As the owner of a medical practice it is likely that you have a range of insurances in place to protect your practice and financial interests – everything from public liability insurance to cover for fire and theft.  If you are a medical practitioner you will also have in place your own medical indemnity insurance.

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It is likely your practice also relies on each of your employed doctors maintaining their own medical indemnity insurance to cover their professional liability.  Many practices ask their doctors to provide them with confirmation of their medical indemnity insurance cover each year to ensure their doctors are maintaining their cover.

Policy cover between insurers varies and you may need to consider what happens when a doctor either isn’t covered or has inadequate cover?

At law, your business is vicariously liable for the acts and omissions of its employees and this also applies to healthcare organisations.  This means that where an employee makes a mistake or provides incorrect advice, the employer may be held liable to pay compensation to a claimant.  For healthcare organisations, mistakes or incorrect advice can be dire for the patient and, as a result, compensation can be costly.

Consider the following scenario:

  • A doctor has been employed by your practice for the last three years and at all times he has maintained individual medical indemnity insurance
  • A patient who had been treated by the doctor makes a claim against the doctor and your practice
  • Subsequent to the lodgement of the claim, the doctor advises you that he is in dispute with his insurer and, as a result, his insurer may not indemnify him in relation to the claim
  • The dispute between the doctor and his insurer centres around non-disclosure concerns dating back to when the doctor first arranged his insurance.

In this instance your practice is now potentially exposed vicariously in relation to the claim made against the doctor.

Obviously it is not practical to be on top of the insurance arrangements of each of your employed doctors, the differences in each of their covers and the implications this might have for the way they practise, but you can protect your business.

Similar to your own medical indemnity insurance, MIGA’s Insurance for Healthcare Companies provides protection for the practice entity covering the legal and claims costs of defending your business and practice staff against any complaints or allegations made against them relating to the provision of medical service, treatment or advice.

Other resources

  1. Free e-book

    Professional indemnity insurance for healthcare businesses. Why it should be on your radar

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