Working in the healthcare industry exposes provider firms to various legal liabilities. From ensuring that a home care agency is in compliance with all state and federal requirements, to licensing the organization correctly, there are many factors to consider when initiating a start-up home care firm. This also includes obtaining financial protection with the appropriate insurance coverage.
Home care firm managers often worry about the cost of insurance, since typically premiums can be higher than in other types of health care organizations, according to small business resource Chron.com. Home care employees are often out of their employers’ supervision, and are entering patients’ homes in order to perform services, often without assistance. Insurance premiums will vary depending on the types and locations of services provided by a home care firm; the agency must ensure that they are procuring the right insurance limitsand scope of coverage they need. For example, professional nursing and companion care are two very different levels of service, each with their own related level of training, insurance risks and coverage needs.
This coverage protects home health care firms against third-party lawsuits arising from claims of bodily injury, property damage and personal injury claims. In a home environment, trip and fall hazards are often present even more than they would be in a traditional healthcare facility such as a hospital or medical office. This means that visitors and patients alike are exposed to potential injury while home care providers are on the job.
In the home care environment, professional liability insurance is also referred to as malpractice or errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. Malpractice/professional liability insurance safeguards the firm and the acts, errors or omissions of their employees against claims of negligence or harm brought by the patient they are tending to, or brought on by a family member. Even if these claims are unfounded, home care providers and their firms often find themselves facing legal defense costs, especially if they are required to pay a settlement.
Home care providers face avariety of work related injury risks. Great strides have been made in legislative, OSHA and industry efforts to improve health care worker safety, but health care providers still generally experience higher rates of musculoskeletal injuries in relation to manual patient handling and assistance. Practicing good ergonomics and obtaining appropriate training are both key in preventing these types of injuries, however they can and do still occur often. Since home care providers are also not under constant supervision and sometimes work solo, this coverage may even be more vital in this health care field.
Physical injury is not the only workers’ compensation risk home care providers face. These individuals are exposed to bloodborne pathogens, biological hazards, potential chemical and drug exposures, medical waste and more. While your clients must encourage safe practices among their workers to mitigate these risks, workers’ compensation will provide the financial backing and loss control/risk management needed to protect against and prevent losses.
Startup firms are often placed in the “state insurance pool” by their agents/brokers until they gain a couple of years of experience and develop an “experience modification factor” for their firm. They can then apply and qualify for traditional workers’ compensation coverage in the competitive marketplace.
At Manchester Specialty Programs, our comprehensive home health care industry insurance program includes the above mentioned coverages as well as Non-Owned and Hired Auto, Directors’ & Officers’ Liability (D&O), Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) and Regulatory Audit (RAC) Insurance Coverage. We have a long-term commitment to insuring the home health care industry, having begun to address the special insurance needs of this sector more than two decades ago. We can help start up firms and their insurance brokers navigate the coverage needs of a start up home health care business, and find the best fit for insurance coverage.
For more information about our programs and coverages, please contact us today at 855.972.9399.