Senator Pushes Liability Shield for Coronavirus Doctors
April 2, 2020
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced the Facilitating Innovation to Fight Coronavirus Act. The emergency legislation would limit liability for healthcare professionals who are fighting coronavirus.
“In ERs and ICUs across America, doctors and nurses are writing the playbook as they fight this virus one day at a time,” said Sen. Sasse. “These heroes need a common-sense liability shield so that they don’t have to worry about lawsuits while they’re scrambling to save lives. This legislation gives emergency liability and patent protections to health care professionals who are innovating on the front lines. America is going to beat this virus. Congress needs to make sure that phase four legislation protects our doctors and nurses from a plague of lawsuits.”
For healthcare providers who are testing, treating or otherwise countering the effects of coronavirus, Sasse’s bill would limit liability for healthcare providers for:
• Using or modifying a medical device for an unapproved use or indication;
• Practicing without a license or outside of an area of specialty if instructed to do so by an individual with such a license or within such an area of specialty; or
• Conducting the testing of, or the provision of treatment to, a patient outside of the premises of standard health care facilities.
Link to legislative text here.
Wisconsin Gov. Evers, Insurance Commissioner Ask Malpractice Insurers to Cover Telemedicine, Out-of-State Providers
April 2, 2020
At the direction of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable issued a request to medical malpractice insurers aimed at expanding access to telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic and at ensuring retired and out-of-state health care workers can get the medical malpractice coverage in order to support the state's response to COVID-19. Doctors are required to have medical malpractice insurance to provide care in Wisconsin. The request from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) is aimed at making sure Wisconsin residents can access the care they need at home and at increasing the state's capacity to care for patients throughout the public health emergency.
“It's all hands on deck," said Gov. Evers. “This disease is already putting a strain on doctors and hospitals in other states. We need to do everything we can to make sure that we can care for patients in Wisconsin."
“Telemedicine is becoming a big part of how our healthcare system operates during this pandemic," said Insurance Commissioner Afable. “Doctors shouldn't have to worry that their malpractice insurance doesn't cover telemedicine. And doctors coming to our state to care for Wisconsinites shouldn't have to struggle to get the malpractice insurance they need. We're calling on medical malpractice insurers to support the state's changing health care needs."
This request for action follows Gov. Evers' Emergency Order #16 issued on March 27, 2020, which allows any healthcare provider with a valid and current license issued by another state to practice under that license and within the scope of that license in Wisconsin without first obtaining a temporary license from the Department of Safety and Professional Services, so long as certain conditions are met.
A copy of the request for action is available here.
PRI Offers Weekly Virtual Peer Support to Sustain Medical Professionals During Pandemic Response
March 30, 2020
Today, Physicians’ Reciprocal Insurers (PRI) announced the expansion of its peer support program for the medical professionals on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. PRI is hosting weekly virtual group sessions with a focus on self-care and stress management during the current crisis. Physicians who are not currently PRI insureds are welcome and encouraged to participate. All participation is anonymous.
The weekly sessions are led by Michael "Mick" Krasner, MD, FACP, a professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Krasner will lead the group through mindfulness exercises and discuss methods to alleviate extreme stress, followed by a confidential group discussion during which attendees can share their personal insights and find comfort and support in their fellow physicians.
"The coronavirus pandemic is causing unforeseen pressure on our healthcare system’s greatest assets, its medical professionals," said Sanford Goldberg, MD, medical director at PRI. "PRI is dedicated to supporting those risking their own wellbeing, and often that of their families, to fight this disease. By providing a forum for these professionals to concentrate on self-care and healing, we hope they will be better able to face this great challenge."
PRI has offered both group and one-on-one peer support to its insured physicians for many years in hopes of providing our doctors a forum within which they can discuss their professional problems and hopefully alleviate the stresses and concerns associated with those problems.
During this critical time, PRI remains more committed than ever to supporting our doctors and offering the New York medical community continued support in many mediums. We welcome all New York State physicians to avail themselves of access to our remarkable experts on the issues that impact them personally and the quality of care they provide their patients. For more information, please visit https://www.pri.com/category/events.
MagMutual Foundation donates $1 Million to MagMutual PolicyOwners on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak
March 27, 2020
Many of MagMutual’s policyholders who are on the front lines of dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are staying in hotels and other temporary accommodation, all to keep their loved ones from risking infection. In response, the MagMutual Foundation announced that it has set aside $1 million to help any of the company’s policyholders by reimbursing the cost of hotel stays and temporary housing during this period. The details of how policyholders can receive this benefit are explained on MagMutual.com.
“Many physicians are making tremendous personal sacrifices in fighting this outbreak on the front lines,” said Joe Wilson, MD, executive chairman of MagMutual. “As a company, we are committed to putting our policyholders’ best interests first, and that includes finding new ways to support them in this critical time.”
“It’s the least we can do” said Neil Morrell, CEO of MagMutual. “And I’m proud that we have a board and a company that understand what it really means to be a mutual company.”
The Doctors Company: Retired Physician Volunteers Receive No-Cost Malpractice Coverage during COVID-19 Pandemic
March 26, 2020
As U.S. healthcare systems are being pushed to their limits during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Doctors Company announced that it will provide free medical professional liability coverage to retired physicians formerly insured by the company who volunteer during the crisis.
