Home Health Care Workforce Covers A Broad Range of Occupations

In an article last month, we discussed how the health care sector is the largest source of jobs in the United States, with the Department of Labor projecting that of the 10 jobs to experience the fastest percentage growth in the next decade, five are in health care and elderly assistance. Having insight into the different types of health care workers and their responsibilities helps insurance agents and brokers better understand the risks involved in an operation, particularly relevant in determining how to best insure an organization for Professional Liability, Workers’ Compensation, Directors & Officers Liability and Employment Practices Liability, Cyber Liability and other coverages.

A home health care organization, depending on its size, may employ an Executive Director, Director of Hospice (if applicable), COO/Program Director, and other management positions responsible for planning and overall administration as well as administering, directing and coordinating activities. Often these individuals serve on the entity’s Board of Directors and have a fiduciary responsible to the organization, exposing them to allegations involving everything from mismanagement of funds to employee discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination and other management liability risks.  It’s important to understand each role and to discuss the exposures that a director faces so the organization is clear about the need for D&O and EPLI insurance.

Other employees include marketing and account executives, HR and accounting staff, office managers, IT personnel, and technicians for maintenance of DME equipment. Those overseeing patient care include case managers, supervisors and medical directors, with individuals on the front line taking care of home health care patients involving everyone from occupational therapists; physical therapists; speech/language pathologists; RNs; nurse practitioners; registered clinical dieticians; social workers; and home care aides. Some home care aides provide non-medically directed personal care; others like CNAs provide personal care services under a medically supervised plan of care, while others assist with housekeeping and homemaking services. All the services provided by the varied staff present varying degrees of professional liability exposures for the organization. Professional liability-related allegations against the entity can include failure to monitor a patient’s condition, improperly communicating with the patient about his or her medical doses, failure to maintain equipment, improper termination of patient service or abandonment, and allegations of abuse or molestation, among others.

In addition, with so many individuals having access to a patient’s protected health information  (PHI), data compromise is a great concern for home health care providers. In the event of a data breach, an organization will be responsible for the costs involved in notifying clients, vetting the cause of the breach, a potential HIPAA regulatory investigation and penalties and liability settlements to third parties if financial damage is found.

There are many more types of employees under the umbrella of home health care including hourly-paid workers and volunteers. It’s important to understand the role of each position when reviewing an organization’s insurance program and the breadth and depth of coverage required.

About Manchester Specialty

Manchester Specialty provides a total business insurance solution for home care firms, including home health care, companion care, visiting nurse associations (VNAs) and in-home hospice providers. We can help you provide the following insurance lines to your clients: General Liability, Professional Liability, Workers’ Compensation, Management Liability, Cyber Liability and Non-Owned & Hired Auto insurance, among other key coverages. For more information about how we can help you protect your insureds, please contact us at 855.972.9399.