The home healthcare industry is made up of various agencies and franchises that provide different services including skilled nursing care, personal care, homemaker and companion services, physical therapy and other support services and in-home hospice care providers. A critical component of any comprehensive insurance program to protect against liability risks is making sure Professional Liability insurance is included.
As we discussed in a previous blog, with increasingly more people wanting to age at home and the advent of technology advances, the home healthcare industry is growing at a rapid pace. But along with this growth comes some very real professional liability exposures that should be addressed with proper coverage. Everything from patient strokes to falling down, passing out, or doing something else while under a home health care provider’s watch can quickly turn into something the individual and agency is blamed for, even if not directly responsible. Also, unfortunately, accusations (both real and false) of patient abuse can often turn into a “he said, she said” situation that may end unfairly.
In addition, there are other professional liability risks home healthcare providers face including:
- Failure to monitor. This is at the top of allegations made against providers, and often as a result of a lack of coordination among providers, which could inhibit a timely response to potentially dangerous changes in the patient’s condition.
- Failure of telemonitoring equipment, which allows remote tracking of cardiac readings, uterine contractions, sleep disorders, and other conditions. If equipment is not properly working and a patient doesn’t have the ability to take care of him or herself, this could result in liability on the part of the provider.
- Lack of communication with the patient about care needs can result in noncompliance, a worsening medical condition and a possible negligent health education claim.
- Failure to maintain equipment, including monitoring systems, indwelling catheters and tracheal tubes, which are now available for home use.
- Improper termination of services. Vaguely worded home healthcare contracts may result in unexpected service stoppages, leading in turn to claims of improper termination or abandonment.
Professional Liability insurance when properly designed can help transfer the risks associated with home healthcare services. Caitlin Morgan provides tailor-made Professional Liability coverage on a claims-made or occurrence basis. Our form also includes automatic additional insured status for management companies, franchisors and vendor managers; affirmative property damage; defense outside of the limit (capped). Optional coverages are available to add a sublimit for first-party billing errors and incentivized zero dollar deductible.
In addition, to mitigate the risks involving professional liability exposures, there are many risk management measures that should be implemented. We will be covering some of these measures in a future blog article. For more information about our home healthcare Professional Liability insurance program, please contact us at 877.226.1027.