What Anesthesiologists Need to Know
Today’s anesthesiologist is responsible for more than simply managing a patient’s pain and stability during medical procedures. The trend in the specialty now sees anesthesiologists involved in the entire treatment process. Anesthesiologists work closely with many other types of physicians, including intensive care medicine and emergency medicine. There are three established subspecialties for anesthesiologists: Critical Care Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine as well as Pain Medicine.
According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), the majority of anesthesiologists carry policies with $1M/$3M limits (meaning that the insurance company will pay a maximum of $1 million for a given claim and a maximum of $3 million in total for all claims in a given policy period). According to the same survey, premiums for malpractice insurance in anesthesiology have stabilized in the last several years. In 2007, the most recent year for which complete data is available, anesthesiologists paid an average of $23,481 for a mature, claims-made policy with limits of $1M/$3M.
For those focusing on the subspecialty of chronic or acute pain management, malpractice premiums will be somewhat higher. In the ASA survey, about one third of the insurance companies surveyed charged a higher premium to anesthesiologists specializing in chronic pain management, especially those who perform invasive procedures. These higher premiums are a reflection of the increased risk assumed by doctors who specialize in pain management.
Premiums for anesthesiologists are kept stable in part by impressive efforts by the specialty to advance patient safety. A concerted effort to find the causes of mortality in anesthesia procedures and mitigate them with education has been spearheaded by professional organizations. This effort, led by the ASA, has resulted in more than 30 established standards and guidelines promoting patient safety for anesthesiologists.
Physicians in the specialty should follow the most current patient safety and risk management practices, and take care to educate themselves about new developments. To further stabilize medical liability premiums for their specialty, anesthesiologists should also support the efforts of their professional organization as well as communicate with their state and local politicians to advance the cause of tort reform. To contact any of these valuable resources, take a look at the list below.
Request your free anesthesiologist Medical Malpractice Insurance Quote today.
This write-up for Anesthesiologists was put together by Michael Matray, the Editor of the Medical Liability Monitor