Medical malpractice insurance for hospitals is an extremely complex and important part of every hospital throughout the country. The medical field has become extremely litigious over the past several decades causing hospitals to pay extremely high premiums to protect the hospital and all of its employees. Medical error is unavoidable as are frivolous lawsuits.
Hospital medical malpractice insurance can cost small hospitals several hundred thousand dollars per year in medical malpractice insurance premiums, all the way up to several million per year depending on the size of the hospital and the county where the hospital is located. Hospitals carry medical liability insurance to cover all areas of the hospital including OB/GYN’s and the delivery unit, the radiology department, NICU, PICU, Cardiology, Critical care, operating rooms. They also need to cover all of the nursing staff, social workers, medical assistants, physical therapy, occupational therapy and other employees that deliver medical care, under their hospital medical malpractice insurance policy.
Due to the deep pockets theory, hospitals carry much higher limits of liability than typical physician malpractice insurance policies. It is common for hospitals to carry a $1,000,000 limit of liability per claim and then have an excess medical malpractice insurance policy that will cover at much higher limits. Larger hospitals and hospital chains will carry excess limits of liability as high as $50,000,000. Hospitals see a large volume of patients causing them to have a significantly higher medical malpractice liability than the average physician. Hospitals shield themselves as much as possible from physician liability by requiring all physicians with hospital privileges to prove they have medical malpractice insurance in place requiring them to give the medical staff office a copy of their certificate of insurance for that physician’s individual medical malpractice insurance.
Basics for the Various Types of Hospitals
There are five generally recognized categories of hospitals:
A hospital is a facility supplying specialized staff and equipment to meet the health care needs of the surrounding population. Hospital funding is provided by a variety of sources, including: for-profit and non-profit health care organizations, health insurance companies, religious orders, and charities. Some hospitals have the unique ability to allow both “inpatients” and “outpatients”. Depending upon a patient’s need after their diagnosis, treatment, surgery, or therapy, they may be required to stay overnight for further observation or recovery. Hospitals that do not have overnight patients are usually referred to as ‘clinics.’
The district hospital is the central health care facility within it’s geographical region. District hospitals have a large capacity for intensive care and long-term care. Specialized centers for surgery, plastic surgery, obstetrics, and laboratories will also be available.
There are various types of specialized hospitals such as, trauma centers, rehabilitation hospitals, children’s hospitals, geriatric hospitals, psychiatric hospitals. In addition, there are specialty specific hospitals for cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, etc. These specialty hospitals are typically part of a large hospital or hospital network. They are often located on the hospital campus or nearby.
Some hospitals are affiliated with a university, college, medical school, or nursing school and offer health care to patients while teaching medical students, physicians, surgeons, and nurses. Teaching hospitals are unique in that they employ physician residents who are in training and work hand in hand with local medical schools. The physician residents are overseen by chief medical residents as well as department chairs of the various medical specialties.
Clinics generally provide outpatient care only and are smaller than a typical hospital. Clinics are usually operated by a government health agency or a partnership of private physicians and/or surgeons.
There are many departments that can be found within a hospital or clinic, including trauma centers, burn centers, emergency departments, surgery, wound care, or urgent care. There may be outpatient departments such has psychiatric health, physical therapy, dentistry, and rehabilitation. Also, specialized units of equipment, physicians and nurses will support the various departments with expertise or functionality in cardiology, obstetrics and gynecology, oncology, intensive care, neurology, pathology, and radiology.
Hospital medical malpractice insurance takes a skilled medical liability insurance consultant to help determine the appropriate coverage. There are many facets of the coverage that need to be examined to be sure that all areas of medical liability are properly covered.