Category Archives: Dental Professional Liability Insurance

Get a Quick and Easy Online Dental Professional Liability Rate Indication

 

Click here to get a Quick and Easy Online Dental Professional Liability Rate Indication and apply for coverage.  

Insurance Innovations has partnered with Lone Star Alliance RRG.  Lone Star Alliance Risk Retention Group (LSA) is an A rated carrier by AM-Best.  LSA is able to provide flexible superior coverage for individual dental practices.  Our coverages are claims made or occurrence policies that are available in 48 states*.  All policy include cyber liability coverage which is needed in practices today.  Cyber liability coverage covers you for data breaches safeguarding patients’ protected health information (PHI).  Strong cyber security is an increasing important  business requirement in today’s health care environment.  Data breach threats are on the rise and can be potentially devastating to your practice and your clients, hence the need for cyber liability coverage. Quick and Easy Online Dental Professional Liability Rate Indication click here.

General Liability Insurance

General Liability insurance, sometimes referred to as GL can be added to your Dental Professional Liability insurance policy with Lone Star Alliance Risk RRG  (LSA).  GL  protects the professional from property damage, bodily or personal injury claims that can occur while conducting business.  This coverage is frequently carried along with other types of insurance.

Don’t forget to get your Quick and Easy Online Dental Professional Liability Rate Indication Today!  Click Here  for a Dental Malpractice Insurance rate indication.

If you have any questions you can call us toll free at 888-871-9096 Ext 5193 or visit our website at www.insinnovations.com

* not available in Wisconsin or New York  

 

Malpractice Pitfalls for Dentist and Physicians

Dental Malpractice Insurance

Seven Common Malpractice Pitfalls for Dentist and Physicians

When a malpractice suit is filed against a Dentist or Physician, claims supervisors evaluate the case and all too often, claims are settled due to faulty communication and documentation practices.  These pitfalls both contribute to the circumstances that may have led to the patient’s injury and hinder the ability to effectively defend the doctor.  There is a great deal of overlap between these pitfalls because they mostly involve similar types of errors committed in different situations.

 

  1. Failure to Communicate with patients -Your communication skills are important to your patients’ satisfaction with your care and their perception of your professionalism and competence. The top three characteristics that patients rank as important in a 2009 survey was that their doctor pays attention to their concerns, is compassionate, and speaks in terms they can understand.  It’s important to listen to your patients.  Sometimes the doctor that is overworked , running behind schedule and struggling to catch up too often cuts the patient off before gathering the information needed to make a correct diagnosis.  Show empathy your patients want you to care about them as people.  When they’re suffering, they want you to show that you relate to their pain.
  2. Maintaining Illegible or Incomplete Charts – Never forget that the purpose of the medical chart is to provide for continuity of patient care and further more medical records are legal documents. Overtime you may have developed some time saving shortcuts when documenting charts just be aware that if these shortcuts diminish the quality of care you deliver, and if they result in a malpractice suit, the benefits of any shortcuts will be dwarfed by the consequences.
  3. Inappropriate Actions by Office Staff – It is important to remember that you can be held vicariously liable for patient injuries resulting from actions by your staff or others that you supervise.  Even experienced, trusted employees with the best intentions will sometimes expose you to liability by overstepping their roles. Define your staffs duties in writing.  Practices are advised to have a printed manual that defines job descriptions for each position as well as practice policies and procedures.
  4. Failure to order or follow up on Test Reports – You have a duty to read and follow up on any tests you order.  Remember that you are responsible for following up on tests results. A common source of malpractice claims is the failure to keep track of test and consultation reports.  If you do not have a tracking system in place, a significant report will eventually slip through the cracks.  A difficult situation is created when patients are told that they will only be contacted if their test results are abnormal.  If a report is lost or misfiled, the patient is left to assume that “no news is good news”.
  5. Failure to refer, track referrals and communicate with the Referring Physician – All doctors need to put patient safety first.  When you refer a patient, you should forward the medical records or at least a narrative summary of the salient information.  But simply arranging for the patient to be seen by a specialist does not mean you have made an effective referral.
  6. Prescribing Medications Inappropriately – At least 1.5 million patients are injured every year by medication errors, according to a study by the National Institute of Medicine.  Of the many types of medication errors, those that can be difficult to defend involve patients who suffer a catastrophic reaction to a drug to which that was a known allergy. Drug allergies should be posted prominently on the chart and reviewed before before prescribing.  Prescribing decisions should be carefully considered.  Known allergies aside, patients can suffer from unpredictable adverse drug reactions under a variety of circumstances.  Drugs most frequently involved in medication error claims are narcotic analgesics.  This is due, in part, to changes in physician attitudes toward prescribing opioid pain relievers.
  7. Obtaining and documenting informed consent – Informed consent is an extension of the doctrine of patient autonomy, which holds that the patient has the right to decide what is done to his or her body, including the right to refuse life-saving treatment.  While a patient’s consent is required it does not have to be written in all circumstances  but the absence of it may lead to legal presumption that the patient did not consent to treatment.  Therefore it is to your advantage to obtain written consent whenever possible.

