Is your practice part of the new wave of multi-disciplinary practices springing up around Australia?

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There seems to be a growing trend for medical practices to offer a mix of complimentary services ranging from nurse practitioners and physiotherapy to dietitians and dentistry. There are many benefits to offering complementary services within a practice both for patients and from a business perspective. Convenience is a key benefit for patients and referrals across the different practitioners makes good business sense for the practice.

We see some variation in the legal and business structures that support multi-disciplinary practices. In some cases the professionals may be employed by the business, but more often it is a case of co-habitation, where the various professionals share a location, perhaps renting rooms from the business holding the lease on the premises.

If you own or run a practice it is important to understand that these arrangements present insurance implications for the various practices or professions that make up a multi-disciplinary practice. The risks largely stem from:

  • The grouping of different types of practitioners and their individual professional indemnity insurance arrangements
  • Sharing services and staff, such as reception and administration
  • Ownership and employment arrangements which may result in complex legal and business structures.

From a professional indemnity perspective, the varying requirements to hold insurance and the policy covers available to different types of practitioners make it extremely important that you review your professional indemnity arrangements and consider a policy that protects the practice entity and staff.

In the absence of its own insurance, if the business is the subject of a claim, it will need to fund its own legal defence and the cost of any compensation. In many instances this means the business owner(s) will have to meet the costs.

Depending on the nature of the claim these costs can be significant and have the capacity to place the business in financial difficulty or require the owner(s) to liquidate personal assets.

We have assisted many practices to review their existing practice insurance arrangements and their need for practice professional indemnity cover. We have also produced a free e-book to help you understand the types of risk facing your practice which can be downloaded from our website.

If you would like assistance reviewing your current arrangements or if you are setting up a new practice we would be very happy to advise and assist you and we encourage you call us and tap into our insurance expertise.

Other resources

  1. Professional indemnity insurance for healthcare businesses

    Why it should be on your radar.

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