Home Health Care Liability

Elderly patient with Nurse Home health care practices have a lot more variables than typical practices and, as a result, they can be more complicated to insure. They come in varying combinations of providers, scope and size, and involve transportation and complications related to home environments. When talking with our home health care agencies and providers, we often have to explain the many situations that they need to be covered for and what type of insurance covers those situations. Specifically, every home health care provider should know what general liability insurance covers, and what professional liability insurance covers –and what they don’t cover, and what insurance products they should consider adding on to these policies. Owners and those in leadership positions of home health care agencies should know about and have D & O insurance, as well.

Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance covers practitioners for the medical care they provide. This insurance coverage protects practitioners against charges of medical malpractice.

General Liability
General liability insurance coverage is more broad in nature. It covers practitioners for some liabilities that they are exposed to that aren’t related to the services they provide. So, this insurance covers a practitioner for risks beyond professional liability and could include things like: slips and falls by the practitioner (in this situation, the practitioner may also be covered under the homeowner’s policy, FYI) and/or damage that a practitioner may accidentally do to a home. Practitioners should never assume that this kind of insurance covers all remaining forms of liability. (In other words, do not assume that general liability insurance covers everything that your medical malpractice insurance does not.) There are several specific situations that home health care practitioners need covered that are not covered by general liability insurance.

Other Liability Concerns
One of the greatest risks a home health care practitioner faces is charges of sexual assault. This specific kind of liability most often needs a separate kind of policy coverage, called EPLI (employee practices liability insurance).

Another significant risk for home health care practitioners involves driving company-owned cars or driving their own car. If driving a company car, every home health care employee should make sure that the agency has non-owned auto insurance (and that the practitioner has been added to the policy!). If an employee is driving his or her own car, he or she should make sure that he or she has appropriate insurance.

Using a third-party home health monitoring software &/or hardware is a new and growing risk that we are seeing. Practices need to mention the use of this kind of contracted hardware/software/products because, often, it may be necessary to add additional coverage for data breaches, HIPPA violations and malfunctioning products. Again, it should not be assumed that this is covered under general liability insurance and/or that a current general liability policy is adequate for the coverage you may need. Often, we see coverage for data breaches and HIPAA violations in general liability policies, but the levels are extremely low and would not properly protect a practice should a major violation or malfunction take place.

Finally, the owners, board members, directors, and officers (and the like) should always get D & O (Directors’ & Officers’) Insurance. This type of insurance protects these parties in the event that a claim is made against their company.

Never assume that all of your insurance needs are covered with a blanket, basic policy. Let your insurance agent knows all of the ins-and-outs of your company and what makes your practice unique. This way, you can get the coverage you need.

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