Surgery Center Professional Liability Coverage

Surgeon Looking at Monitor Today, let’s discuss surgery center professional liability coverage. Over the past decade, the growth in outpatient surgery centers has been phenomenal. These centers typically provide a wide range of services, and have evolved into a competitive option vs. the local hospitals.

Surgery center professional liability coverage is just starting to evolve, as more and more options are becoming available. Unlike the hospital med mal market, which is typically controlled by one or two very large insurance companies, surgery centers, depending on the state, can have dozens of options.

Different Types and Sizes of Surgery Centers. Because surgery centers’ size and the procedures performed can vary greatly, the cost of surgery center professional liability coverage varies, too. Most surgery center professional liability policies are set up so that the main policy covers the corporate entity and the mid-level employees on a shared-limits basis, whereas the surgeons and physicians usually have their own coverage with their own limits. In some cases, like in a rural area with limited options, sometimes the policy will include everyone, including physicians and surgeons, on one policy.

Since surgery center professional liability coverage and policy features vary from state to state, it is important for a physician working at a surgery center to know and understand his or her various policy features and policy limits. For instance, the state of Florida typically has limits of $250,000 per claim/$750,000 aggregate. However, a surgeon working at a surgery center as an independent contractor, or even as a W-2 employee, may want to consider having higher limits. We are typically cautious about advising physicians and surgeons to have higher limits. Like most doctors, we worry that this may be seen as a reason to sue a physician or surgeon because there is more to gain. But, when there is a situation like an independent surgery center, it is better to be safe then sorry because surgical errors can be extremely costly.

One Final Note. If you are a physician or surgeon moonlighting and/or freelancing at a surgery center in addition to another position, depending on your state and insurance company, you may not be covered for your separate surgery center duties/responsibilities. Always be sure to check that coverage is in place and that all of the employees you are working with, like CRNAs, nurse practitioners, and PAs, have their coverage in place, too. Never assume that one insurance policy can cover more than one position.

If you are in need of surgery center professional liability coverage, contact us.

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