Very little of the above information and suggestions should come as a surprise to you.  All of the pitfalls are lapses in what should be standard communication and documentation practice in every medical practice.

Do you need a malpractice insurance policy click here or call 888-871-9096 Ext 5193 for a quote?

 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 adviser as to the suitability of using this information in your business or practice.

Good Dentist Office Communication

Good dentist office communication begins with clear and frequent conversations between the dentist and their staff. Good communication is essential from a risk management perspective.  You should establish communication procedures that promote efficient transmittal of information. This prevents messages that can be overlooked or misinterpreted. You want to create an atmosphere in which your staff is quick to ask questions if they don’t understand your instructions. It is important to identify the needs of your staff and express your needs. Frequently scheduled staff meetings improve communication and resolves problems.

Good Dentist Office Communication begins with proper phone handling

Phone calls to your office are the patient’s first contact with your practice. Initial phone calls create the patients first 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 patient visits, who handled the treatment, and services rendered should only be given out to the patient.
  • Good dental office communication should have a  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). 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 claims, fees or billing questions.
  • 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. Try to make sure they never come across as bored or annoyed.  Let the patient describe the situation they are calling about.  When they take a message – it should be detailed and precise.
  • Provide the basic tools, telephone log and message pads with a place for the date, time,  phone numbers, 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.
  • List of frequently needed telephone numbers should be easy to find such as hospitals, referring dentists and pharmacies. You should 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.

Dentists-Do you have Cyber Liability Coverage?

Errors and Omissions Insurance Quotes

Does your Dental Professional Liability Insurance have Cyber Liability Coverage?

Because dentist hold sensitive patient and employee information on their networks and in their billing records, they are at great risk for network security and privacy-related exposures.  Due to the potential for high cost from these exposures the dentists need Cyber Liability Coverage.

Cyber Liability covers a number of different components:

Security and privacy liability covers third party claims arising out of the failure to prevent unauthorized access of the use of private information, including identity theft and breach of privacy for both online and off-line information. Examples include the inadvertent transmission of malicious code or a virus to another’s computer system or potential lawsuits from credit card or health insurance companies.

Privacy regulatory defense and penalties insurance covers defense costs, fines, and penalties incurred defending regulatory investigations or privacy or security breaches.  Examples include HIPPA and HITECH violations, or a state attorney general or Federal Trade Commission action regarding the breach of security and privacy of information.

Privacy breach response costs, patient notification expenses, and patient support and credit monitoring expenses insurance covers payment of all reasonable and necessary costs to notify third parties (e.g., patients) that their private medical information has been breached or compromised.  This coverage includes legal fees, notification costs, public relations expenses, IT forensic costs, call center, advertising, and postage costs.  The cost of credit monitoring services are limited to 12 months from the date of enrollment in such services.

Network asset Protection covers all reasonable and necessary sums required to recover and/or replace data that is compromised, damaged, lost, erased, or corrupted.  Coverage also includes business interruption and extra expense coverage for income loss as a result of the total or partial interruption of the policyholder’s computer system.

Multimedia liability provides coverage for both online and off-line claims alleging copyright or trademark infringement, libel or slander, advertising injuries, and plagiarism.

