Category Archives: Dental Malpractice Insurance

What is Informed Consent?

 

 

Informed consent to treatment is based on the right of each person to determine what will be done to their own body.  Informed consent guarantees each person the right to refuse treatment, to consent to treatment and to withdraw consent to treatment.

Consent may be either implied or expressed.  Implied consent is usually ascertained by the actions of the patient, as with the patient who sits in your dental chair and opens their mouth. Express consent may be oral or written.

Informed consent is not an event or specific form.  Rather it is an ongoing dialogue with your patient that begins at the first visit to the office and continues as treatment progresses.

Implied consent may be sufficient if the patient voluntarily comes to the dental office or a simple examinations or non-invasive procedures poses no risk of harm to the patient.

Expressed consent should be obtained when the procedure is beyond a simple examination or procedure.

Knowing when informed consent is necessary and obtaining it is an important part of every dental practice.  The following are some guidelines to follow:

  • Know when informed consent is necessary.  Check your state laws or with your dental society.  Most states allow patients age 18 and older to give their informed consent.
  • Provide all basic information to the patient.  Thoroughly explain your diagnosis, the nature, purpose and expected outcomes, risks and consequences, alternative treatments and prognosis.
  • Elicit questions from patient to assure understanding.  Address anything which you feel will lead to a misunderstanding.  Give the patient a written list of all major risks of treatment.  Never guarantee a result or safe outcome.  With the patient’s permission, get a family member to participate.  Although both oral consent and written consent are legally acceptable, oral consent should be confirmed in writing where risks are significant.
  • Document the consent in the patient’s file.  When written consent is necessary, try to use a form that is written at an 8th to 10th grade level.  Give the patient a copy of the form.
  • Always make sure that the patient has consented to the procedure or examination.

Insurance Innovations has partnered with an experience managing company to provide online quoting and applications for Dental Professional Liability Insurance to deliver quick and convenient service.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

GET AN ONLINE QUOTE TODAY!

All contents provided here are for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.  Always consult your legal counselor or advisor as to the suitability of using this information in your business or practice. 

The Importance of Patient Confidentiality in your Dental Practice

 

 

 

 

Patient confidentiality is extremely important for a dental care provider to maintain.  Patients expect that the health care professional will respect the confidentiality of information acquired in the course of providing health care.

 

Liability for disclosure can be based on the following:

  • Defamation-information that is untrue or harmful to the patient’s reputation:
  • Invasion of privacy-information that is true, however disclosure violates legal right to privacy; disclosure causes harm to reputation or status and may result in embarrassment and/or mental anguish

You can minimize your exposure to patient confidentiality liability by:

  • Clarifying your own confidentiality procedures and record them for yourself and your office staff (including receptionists).  Patients have a right to expect that communications given to a dental care provider be kept in confidence.  These procedures should include adopting a written office policy on confidentiality, discouraging office gossip, and be selective about which staff have knowledge of or access to sensitive patient information.
  • Advise your patients of your confidentiality procedures by giving all new patients a written outline of your procedures.
  • Be careful when responding to requests for information about a patient.  If served with a subpoena or other legal request, check with your attorney prior to complying.  Get your patient’s written permission before sharing any information with a referring dentist. If the insurance company requests information, get written permission from the patient first. If the insurance company asks for a copy of the patient’s chart for reimbursement purposes, send them only a summary of the visit.  If the patient’s account is sent to collection, give them only the patient’s name and the amount owed.
  • Use discretion when talking with family members.  Parents of minors do have a legal right to information.  You can provide information to a non-custodial parent with written consent from the custodial parent.

Insurance Innovations

Since 1999, Insurance Innovations has worked to find medical professionals the best and most affordable Professional Liability Policies available.  Not all dental practices are the same and neither are all Dental Malpractice Insurance Policies.  We partner with leading insurance carriers to find you a policy that meets your needs and your budget.

Click Here for an Instant Quote or contact Insurance Innovations today for your insurance needs.  Our experienced staff will be glad to answer your questions and give you more information so that you can choose just the right Dental Malpractice Policy.

