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|Professional Liability Insurance|
Professional Liability Insurance for Errors and Omissions
Many people do not fully understand the reasons for which an individual healthcare documentation specialist or a transcription service might choose to purchase professional liability insurance, often referred to as E&O or errors and omissions insurance.
Those who have voiced objections to the purchase of such insurance most often use as their justification the statement that no healthcare documentation specialist has ever been sued because the document he or she transcribed was found to be incorrect. The perception is that once a transcribed document is signed, the responsibility lies completely with the dictator, rather than with the individual who transcribed the dictation. This may or may not be true, depending on the circumstances of each case and the application of the law. As HDSs make the transition in the eyes of the public from clerical workers to professionals, and as more HDSs become self-employed, the risk of being held legally accountable for transcription errors increases. Moreover, the risk of liability for errors is not the only reason for our suggestion that AHDI members consider professional liability coverage.
There are other reasons for considering the purchase of professional liability insurance, and it is for these reasons that some healthcare clients are requiring that transcription contractors, whether multi-employee services or home-based sole proprietors, show evidence that they carry this type of insurance.
Consider the following scenarios
Preposterous, you say? So did the HDSs who were involved in incidents similar to the ones mentioned above.
We live in a litigious society. No longer does a simple "I'm sorry" serve to relieve us of responsibility assigned to us by someone wanting to place blame or shift the burden of liability from their own shoulders to ours. The wise business owner will be prepared for the unexpected.
AHDI first became interested in researching vendors for professional liability insurance when we began to receive calls from transcription services and independent contractors who were being asked (and in some instances required) to provide this insurance as a condition of their contracts with healthcare clients.
In 1993 the AHDI House of Delegates chose to respond to members' concerns by appointing a task force to research the availability of professional liability insurance, keeping in mind the necessity for selecting a vendor who could provide coverage at a reasonable cost.
Many AHDI members stated they were unable to locate professional liability insurance; others complained that policies, when available, were extraordinarily expensive. (A few mentioned quotes in the thousands of dollars.) Months of research went into locating the vendor who agreed to carry professional liability insurance at a reasonable group rate for AHDI members. The selection of a vendor was announced in 1995.
Make an informed decision
Is professional liability insurance necessary for healthcare documentation specialists? A good many of our members evidently feel it is, because they requested that we make it available. AHDI believes such coverage should be a consideration for every HDS who carries an individual or company responsibility for confidential patient information.
AHDI suggests that you discuss the question of liability coverage with your financial and/or legal advisor, rather than making a decision based on our recommendations or those of others who may be relying on anecdotal information and are not in a position to assess the requirements of your business. You may even want to do some comparison shopping to assure yourself that the coverage offered by the vendor AHDI has selected represents the best value for you. In addition, you may have to educate those who assume you are seeking coverage only for mistakes you might make in the reports you transcribe. Most people do not understand the many facets of a medical transcription business.
For information about the professional liability insurance available to members of AHDI, please download the brochure for information.