Cyber extortion pays for a cyber extortion threat.  This would involve a party demanding cyber extortion monies or else it will, release confidential information of a third party, introduce malicious code, corrupt, damage or destroy the policyholder’s system, restrict or hinder access to system, including a denial of service attack or electronically communicate with patients or customers-claiming to be the physician or entity-to obtain personal confidential information.  This coverage pays cyber extortion expenses, but such expenses can only be incurred with the Trust’s consent (funds paid with Trust’s consent to terminate the threat).

Cyber terrorism coverage pays for acts of terrorism, meaning a use of force or violence for political, religious, ideological, or similar purposes, including the intent to influence a government or put the public in fear.  This coverage pays for income loss, interruption expenses and/or special expense.

For a Dental Professional Liability policy that includes Cyber Liability coverage Click Here   

Even Good Dentist Needs Dental Malpractice Insurance

Dental Professional Liability Insurance

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

Managing Patient Complaints and Improving Satisfaction

MANAGING PATIENT COMPLAINTS AND IMPROVING SATISFACTION 

The goal of most physicians and dentists is to have their practice operate efficiently.  But we all know patient complaints are inevitable.  Unfortunately not all patient complaints are handled correctly causing unfavorable consequences making complaint management a priority in all practices.

WHAT CONFERS TO PATIENT SATISFACTION

A patient’s positive view of their experience contributes to their satisfaction and overall experience. While there are many components to a patients satisfaction, their main concern is the relationship with their healthcare provider.  Patients count on the quality of care and trust from their dentists or physicians.

However a patients satisfaction also includes many other aspects of their appointments such as scheduling of their dentist appointment.  Or even the ease of parking at their physician’s office.  A patient may even notice how comfortable or inviting the physician’s office is.  But the most often complaints are made about how the patient feels about the way they were treated more than the medical skills of their dentist or physician.

GRASP THE OPPORTUNITY

For dentist and physicians offices this feedback is an opportunity to understand the patient’s experience and use the information provided as a means to strengthen and improve the practice and relationship with their patients. Most of the time complaints are made because the patient wants to speak with their healthcare provider for some kind of explanation, an apology, or reassurance.

Dealing with complaints is a powerful and different process for each dentist or physician.  If a complaint is dealt with promptly and effectively a dentist or physician can develop loyal patients, and improve patient outcomes.  Dealing with complaints can positively impact the overall performance of  a practice as well as reduce costs involved with handling complaints.  Well managed complaints reduce stress and staff turnover.  Dealing with complaints effectively can prevent these complaints from becoming formal legal claims.

Your can read the complete article on managing patient complaints here in the TMLT REPORTER

If you are looking for professional liability insurance we can help Click here for more information.

What Does Dental Malpractice Insurance Cover?

Dental Malpractice Insurance

Do you need Dental Malpractice Insurance?
Consider these perspectives:

  1.  As the Medical Malpractice Survival Handbook 2007 put it, “Liability claims for alleged dental malpractice have been somewhat ‘under the radar’ compared to medicine. However, dentists are held to the same set of rules as physicians and other health professionals with regard to the tort of malpractice, the most common legal theory used by plaintiff patients to secure remuneration for alleged wrongs.”
  2.  A Yahoo1 article on the subject listed some of the dental malpractice cases in which the plaintiffs took a large monetary award: complications from work on crowns and bridges; extraction of teeth; failure to detect oral cancer or other disease; and nerve injury including numbness of the tongue.

A Business Priority

Dental malpractice insurance, then, becomes not just a casual consideration but a business priority for today’s practicing dental professionals.

This type of insurance doesn’t replace your general liability; in fact, general Liability can be added to your Dental Professional Liability policy.

  • For instance, while general liability protects your practice against claims stemming from personal or property damage, dental malpractice insurance is the coverage needed for claims of negligence, violation of good faith, or inaccurate diagnosis or advice.
  • And even when the suit brought against your practice is groundless, the resulting legal actions can drain your finances. Not every malpractice claim is issued in a timely manner. Make sure you don’t have a lapse in coverage by keeping a retro-active date on your claims-made policy or keep your occurrence policy active. 