 

All contents provided here are for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.  Always consult your legal counselor or advisor as to the suitability of using this information in your business or practice. 

 

Good Dental Office Communication is necessary

 

 

Clear and frequent communication between the dentist and their staff is essential from a risk management perspective.  You should establish communication procedures that promote efficient transmittal of information and prevent messages that can be overlooked or misinterpreted. You want to create an atmosphere in which your staff is quick to request clarification from you if they did not understand your instructions. It is important to identify the needs of your staff and communicate your needs.  A scheduled regular office staff meeting improves communications and resolves problems.

It’s important to dental office communications to have good telephone communications.

Phone calls to your office are the patient’s first contact with your practice and create their initial impression of the dentist.  Below are some points to communicate to your staff.

  • Instruct your staff to never diagnose or prescribe medications over the telephone.
  • Remind your staff to act well within their professional boundaries.
  • Information such as patients visits, who handled the treatment, and services rendered should only be given out to the patient.
  • For good dental office communication you should create written priority list for how phone calls are to be handled.  When a call should be put through immediately to you i.e. emergencies (both when you’re in the office and when you’re out of the office) and calls from other dentists. You can instruct your staff that non-emergencies, routine prescriptions and non urgent patient reports can be returned when you have time.  Most of the time your staff should be able to handle calls regarding patient appointments, insurance claim questions, fees or billing questions, and satisfactory patient progress reports.
  • It is best if you rehearse common scenarios with your staff like some frequently asked questions.  Your staff should be instructed to avoid putting a patient on hold or try to make sure their hold time is short.  You can teach your employees to listen and make sure they never come across as bored or annoyed.  Let the patient describe the situation they are calling about and when they take a message – it should be detailed and precise.
  • Always provide the basic tools, telephone log and message pads with a place for the date, time,  phone number of caller, name of patient, and nature of the call.  Let your staff know what constitutes an emergency –  i.e toothache, chipped or broken tooth, knocked out tooth, etc.
  • A list of frequently needed telephone numbers should be easy to find such as hospitals, referring dentists, pharmacies and a contact number of where you can be reached.  You should make sure you have a private intercom system or hold button to allow your staff to speak with you in private without the caller or others overhearing.

CLICK HERE for an instant quote for your dental professional liability insurance.                                                     Or CONTACT US at 888-871-9096 Ext 5193.

All contents provided here are for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.  Always consult your legal counselor or advisor as to the suitability of using this information in your business or practice.

 

 

 

Dental Record Documentation

 

The purpose of the dental record is to document a patient’s medical history, describe the conditions requiring treatment, delineate the treatment options given to the patient, and record the treatment rendered details.  Your dental records should reflect the high quality of care you give your patients.

 

 

 

When maintaining proper dental record documentation, you should do the following:

  • Record the patient’s name on each page of the chart.
  • Document all contacts with the patient.  Include all telephone calls and all services rendered. Always document all prescription refills.
  • Chart the complete date (day, month, and year) on each chart entry. Initial and date each chart entry.
  • Use black ink.  It is best for photocopying purposes.
  • Write Legibly.  Print each chart entry.
  • Chart all information immediately-a delay can lead to inaccuracies.
  • Describe early in each entry, mode of contact-i.e. phone call, visit, hospital rounds, reason for contact, procedures done, or information/advice given, outcome of contact and follow up taken.
  • Fill in every blank, record negatives as well as positives.
  • Use only standard abbreviations.
  • Chart precise amounts.
  • Correct any error or mistake in charting by drawing a single line through the incorrect portion, then initial and date the correction.
  • Identify, date, and sign any additions or correction.
  • Record consultations or referral to other practitioners.
  • Record missed appointments.
  • Record an emergency contact and mechanism for the patient and next of kin.

Maintaining accurate dental records is important to risk management:

Legal actions can take two to three years before they are heard in court – thus making the patient’s chart a reliable record of the patient’s care.  If a legal action is a nuisance claim, accurate documentation can result in the dismissal of a nuisance claim.

Click her for an INSTANT QUOTE for Dental Professional Liability from an A rated carrier.

