the issue of how to politely but decisively suppress any conversation with a talkative stranger (in a waiting room, or on a plane, etc.). One suggestion: tell the stranger that you sell insurance for a living.
Alas, we in the insurance business have heard this before. Insurance talk is boring and confusing at best, and depressing and scary at worst.
The reality is, however, that you do need medical professional liability insurance. It doesn’t simply fall into your lap; you need to go out and buy it. Permit me to chat BRIEFLY about buying professional liability insurance to protect yourself and your practice from allegations of negligence in the practice of medicine.
– Give yourself time to look at your options. In most states, there are several insurance companies offering professional liability coverage to physicians, and it’s wise to check out at least a couple of them (of course, one of the companies should be PRMS). We suggest you give yourself enough time to apply, pay the premium, and meet any renewal or credentialing obligations you have. We can process an application in a matter of days.
– Think about the reality of practicing psychiatry. It’s a low-risk specialty in both the frequency of suit (i.e., how often the average practitioner is sued) and severity (i.e., how large the damages are when the average practitioner is sued). Accordingly, you may find that companies that insure all specialties don’t have much experience dealing with the risks psychiatrists face, because they tend to focus their efforts on the specialists at the opposite end of the liability spectrum – obstetricians, neurosurgeons, orthopedists. For more than 25 years, PRMS has offered psychiatric-specific coverage.
– Insurance should be more than a policy that you drop-file and hope you never need to utilize. PRMS risk management services for our psychiatrists include publications, seminars, and the Risk Management Consultation Service (RMCS), all focused on psychiatry. We want to be a resource you can call on whenever you find yourself facing a new or challenging situation. For example:
– Should I terminate treatment of a chronically non-adherent patient? How do I do it?
– What should I consider before committing to a particular electronic health record system?
– My patient wants me to testify on his behalf in a lawsuit against his employer – are there any risks in that?
– Buy enough insurance, but not too much. How much is enough? This may be dictated by the health insurance panels you belong to, or the hospitals where you maintain privileges. Some states make the decision for you, requiring certain minimum limits of liability coverage. How much is too much? We can help you with this decision. The reality is, most psychiatrists still feel adequately protected carrying a policy that provides $1 million coverage for any one claim, and $3 million for all claims arising under their policy. We will be happy to discuss the details with you.
One more thing – we promise not to talk about any of this should we find ourselves sitting next to you on a plane.