Getting Coverage is Easy

Acquiring good dental malpractice insurance is not a difficult process. You can turn to a proven insurance management agency who partners with leading insurance carriers. This service gives you the resources to obtain instant quotes online for specialties including general dentistry, orthodontics, periodontics and prosthodontics. From there, you can have your coverage confirmed and issued within minutes from your home or office computer.

Contact Us Today
for a Personalized Estimate of Premium

1Dental Malpractice Cases: Should You Consult an Attorney?, J. Bartleby, 2006

Dental Charts

Dental Malpractice Insurance Communicate

 

 

As we stated previously the purpose of the dental chart  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 dental charts, you should NOT do the following:

  • Never use “liquid paper” or “white out”.  Never scribble over, cut off, or in any other way obliterate a chart entry that has been made.
  • Don’t put in a chart subjective comments about the patient – i.e. “Patient is nuts”.  Instead, quote the patient’s words – i.e. patient said “I am from outer space”.  This will describe the behavior.
  • Don’t chart names without describing their function in relation to the patient’s future care such as chart “file separated, unable to seal canal-should see endodontist for file removal and finished rct-referred to John Smith, DDS for file removal.” Not “referred patient to John Smith”.
  • It is not necessary to chart information that is not pertinent to the future care of the patient.
  • A dental chart should not be filed until it has been checked for completeness.
  • Don’t release dental records without obtaining the patient’s written permission (or court order).
  • Never alter records after a suit has been filed.  Do not correct, clarify, add to, change, or modify an entry in any way.

When maintaining dental records, the patient’s chart should not include:

  • Criticism of care given by another dentist.
  • Communications with your insurance company or your attorney.
  • Communications with the patient’s attorney.

Maintaining accurate dental records is important to risk management.

  • Legal actions can take two to three years before they are heard in court 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 HERE FOR AN INSTANT QUOTE FOR YOUR DENTAL PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE or contact Insurance Innovations today with any questions.

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: It’s Essential

Dentists across the country work tirelessly as patient advocates, to give patients the care they need and educate them about preventive dental procedures. Stories  abound about dental heroes, who do pro bono work, help during crises and do everything they can for their patients. Still, dental malpractice claims are on the rise.

Here are some of the reasons that make it essential for today’s dentist to be covered by dental malpractice insurance, also as known as Dental Professional Liability:

1. Dentists are performing more complex procedures on patients. The number of patients who put off dental treatment, especially preventive care, has greatly increased over the past few years. According to US Census data, 181 million Americans did not visit a dentist in 2010 and the number of people who went to the Emergency Room for dental care nearly doubled from 1.1 million in 2000 to 2.1 million in 2010.

2. Patients who have unreal expectations and/or more complex problems that can’t  be fixed in  one visit, can leave a dentist open to litigation. Even if allegations are unwarranted, having dental malpractice insurance in place, with a carrier who understands the dynamics of dental practice, can reduce the stress of a lawsuit.

3. Patients who are referred to, but don’t follow up for specialty care put many dentists in a difficult position. Malpractice litigation often arises when a dentist fails to refer a patient to a specialist, but suits are also initiated when the dentist, sensitive to the needs of a patient who says they cannot afford specialty care, performs a procedure that is beyond their comfort level. Discussing the need of specialty care with a patient and documenting the discussion can help to avoid malpractice claims.

181 million Americans did not visit a dentist in 2010 and the number of people who went to the Emergency Room for dental care nearly doubled from 1.1 million in 2000 to 2.1 million in 2010.

Dental Professional Liability4. Dentists are seeing more patients who have delayed care and present with complications related to periodontal disease. Nearly half of all adults over age 30 in our country have some form of periodontal disease, according to the CDC. Dentists have been involved in educating their patients about the importance of having healthy teeth and gums, but more education is needed. Patients don’t always recognize the importance of dental health as it relates to their overall health. One of the leading claims against dentists, by patients who initiate malpractice suits, is that they were not treated properly for periodontal disease. Having dental malpractice insurance can mitigate the damage such a claim, whether justified or not, can have on a practice.