Insurance Innovations has dental professional liability insurance with great rates and you can include general liability coverage to your policy.

All contents provided here are for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.  Always consult your legal counselor or advisor as to the suitability of using this information in your business or practice.

 

 

 

 

Dental Malpractice Insurance

Dental-Professional-Liability

What is Dental Malpractice Insurance?

Dental malpractice insurance also known as dental professional liability insurance is purchased to protect a dentist from the consequences of a claim of alleged negligence.

Why do I need dental malpractice insurance?

For all of their years of schooling and expertise, dentists must be realistic and prepared to face claims that can arise due to supposed mistakes made during treatment.  For a marginal price, they can protect themselves from potential damages.

What can I expect to pay for dental malpractice insurance?

Insurance Innovations offers a variety of affordable plans and encourage dental professionals to use our online application to secure the right policy.

Does my general liability provide the same protection?

General liability insurance does not cover for professional liability.  However, dentist can opt to add GL to their dental professional liability, and enjoy greater liability coverage with one common renewal date.  This package protects for injury or property damage claims against the dentist or their practice.

Why Insurance Innovations?

Since 1999, Insurance Innovations has worked to find medical professionals the best and most affordable Malpractice Insurance Policies available. Insurance Innovations writes in all 50 states.  We have AM Best “A” Rated Carriers, Claims Made and Occurrence policies along with discounts for qualifying professionals. We serve Dentist Corporations, Endodontic, Forensic Dentistry, General Dentistry, Oral Pathology, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, Prosthodontics, Public Health Dentistry and Sports Dentistry.

Dental Professional Liability Insurance

Dental Malpractice Insurance 2013

Insurance Innovations and Fireman’s Insurance Company offer an online quoting and binding system for Dental Professional Liability Insurance.  The policy offered through Fireman’s Fund Dental Program protects you for damages resulting from dental services provided, or that should have been provided, to your patients.  The policy covers you, your organization, and approved locum tenens (substitute dentists).

Program features include:

  • Choice of coverage limits-up to $5,000,000 available
  • Retirement “Tail” Benefits-After you have been a policyholder for 5 years, “tail” coverage is free at age 55 or older if you decide to permanently cease practicing dentistry or upon disability or death.
  • Defense of State Regulatory Investigation-Reimburses you for attorney fees, costs & other related expenses for your defense of disciplinary charges or licensing action by a state regulatory authority arising as the result of a covered claim.
  • Defense Cost-Paid in addition to liability limits.
  • Organization Coverage-Shared limits for your dental partnership or corporation available at no additional cost.  Separate limits also offered.

General Liability Insurance

You can choose to add General Liability Insurance to your Fireman’s Fund Dental Professional Liability coverage.  Enjoy greater liability coverage with once common renewal date.  This coverage protects you for injury or property damage claims against you and/or your practice.  This program includes:

  • Bodily Injury-Provides protection for your practice against liability claims made for bodily harm, sickness, disease or death.
  • Property Damage-Provides coverage for loss or damage to the property of others.
  • Personal Injury-Protects you against covered claims arising from charges such as privacy violation, libel, slander, or defamation of character.
  • Medical Payments-Covers medical expenses up to $10,000 per person for accidental bodily injury that occurred on your premises (other than malpractice injury).
  • Auto Liability-Protects you against bodily injury or property damage (separate limits apply) liability claims arising out of the use of hired, borrowed or rented autos for your practice.
  • Water and Fire Legal Liability Coverage-covers the policy holder against claims from their landlord for fire and water damage to space occupied by and caused by policyholder or employees for whom they are responsible.
  • Employment Practices Liability-Protects you against claims alleging (separate limits apply) discrimination, sexual harassment, or wrongful discharge of an employee.
  • Employment Benefit Administration Liability-Protects you against claims of negligence, errors or omissions in administering employee benefits plans.
  • Medical Waste Defense-Reimburses you for legal expenses resulting from allegations of unlawful disposal of medical waste.
  • Contractual Liability Coverage-Covers you for liability assumed under contracts, including those with managed care organizations (i.e. HMO’s, PPO’s, IPA’s) if entered into before the date the injury occurred.

