Nurse Practitioners face a unique set of legal risks because they may frequently be named in a lawsuit also naming a physician. Some NPs make the mistake of assuming that if they are named in a malpractice lawsuit, their employer’s coverage will fully defend them or that only the physician is sued if something occurs during patient care. This is not always the case; NPs are named in malpractice suits as well, and employer policies have limitations.
It is important that Nurse Practitioners keep their own legal interests top of mind and have their own medical malpractice liability insurance in place to protect their personal finances and career. Research and case studies show there is a need for NPs to carry their own medical professional liability coverage that will protect their interests and career at all times, with their own dedicated policy limits.
Who is Defending You?
Having a Nurse Practitioner Malpractice insurance policy means that your own defense attorney is provided in the event of a claim and he/she looks after the interests of you alone. And, in the event a claim is filed, Nurse Practitioners who have their own medical malpractice policy find there is less of a conflict of interest with their employer.
Nurse Practitioners change policies from one insurance company to another each time they switch from their primary place of employment, which can cause serious “gaps” in protection because of differences in conditions of the various policies. Coverage gaps can also occur if a Nurse Practitioner is laid off and at this time coverage is typically cancelled for this provider. By purchasing individual insurance coverage, the policy will follow you through any job change and eliminate coverage gaps.
Shared vs. Separate Limits of Liability
With employer-provided coverage, limits are oftentimes shared with all defendants. That means that less coverage may be able to respond to a claim leveled against you. Purchasing an individual medical professional liability policy with separate limits of liability ensures your limits are there if and when you need them.
Multiple Offices and/or Consulting
Do you work for multiple physician offices, facilities or consult on the side of your regular full-time position? Your primary employer-provided policy will not cover these activities. Purchasing an individual medical professional liability policy means you, the Nurse Practitioner, own the policy and you select your own limits of liability to meet your type of practice and needs, to provide coverage to you even if you hold multiple positions or do consulting on the side.
Are you Covered Outside of the Office?
With employer-provided medical professional liability insurance, coverage is oftentimes limited to the services provided at that employer. A Nurse Practitioner typically has no coverage for incidents occurring outside of that particular employer. Purchasing an individual medical professional liability policy means you, the Nurse Practitioner, own the policy and you select your own limits of liability to meet your type of practice and needs, even if you hold multiple positions or do consulting on the side.
Ultimately, medical professional liability insurance is required for all healthcare providers. Beyond that, individual coverage can provide peace of mind especially for those who work for multiple employers or whose current coverages are inadequate. As with any insurance policy, the most important reason to have professional liability insurance is to protect your career and your family’s financial future. Just as you would not consider being without health or automobile insurance, you should not be without malpractice insurance.
For more information on portable medical malpractice insurance, visit www.MedEdge.com.