"Today, our mission to advance, protect and reward the practice of good medicine is more important than ever. We appreciate our members' lifesaving work during this crisis and want to make it as easy as possible for our retired members to assist," said Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, chairman and chief executive officer of The Doctors Company.
If retired former members of The Doctors Company return to practice as volunteers, this decision will not impact their extended reporting period, or tail, coverage. Additionally, there will be no impact on previous Tribute Plan awards.
To qualify, a retired healthcare professional must be providing professional services for no fee, salary or other compensation — with the exception of expenses incurred delivering those services. Retired former members of The Doctors Company interested in the free coverage can complete an online form or call (800) 421-2368, press 1 for Member Services, then 6 for coverage activation.
Retired members considering volunteering can find more information at "COVID-19 Malpractice Coverage FAQs." All healthcare providers can visit "COVID-19 Resource Center for Healthcare Professionals" to keep up to date on the pandemic.
CMIC Group Offering Special COVID-19 Dividend
March 26, 2020
CMIC Group announced that its Board of Directors has declared a special dividend that totals $5 Million for CMIC policyholders. The dividend is being distributed to help support their healthcare providers through the challenges created by the COVID-19 outbreak. The company is also deferring all premium payments currently due until June 30, 2020.
“The challenges facing the world, and more acutely, medical providers, due to this global crisis are unprecedented,” said Stephen J. Gallant, CEO of CMIC Group. “As a carrier that has spent the last 35 years supporting our policyholders, we are doing all we can to help alleviate some of the strain facing these dedicated professionals and provide some relief to their medical practices.”
According to the company, it has been in recent contact with many of its policyholders and is working on a variety of coverage options and considerations in response to the evolving challenges faced by medical professionals on the frontlines of the pandemic.
“As a company, we have the utmost gratitude for the tireless efforts of our healthcare providers during this ordeal,” Gallant said. “We want our policyholders to know that CMIC Group is here to support them through the challenges ahead.”
The Hilb Group Acquires Healthcare Liability Consultants Agency, Hires Julie Paton
March 25, 2020
The Hilb Group, a middle market insurance agency headquartered in Richmond, Va., announced yesterday that it has acquired Healthcare Liability Consultants Agency and hired owner and medical malpractice insurance specialist, Julie Paton, as a producer. The transaction became effective March 1, 2020.
Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Paton will join the The Hilb Group's Central/Midwest operations and continue to provide customized solutions to her clients. According to the company, her addition will complement and strengthen THG’s medical malpractice capabilities in the Central region.
The Hilb Group is a portfolio company of global investment firm, The Carlyle Group, which seeks to grow through targeted acquisitions in the middle market insurance brokerage space. The company now has more than 90 offices in 20 states
MPL Association: Good Samaritan Professionals Act Would Offer Protections for Medical Volunteers Assisting with COVID-19 and Preserve Patient Rights
March 20, 2020
The Medical Professional Liability Association (MPL Association) president and CEO Brian K. Atchinson issued the following statement about (H.R. 6283), the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act that was introduced by Representatives Raul Ruiz, MD (D-CA) and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN):
“During this time of pandemic and in other times of catastrophe, it is vital for patients to have access to quality, timely medical care. Unfortunately, healthcare professionals who cross state lines to volunteer their medical services during disasters are not adequately protected by federal law. Additionally, the current patchwork of state laws designed to encourage medical volunteerism compound the problem by being ambiguous and inconsistent, especially when applied to large-scale disasters. This could mean that vital medical volunteers are deterred from helping, turned away, or forced to limit their services at a time when their help is most needed.
We commend Representative Ruiz and Representative Bucshon for introducing The Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act, a measure that, while important for any future catastrophe, is particularly relevant now as it would provide civil liability protections to licensed health care professionals who volunteer their time and skills to treat coronavirus patients. The bill also would preserve a victim’s access to compensation if an injury is the result of willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the patient.
The MPL Association will continue to build bipartisan support in Congress in order to pave a path forward for the enactment of this measure.”
Medical Professional Liability Association Cancels Leadership Forum and Annual Conference
March 18, 2020
Statement from the Medical Professional Liability Association:
The MPL Association has been actively monitoring evolving developments related to the coronavirus. Based on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the District of Columbia government, the MPL Association Leadership Forum and Annual Conference scheduled for May 6-8 in Washington, D.C., is cancelled.
At this time, all other Association meetings scheduled for the autumn will continue as planned. We will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC and state and local health agencies as it relates to the coronavirus and will take necessary precautions based on local recommendations in each city where a meeting would be taking place. If conditions and travel guidance change, we will make decisions based on the best interest of our members, affiliate partners, sponsors, and staff.
NJ PURE Forges Comprehensive Reinsurance Partnership with Gen Re
March 18, 2020
NJ PURE announced a partnership reinsurance contract with General Reinsurance Corp., a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies. Gen Re has an A++ (Superior) rating from A.M. Best Co. and has over $17.75 billion in assets.
"All of our policyholders may now take added comfort in knowing that NJ PURE has the financial support of Gen Re and the billions of dollars in assets behind it," said Eric S. Poe, a principal of NJ PURE's management company and chief litigation officer of NJ PURE. "By backing NJ PURE up to 70% of our future exposures up to our policy limits, we believe Gen Re's commitment to us is a testament to our long-term business model and its viability into the future."