CLICK HERE FOR AN INSTANT QUOTE or contact Insurance Innovations today. To speak with a dedicated professional dial toll free 888-871-9096.

Dental Malpractice Insurance for the Best Job of 2013

Dental Malpractice Insurance: Good Communication

US News and World Report published its list of the Best Jobs of 2013.

The Number One Job: Dentist.

Here’s the list of the Top 10 Jobs, based on, among other factors, stress level and work-life balance:

  1. Dentist
  2. Registered Nurse
  3. Pharmacist
  4. Computer Systems Analyst
  5. Physician
  6. Database Administrator
  7. Software Developer
  8. Physical Therapist
  9. Web Developer
  10. Dental Hygienist

Dental Malpractice Insurance 2013Dentistry With Few Regrets

Each day in a dental practice, as in other professions, things usually go along without a hitch, even though there are decisions to be made and problems to solve.

In dentistry, problems, such as infections or a missed diagnoses, will not be apparent on the day of a patient’s visit. The awareness of such problems can come in the form of a notification that a dental malpractice case has been brought against you.

Being on the receiving end of a dental malpractice case can lead to second-guessing, questioning your judgment and viewing patients as potential litigants.

Should have. Would have. Could have.

It’s not always possible to avoid a lawsuit, but dentists who have practiced for a while can look back and see how they might have done things differently.

Doing Things Differently

My experience indicates that life is basically fair and that, over time, it returns to you what you send out. I’d send more love.”
-John A. Wilde, DDS

Dr. John A. Wilde, who practiced dentistry for 28 years, shares some good insights in his essay, “Regrets, I’ve Got a Few”, published in Dental Economics, about things he would have done differently.

The things he regrets are not technical, but have more to do with the choices he made in his professional relationships and his communications skills.

Dental Malpractice Insurance 2013Dr. Wilde’s insights are especially valuable because many patients who have initiated claims against their dentists have reported that better communication might have stopped them from filing a claim.

Here are some of Dr. Wilde’s regrets:

  • wishing he’d compromised more with staff, instead of “always having to be right”
  • failing “to show optimal compassion to patients”
  • wishing he had spent more time with new patients and got to know them better
  • wishing he had done more charity work – especially for his patients who couldn’t afford to complete their care

“My experience indicates that life is basically fair,” writes Dr. Wilde, “and that, over time, it returns to you what you send out. I’d send more love.”

Learning From Mistakes

We can all learn from Dr. Wilde’s wisdom and experience.

His regrets aren’t about his technique as a practitioner but about the relationships he had with his staff and patients. Technical skills are important, of course, but so is trusting your instincts and intuition.

Thinking about a patient whose visit may not have been ideal and making that follow-up call, could make the difference between a patient who returns to your practice to let you make things right or a patient who initiates a dental malpractice suit.

If a case is brought against you, even if it has no merit, it can be a learning experience and, hopefully, not too devastating.

Mitigating Disaster

Having a lawsuit filed against you does not have to ruin your practice or your life.

Dental Malpractice Insurance can protect both your livelihood and your personal assets and reduce the amount of stress that a dental malpractice case can cause.


Insurance Innovations

Since 1999, Insurance Innovations has worked to find medical professionals the best and most affordable Malpractice Insurance Policies available. Not all dental practices are the same and neither are all Dental Malpractice Insurance Policies. We partner with leading insurance carriers to find you a policy that meets your needs and your budget.

Click Here for an Instant Quote or contact Insurance Innovations today for your insurance needs: 888.871.9096.

Our experienced staff will be glad to answer your questions and give you more information so that you can choose just the right Dental Malpractice Insurance.


