What Pathologists should know when Shopping for Malpractice Insurance Coverage

Pathology is generally not considered to be a high liability specialty, yet indemnity rulings against pathologists are more severe than the physician wide average. Medical malpractice insurance offers financial protection from potential malpractice lawsuits.

Unique Malpractice Insurance Considerations Pathology presents unique challenges in the areas of medical malpractice and risk management. Because of the nature of the specialty in the U.S., it is rare for pathologists to communicate and develop relationships with the patients whose diseases they are diagnosing in laboratories. Patient communication and medical documentation are two risk mitigators that pathologists should implement in addition to medical malpractice coverage. 

Patient Communication

In most specialties, some of the most effective tools to minimize the risk of being sued are effective communication and maintaining personal relationships with patients. Since pathologists are limited in this respect, they should be doubly careful to provide considerate treatment to patients whenever they do have contact with them-for example, when patients are getting blood drawn in a laboratory overseen by a pathologist. 

Medical Documentation 

In addition to using effective communication and courteous treatment of patients, pathologists can manage their risk by maintaining thorough, fastidious documentation of all cases. It is a good idea to record the thought processes behind diagnoses, and the factors that led to the elimination of alternative diagnoses. In the event of a lawsuit, lack of proper documentation can be devastating for physicians, while clear records can be vindicating. Also, pathologists who work as part of a medical group should take advantage of the opportunity to consult with other specialists in the group on challenging cases. For solo pathologists, arrangements can be made with nearby pathologists to work together. Records of this type of consultation bolster a physician’s defense against a malpractice suit. Similarly, outside consultation with experts in the field can be a good idea in cases that present unusual difficulties.

Common Causes of Malpractice Lawsuits Against Pathologists 

The most common causes of malpractice lawsuits against pathologists fall into one of two categories, mistreatment and misdiagnosis. Mistreatment involves improper actions in dealing with patients, treating them discourteously or disrespectfully. Most malpractice suits in pathology involve misdiagnosis, as pathology is mostly concerned with diagnosing diseases. The most common misdiagnosis leading to lawsuits include malignant melanoma, breast cancer and prostate cancer.

When a pathologist discovers a misdiagnosis,they should immediately notify the patient’s clinician,and take a direct part in informing the patient. By addressing the misdiagnosis directly and honestly, doctors can minimize their risk of the  patient feeling angry and personally wronged, which often results in a lawsuit. Complete honesty with patients is the best policy. Remember that expressing concern for a patient after a misdiagnosis is in no way an admission of malpractice.

Pathologist Medical Malpractice Insurance Cost 

Premiums for pathologists seeking medical malpractice insurance vary widely based on the location of the practice. Premiums for pathologist professional liability insurance have been steadily increasing and can be high in some areas. 

Pathologists who are concerned about the upward trend in liability insurance premiums can get involved in efforts to enact tort reform, measures to stabilize the volatile malpractice environment. States that have enacted tort reform, like Texas, have seen a marked stabilization in their medical malpractice insurance rates.

Save Money by Working with a Malpractice Insurance Agent

You can save money on your medical malpractice insurance by working with an insurance agent or broker. Brokers shop for the best available policies to determine which ones are best suited for your unique needs at the lowest cost. In the medical malpractice insurance industry, agent commissions are already built into your premium. You pay the same amount for coverage whether you use an agent or purchase directly from the insurance company. Let us be your advocate. Request your free medical malpractice insurance quote now.

Why Pathologists Choose Cunningham Group

Pathologists choose Cunningham Group because we are one of the few medical malpractice insurance agencies that take the time to understand your specific employment situation and your approach to patient care. With access to every major medical malpractice insurance company in every state, our team is uniquely qualified to get you the best coverage at the most affordable price. Most agents only have access to one or two medical malpractice insurance companies. Our almost-universal access lets us shop your coverage among nearly every available company, which means malpractice insurers compete for your business.

During the insurance application process, be sure to ask your medical malpractice insurance agent about any discounts you may be eligible for. Are you “new to practice?” Are you working less than full-time? Are you interested in taking an online risk management course offered by the insurance company to lower your rates? Cunningham Group has helped thousands of functional medicine physicians maximize their savings.

How Does the Process Work?

  1. You will submit your information through a secure medical malpractice insurance quote form.
  2. You can always call us and speak to an agent immediately.
  3. A veteran medical malpractice insurance broker will be assigned to you.
  4. We shop your Pathologists Insurance to every major malpractice insurance company in your state.
  5. Your agent will take the time and go over all of your options with you, explaining everything to make certain you make the right decision.
  6. We get you your insurance policy at the best price with a major insurance company.
  7. At renewal time: We start the shopping process all over again, getting you quotes from all the major malpractice insurance companies to again make certain you’re properly priced.

Request your free medical malpractice insurance quote and learn why more people choose us over anyone else in the nation.

Important Resources for Pathologists

Modern Pathology
The American Board of Pathology
American Society for Clinical Pathology
Digital Pathology Association
American Society for Investigative Pathology
Pathology Outlines