5. Many claims stem from a patient’s lack of understanding procedures and prognoses. It does help to have patients sign informed consent forms, but a consent form alone will not guarantee a favorable outcome if the patient does not understand what their treatment involves. Good communication and follow-up documentation goes a long way toward avoiding litigation and having a favorable outcome if litigation is initiated. Even the simple act of telling the patient what you are going to do before you do it can help avoid mistakes.

6. We tend to think of “slip and fall” as something that happens in a supermarket, but slips, falls, cuts and burns can also happen in a dental office. General Liability Insurance can be added to a dentist’s malpractice insurance policy and is essential if a patients complains of a “slip and fall” or other adverse event.

7. The cost of dental care has increased significantly over the years, but the maximum levels of insurance reimbursements have remained the same since the 1960s. It is too soon to tell what impact new health care legislation will have on the public’s access to dental coverage. Allowing a patient’s coverage to dictate care, even if the patient wants to delay treatment because of cost, can be very costly to the dentist. Frankly discussing payment and consequences of delayed treatment, and documenting such a discussion can make the difference between a compliant patient and a complaining patient.

Frankly discussing payment and consequences of delayed treatment, and documenting such a discussion can make the difference between a compliant patient and a complaining patient.

8. If a patient registers a complaint, remember that the Dental Board is required to investigate,  complaints have been brought against even the most caring and skilled dentists and many complaints are without merit. Having Dental Malpractice Insurance means that you have experts to help you respond effectively if a complaint is brought against you.

Insurance Innovations helps dentists get the dental malpractice insurance they need to protect their practice and their finances.


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


References:

Avoiding Malpractice. Mitchell J. Gardiner, DMD. Inside Dentistry Nov/Dec 2006, Volume 2 Issue 9. http://www.dentalaegis.com.
Action for Dental Health. American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org.
James Charles Haigh, Ten Ways to Avoid Malpractice Claims, AVVO, www.avo.com.

Dental Practice Risk Management

 

 

Patient impressions of their dentist are composites of several impressions formed from the moment they determine they need an appointment until the appointment has ended.  There are several factors influencing these opinions that can be controlled to favor a dentist’s overall image and help with your dental practice risk management.

 

 

These include:

  • Be accessibility and available to your patients.
  • Make sure your patients receive a personal greeting and welcome from your office staff.
  • Be willing to communicate with your patients.
  • The efficiency at your office regarding scheduling and arranging referral.
  • The quality and comprehensiveness of the treatment and follow-up you provide your patients.

Dental Practice Risk Management is easier than you think.

Here are some methods to reduce risks associated with dentist office management, the first is to ensure that your reception rooms are clean and furnishings are comfortable.  You should provide reading materials for adults and a few toys for children.  As your patients are coming and going this will make the first and last impression of your office.  Mark exits and bathrooms clearly.  Make sure handrails are available for the elderly patients.  Sometimes a patient will ask to use your telephone, let them.

All Dentists should develop guidelines for professionalism within your office that includes proper dress, attitude, telephone etiquette, and protocols for dealing with patients.  And make sure that waiting patients cannot hear your staff discussing other patients. Post signs that note office hours, procedure to follow in an emergency, and your office privacy policy. Avoid scheduling patients to tightly.  No one likes to wait. Of course there will be times a patient will have to wait a bit longer but if this doesn’t happen at all their visits they will be more understanding. Allow enough time to have adequate discussions with your patients regarding their treatment options. Always keep appointment slots open for emergencies.  Periodically audit patient waiting times and adjust booking protocols accordingly.  Develop patient questionnaires to find out their perceptions of their visits.  Encourage patients to verbalize complaints.

Your dental equipment owned or leased should meet medical community standards. Your equipment should be used and serviced according to the recommendations established by the manufacturer.  It is recommended that your maintain a file for each piece of equipment.  This file should contain the name, serial number, manufacturer’s name, date of purchase, warranties, procedure manual, educational programs provided to staff, service agreements for preventive maintenance and maintenance logs.

Get an online quote today for your Dental Malpractice Insurance. For additional information please contact us at 888-871-9096 Ext 5193 or online hereInsurance Innovations has been in business since 1999, helping medical professionals like you safeguard their careers and providing them with peace of mind.  Our knowledgeable staff is available to answer your questions and provide you with additional information.

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.