The home health care community faces unique exposures requiring tailored insurance designed to address these risks. Following is a brief description of several key coverages and how each responds to the needs of the home health care industry.
Home Health Care Professional Liability
Home health care providers must adhere to a standard of performance in providing patient care. From providing personal daily care (such as bathing, feeding, grooming, etc.) to patients, to medication administration and equipment maintenance, among other services, home health care agencies face significant potential liability risks in the event something goes wrong. For example, a common claim from bathing patients is hot water burns. In administering patient medication, errors in dosage and timing can occur causing the patient physical harm. Equipment brought in to the home or recommended by the home healthcare provider may not work as expected and result in patient injury. A patient can suffer a serious fall while a home care aide is lifting him or her out of bed. Abuse and molestation exposures are also of concern when caring for the elderly. Of course, proper employee screening and training as well as risk management protocols should be put in place to protect both patients/clients and caregivers/employees.
Professional Liability insurance for home health care providers provides protection in the event of a lawsuit alleging errors, oversights or negligence on the part of their employees, contractors or volunteers while carrying out their services. The policy will typically pay for defense costs, settlements or court-ordered compensation, and other costs related to the claim (up to the policy limits).
General Liability insurance provides coverage for bodily injury, property damage, personal injury and advertising injury claims. The policy will pay for damage or injury to things owned by non-employees or clients. For example, let’s say a caregiver is preparing a meal for a patient and unintentionally sparks a grease fire in the kitchen causing property damage in the home. The damage to the property caused by the caregiver should be covered under a home health care provider’s General Liability policy.
Caregivers are at a greater risk for on-the-job accidents and illnesses than many other professions. For example, they can face trip hazards, back injuries while lifting and moving residents, musculoskeletal disorders, infections, toxins, and diseases, among other work-related injuries and illnesses. If a home health care employee is injured or becomes ill on the job, Workers Compensation insurance will provide coverage for eligible claims for medical bills and lost wages. Again, proper training of staff and loss prevention procedures should be in place to minimize injuries and claims.
Third-Party Crime Coverage
While employee background checks, reference checks and training all help to mitigate criminal activity by workers, the exposure still exits. Homecare workers often have access to cash, jewelry and other valuables in people’s homes that can be stolen. Third-party Crime insurance protects a home health care provider’s assets and reputation if a patient/client alleges that an employee stole their personal property.
Non-Owned and Hired Auto Insurance
Many home care professional employees/RNs and personal aides use their own vehicles to get to and from patients’ homes or to take patients to doctor appointments and on errands. If while “on the job” an employee causes an accident, Non-Owned and Hired Auto insurance will protect the home health care provider by helping to cover liability claims resulting from employee accidents. It’s important for clients to realize that in many cases the liability limits under an employee’s personal Auto policy will not be enough to cover a serious accident. The plaintiff will look to the home health care provider to step in and make up for the shortfall. Confirming adequate personal auto coverage for all employees that drive in the course of business is key.
Home health care providers and their workers have access to patients’ personal health information (PHI), which can end up in a hacker’s hands via a breach, malware, and other cyber-related exposures. This puts home health care providers at risk for significant costs without the proper protection. Cyber Liability insurance steps in to help cover the logistics and costs related to notifying breach victims; regulatory investigations, fines and penalties; and potential third-party liability.
Manchester Specialty Programs specializes in providing home health care providers with a portfolio of insurance coverages to address their unique exposures. For more information about our products, please contact us at 855.972.9399.