References:
Jada A. Graves The Best Jobs of 2013 http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2012/12/18/the-best-jobs-of-2013?s_cid=art_btm&page=3
US News Staff About the US News Best Jobs Rankings Methodology http://money.usnews.com/money/careers/articles/2012/12/18/about-the-us-news-best-jobs-rankings-methodology
John A. Wilde, DDS Regrets? I’ve Got a Few http://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-93/issue-5/features/regrets-ive-got-a-few.html
James Charles Haigh, Government Attorney Ten Ways for Dentists to Avoid Malpractice  Claims http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/ten-ways-for-dentists-to-avoid-malpractice-claims

Even the Best Dentists Need Dental Malpractice Insurance

Dental Professional Liability Insurance

On April 6th, a dentist in Illinois was sued, after the 92-year-old patient she was treating, swallowed a universal dental driver, that lodged in the patient’s stomach. The suit states that the patient had X-rays, a CT scan and two endoscopies at a local hospital, after leaving the dentist’s office. The instrument was removed, but the lawsuit continues.

The dentist has been in practice since 1979, without any disciplinary action ever taken against her, according to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

We understand how painful and traumatic the experience was for the patient, but also how painful and traumatic this experience is for the dentist. Even the best, most caring dentists get sued, and not always for as dramatic an event as a swallowed dental tool.

Being named in a lawsuit, even if it’s unfounded, can have a devastating effect on a dentist resulting in second-guessing,  anxiety, and trepidation when working on subsequent patients.

More Complex Patients With High Expectations

dental malpractice insuranceDentists are seeing more complex patients, with increased underlying medical problems. Dental visits to Emergency Rooms in the U.S. increased from 1.1 million in 2000 to 2.1 million in 2010. Those visits don’t just put a strain on ERs, they put a strain on dentists. Patients who put off care and present at a dentist’s office, only after other avenues have been exhausted, often have problems that should have been addressed much sooner. The unrealistic expectations that some patients have, after getting a “quick fix” at the ER, can lead to complaints and claims.

Having Dental Professional Liability Insurance is Like Having a Safety Net

One of the reasons we so strongly recommend that dentists have dental malpractice insurance, is that we know having a policy in place, can reduce the anxiety if a claim is made against you . Being able to turn your case over to a defense team that works to protect your interests, can relieve much of the stress and mitigate the damages of a potentially costly and livelihood-threatening lawsuit.


Insurance Innovations Dental Malpractice Insurance

Insurance Innovations has been serving the medical community since 1999. We partner with leading insurance carriers to find you affordable Dental Malpractice Insurance that best suits your needs.

Click Here for an Instant Quote or contact Insurance Innovations today for your insurance needs: 888.871.9096.


References:

Robert A. Faiella, DMD A Dentist’s View on Tackling the National Dental Health Crisis 10.02.2013
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-a-faiella-dmd/dental-health-care_b_4016991.html

Dental Tool Lodged In Elderly Patient’s Stomach: Lawsuit « CBS Chicago

Dental Professional Liability Gets the Spotlight on Social Media

Dental Professional Liability LeAnn Rimes

Country singer LeAnn Rimes’ malpractice suit, against her dentist, has become a hot topic on social media and network news. Rimes is seeking unspecified damages for “emotional and psychiatric injuries” in addition to “severe tooth pain, gum inflammation and bleeding.”

And then there’s the website, who can I sue which has a laundry list of issues that, they claim, have resulted in, “large awards and settlements.”

When Things Go Wrong – Dental Professional Liability Can Help

Dental Professional Liability things go wrongBeing on the receiving end of a dental malpractice lawsuit, even when allegations are unfounded, can be financially draining and emotionally devastating. The burden of a lawsuit can be mitigated by having the support of a team of skilled professionals, who know how to deal with a dental malpractice suit.

An article titled A Review of Dental Negligence, by Crystal Baxter, DMD, MDS on the DentistryIQ website, cites Complications Due to Extractions as the number one reason for alleged dental negligence.

The article is a sobering look at what happens when things go wrong. Fortunately, for most dentists, things usually go right, and that’s something every practicing dentist should remember.

Complications due to extractions are the number one reason for alleged dental negligence.”
– Crystal Baxter, DMD, MDS [DentistryIQ]

Avoiding Dental Malpractice Lawsuits

Dental Professional Liability: Avoiding Lawsuits

Good communication, and referring patients for specialized care, are two of the best ways to avoid being the recipient of a Dental Malpractice Lawsuit.

