Medical Malpractice insurance. How much do I actually need ?



Medical Malpractice Insurance is a bespoke form of insurance specifically for Medical Practitioners which is tailored to cover a medical professional against claims of medical negligence.


This could be an act ,error or omission by a medical professional that deviates from the accepted standard of care which then results in damages.


With the world opening up now, post Covid ,more and more people are travelling so the likelihood is that we will be treating more and more international patients. We need to be aware that if we happen to have a claim concerning an international patient our cover in Rands may very well be insufficient especially if it is a sports person.


R2 500,000 is generally the minimal amount of cover offered by local companies. Due to our Rand being so weak this is only 125,000 Pounds or 156,250 US dollars which may sound a lot but with spiralling healthcare costs could potentially be woefully insufficient if this injured person requires hospitalisation / surgery or complicates due to his injury.


Some of the companies have realised that this R2.5m cover is potentially too low so as such have increased their minimum Malpractice cover to R5m as their minimal amount of cover It’s important that you examine your cover carefully and compare apples with apples. Some companies offer fairly low premiums but their excesses can be as much as R5000k and if you are unlucky to have another claim this excess may increase with each subsequent claim.These are all factors that need to be taken in to consideration when choosing your M.P.I.



What if I have a gap in cover?


Its imperative that there should be no gap in M.P.I. cover as a potential claim may fall in that gap and then you would not be entitled to be covered.



What are the implications if I move my Malpractice Insurer?


The most important point to understand is that there should be no gap in your cover in case of a claim falling within that gap period but if there is continuous cover then it will not be problematic but remember if your cover was R2.5 m at the time of your incident then that will be your insured amount incase of a claim.



What about public liability?


Do I need to have Public liability insurance as a Physiotherapist?



If you are a practice owner, the answer is yes definitely. Professional indemnity insurance covers claims made by clients for professional negligence or mistakes, whereas public liability insurance covers claims made by members of the public for injury or damage e.g someone trips and falls in your practice whilst entering and fractures his ankle then he would be covered by the public liability clause. Its important that whatever company you select for Medical Malpractice then this public liability is part of your cover.


What is run-off cover ?


Run off cover is a form of professional indemnity insurance that applies when a business or individual stops trading.


There are many reasons why a professional practice may come to an end including mergers, retirement ,or illness. Claims for losses caused by a negligent act can be possible against the medical professional after the business has ceased trading. Usually this run off cover runs for around 5-6 years but this is dependent on the particular company you have chosen for your Medical Malpractice Insurance.


What if my business entity changes?


A professionals duty to his patient does not end just because the business entity has ceased or altered. A Patient can claim against the professional long after the business has gone or changed.


How important is Patient Consent should I have a claim against me?


It cannot be stressed enough the importance of a signed consent with every patient before receiving Physiotherapy. This is a given but becomes even more important if a claim is lodged against you. It's absolutely vital you get consent. When you are asking for consent you should be explaining the potential risks to the patient ,if its not documented then its not done.



How good does my note keeping have to be ?


Well, consider this:

The average patient waits 16.5 months before filing a malpractice lawsuit


Note keeping has to be meticulous and detailed with every consult. This is general good practice for any Healthcare Practitioner. In the case of a malpractice claim you need to be aware that there is quite a delay in the patient making a claim against the practitioner

If there are scanty notes it will be to your detriment and may affect your case negatively.


iZandla members have the option of choosing Vanguard as their Medical Malpractice Insurer, we have negotiated a preferential rate for our members.


· 10 million in cover cover

· Public Liability included

· Some leniency permitted at renewal time

· No excess

· No excess on multiple claims

· No excess on dry needling claims

· Can pay annually or monthly by debit order

· Annual cost for iZandla members R2012

· For 2023, no increase in price from 2022

· Policy can be commenced at any time of the year


So what are you waiting for, join the fastest growing physiotherapy network in South Africa and get in touch today. Contact me.

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