Why RDs need liability insurance (ASAP!)
As dietitians see their roles in healthcare expand, our risk of being named in a malpractice suit continues to climb. Therefore, it is not surprising to see more lawsuits filed. Therefore there is no denying the fact that RDs need liability insurance. Therefore, to protect yourself it is critical that you purchase a malpractice policy BEFORE you see any patients on your own.
Professional liability insurance protects you against covered claims arising from real or alleged errors or omissions, including negligence, in the course of your professional duties. Also if you decide to become in-network for any insurance company they will require proof of liability insurance before they even consider credentialing you.
Generally, as an employee – you are covered by your employer’s malpractice policy. Therefore, not surprisingly, as soon as you leave that place of employment, you are no longer covered. That is why RDs need liability insurance that is connected to their own business.
Because as soon as you see some patients on your own in your practice your coverage from your employer is not effective. You are only covered by your employers’ policy when you are seeing patients at your place of employment. The employer’s policy does not carry over into your practice. So you RDs need liability insurance for their very own practice. Spoiler alert! It is not expensive!
Since the very beginning of my career, I have personally used the company Proliability by MERCER for malpractice and liability insurance. The only reason I chose to go with MERCER was that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics had recommended this particular company. And in all honesty in the 15+ years of being in business, I have never had a problem with working with them.
Over the years, my premium has only increased slightly. I think at the start of my career I paid $118 annually. I currently pay $140 per year. If you are an Academy member you actually receive a discount as well. I am not entirely sure of what the specific percentage discount is – but every dollar counts! Right?
Here is a basic summary of the factors for you to consider when seeking out a malpractice insurance policy:
- Amount of coverage desired
- Scope of services provided
- Type of coverage (in-person or virtual care, or both)
- Cost of the plan
Here is a summary of my specific benefits with MERCER:
- Inclusive Insurance: Coverage available for employed or self-employed professionals.
- Extensive Coverage: Various limit options up to $2 million per claim/$5 million aggregate per policy year
- Your Own Defense: Your own attorney to protect your best interests in a lawsuit
- Lost Wage Reimbursement: Reimbursement for lost wages due to various activities, including trial attendance, that may be required of you in your defense
- Court Costs Coverage: Payment of certain expenses incurred in your defense, in addition to the limits of liability
- Licensing Issues Reimbursement: Coverage for representation in response to licensing board actions, even if a malpractice suit isn’t filed
The information above is taken directly from their website.
However, in the event you choose not to go with MERCER there are some important things to keep in mind when selecting malpractice coverage. In the event of a lawsuit, your Insurance policy should ALWAYS:
- Provide you with your own attorney
- Pay all reasonable costs incurred in the defense or investigation of a covered claim
- Pay you for lost wages
- Provide reimbursement if licensing board issues were involved
- Pay court costs and settlements in addition to the limits of liability
Therefore, one of the first steps in your practice should be to seek out competitive, comprehensive malpractice insurance. Also – make sure to keep your policy current. Pay the premiums on time every year to prevent any gaps in coverage.
As to the specific amount of coverage your practice requires this completely depends upon many things variables such as your specialty, the size of your practice, the services you intend to offer as well as where in the country you are located. I highly suggest discussing the specific needs of your practice with an insurance representative.
RDs need liability insurance – so don’t mess around with this step.
Please and thank you!