With many patients deferring care and not complying with follow-up, it’s important to keep good documentation about every patient visit. Even follow-up calls, which may  seem time consuming when you have a busy practice to run, could mean the difference between having a patient who feels they are being cared for and a patient who feels slighted… then angry and litigious.

Why Dental Professional Liability Insurance Is Important

Lawsuits can drag on and, of course, are costly. The last report about the LeAnn Rimes case, is that she dropped her suit against the dentist’s “corporation” (which no longer exists) but can still sue the dentist himself.

Dental Professional Liability Insurance allows you to continue to maintain your dental practice while a group of insurance professionals focuses on protecting your interests.


Innovations Insurance Dental Professional Liability Insurance Policies

Innovations Insurance can help find the policy that is the best fit for your practice and your budget. Since 1999, we have been helping medical professionals get affordable and dependable coverage.

Click Here for an Instant Quote or contact Insurance Innovations today for your insurance needs: 888.871.9096.


References:
Crystal Baxter, DMD, MDS A Review of Dental Negligence DentistryIQ
Dylan Howard LeAnn Rimes Drops Malpractice Sit Against Dentist

Dental Malpractice Insurance: Avoiding Common Errors

Dental Malpractice Insurance

Avoiding common errors can be a simple as trusting your instincts and dealing with problems as they arise.

Communicate Well With Patients – Patients who know what to expect, in terms of treatment and what they will have to pay for treatment, are more likely to be satisfied, understanding and compliant patients. Even with great treatment, a long wait time or a rude staff member, can skew the patient’s impression of a visit. Letting a patient know if you’re running behind, letting them know why and apologizing for the wait, can lessen the anxiety they may already be feeling about the visit.

Dental Malpractice Insurance Communicate

Communicate Well With Staff – Every staff member in a dental office is a representative of the practice. It’s as difficult to discharge an employee as it is a patient, but having a warm and welcoming staff is important in maintaining patient satisfaction. Staff members who chart in patient records should have a good understanding of how to chart accurately, in a timely manner and without judgement.

Good communication with staff will also help if and when they see a red flag and feel they can discuss problems without being judged.

Good communication with staff will also help if and when they see a red flag and feel they can discuss problems without being judged.

Talk About the Money – Most patients know that dental health effects their overall health but they don’t tend to think about what a bargain dental care is in terms of cost. Many people spend more on lattes every year than they do on their dental care. It can sting to have to pay five dollars for a latte, but, for some patients, it stings more to get a bill for a few hundred dollars all at once. Telling a patient what a procedure will cost, and why, can deter problems down the road. If applicable, discuss payment options before treatment begins. If a patient owes money, consider the amount owed against a possible dental malpractice suit. Malpractice claims are often filed after a patient has been dunned. Even with dental malpractice insurance, having to deal with a suit that was initiated by a patient who doesn’t want to pay a bill, is stressful, even if it is without merit.

Dental Malpractice Insurance CommunicateDo What You Do Best – Doing anything that is outside your comfort level, or scope of practice, is not helping yourself, or your patient. It’s difficult to refer a patient who says they can’t afford a special procedure, but if anything goes wrong in your office, and a dental malpractice suit is initiated, you will be judged at the same level of competence as a specialist who regularly performs the procedure.

Have a Safety Net: Dental Malpractice Insurance: It takes just one dental malpractice suit to create chaos in the professional and personal life of a dentist. Although most malpractice suits brought against dentists don’t result in the dentist paying out a claim, the time and stress of litigation can be very costly.

Insurance Innovations has been serving medical professionals since 1999. Having dental malpractice insurance means that a team of experts will focus on your case while you continue to focus on your patients.


Click Here for an Instant Quote or contact Insurance Innovations today to speak with a dedicated professional.



References
Linda J. Hay, JD. Risk Management: The Top Ten Mistakes Dentists Make. http://www.dentistryiq.com
Chris Salierno. 5 Red Flags that Make Me Want to Fire a Patient April 9, 2012 http://thecuriousdentist.com