The healthcare industry faces professional liability daily and must understand how to care for millions of patients. Among the typical challenges inherent in medical care is the knowledge that a mistake or oversight can result in potentially devastating results. With the life-or-death scenarios that are a part of the daily routine of healthcare, professional liability takes on a much more severe level of importance. 

Professional Liability in the Healthcare Industry

Healthcare providers face an increased risk of professional liability lawsuits. Patients with significant illnesses and geriatric patients face higher risks of issues, but the possibility of negligence, malpractice, and wrongful death suits is always possible. The following issues are the top reasons for liability lawsuits in the healthcare industry.

Telehealth Misdiagnosis

The popularity of telehealth following the COVID pandemic has brought many benefits to healthcare but also carries some challenges. Telehealth visits rely on patients for accurate and complete communication, with omissions regarding pre-existing conditions and inaccuracies in descriptions of physical symptoms impacting the accuracy of the diagnosis. It opens telehealth providers up to professional liability claims.

Workplace Violence

The emotions surrounding the healthcare industry can result in workplace violence. Studies show that healthcare employees are subject to harassment and physical or emotional abuse at a rate of more than two per hour. Employees in the healthcare industry are also five times more likely to sustain injury than workers in other professions.

Workplace Injury

Slip and fall claims are a serious threat to healthcare organizations, especially in senior care centers, with 28% of adults over 65 reporting a fall yearly. With shortages in staff continuing to be an issue for healthcare facilities, the risk of falls is even more significant.

Professional Liability Claims

Professional liability claims are more likely to occur than most people might believe. The AMA’s 2016-2022 Physician Practice Benchmark Survey indicates that 31% of physicians reported being sued at least once during their careers. The financial loss of these suits equates to around $180,000 per claim. Labor and delivery professionals have the highest financial risk, with average claims topping $400,000.

Professional Liability Insurance

The need for professional liability in the healthcare industry is evident due to the high stakes involved and the inherent risk of injury or even death to patients due to mistakes or oversights. This insurance policy is a worthwhile investment for healthcare professionals, as the potential for a devastating nuclear verdict is high in today’s increasingly litigious society. Professional liability coverage protects the following areas:

  • Accusations of negligence
  • Biomedical defense
  • Defense of professional license
  • Faulty advice that resulted in harm
  • HIPAA defense
  • Oversights or mistakes
  • Sexual harassment or misconduct
  • Telemedicine coverage

Costs of Professional Liability Coverage

The cost of a professional liability policy is minimal compared to the risk of a lawsuit. Several factors influence the cost of premiums, including the following:

  • Annual revenue
  • Location of facility
  • Number of employees
  • Type of services offered
  • Value of medical equipment and related property