Malpractice Basics by Melissa Lockwood, DPM
For third year residents the idea of malpractice insurance coverage may feel overwhelming but it is just “one of those things” you must have as a practicing physician. Here are a few basics to help as you transition into practice.
Malpractice insurance coverage is maintained by the individual provider. Most states have certain minimums (for example a $1 million per incident/$3 million total claims coverage in my state!) that providers are required to carry – just like car or homeowners policies. It is critical to know who is paying for your coverage. Your employer, hospital, or group may provide reimbursement for malpractice as a benefit of employment.
It is important to ask what happens if or when you leave that particular position and who is responsible for maintaining coverage after employment termination. This is almost always YOU, but you may be able to pay special “tail coverage” at that particular employer for a certain amount of time after leaving in case a claim is filed against you.
Also, KNOW the company you are working with – don’t base your decisions solely on premium costs. Remember – you get what you pay for and sometimes when the premium is inexpensive, so is the actual coverage and help if you ever have a claim filed against you.
Bottom line is, do your homework, ask questions when offered employment and be a smart shopper so you are prepared and start your career on the right foot…so to speak.