We have put together common questions to help you with certainty relating to your Professional Indemnity Coverage with us. As would ordinarily be the case standard policy terms and conditions will apply to any claim.

While these are extraordinary times, first principles still apply, and medical practitioners should continue to adhere to best practice in these challenging circumstances. If you have any specific concerns or queries, we are here to support you. We hope the following general comments may help answer some of your common questions.

Tego and Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance have been working with the Medical Defence Organisations to ensure consistency across the insurers and to lobby government on behalf of the medical profession. It is critical the we work together on these important issues as the COVID-19 situation develops.

Yes, your Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Policy provides cover for claims, complaints and Medicare audits which arise from your provision of Healthcare Services. COVID-19 does not change your coverage and we have no plans to modify or restrict coverage. We will be here when you need us.

Yes, your Policy extends cover to claims arising from the provision of Healthcare Services, including Telehealth. Download the Minister for Health press release on Expansion of Telehealth Services as at 23 march 2020.

We are here to support our medical practitioners in times of difficulty which means reacting quickly and compassionately to the COVID-19 crisis, when they may be asked to practice outside of their regular scope of work, in non-surgical or emergency roles.
You are automatically covered where:
- Your training college considers the activity during the COVID-19 health crisis an appropriate clinical activity for your specialty.
- You have received training in the last five years to practice in an emergency or non-surgical role outside of your declared specialty.
- You are providing healthcare to public patients and have confirmation that you will be indemnified by the hospital, area health service, a government scheme, or another person for public patient care.

Yes, you do not need to update us if you are temporarily working from a different location in Australia.

Yes. Claims or complaints arising from cancellations or delays in elective surgery is covered by your Policy as a result of COVID-19.

Yes, you do not need to update us if you are temporarily working from a different location in Australia.

We are currently seeking clarification from the Commonwealth Government relating to the Run-Off Cover Scheme to see if waivers are available for medical practitioners temporarily ceasing retirement. In the short-term these practitioners will need to contact us to put cover in place.

We understand this is a difficult issue and there is concern that a doctor is not able to certify that a patient does not have COVID-19 as there is no readily available test yet available which provides immediate results for this. Moreover, a genuine negative test result might be superseded by a new COVID-19 infection in the several days it might take to receive the test result. We are not able to give clinical guidance, but suggest that doctors give consideration to the following:

- If you do not consider that you are able to provide a certificate in the circumstances, we encourage you to discuss this with the patient. You are not under an obligation to provide Fitness to Work certificates.
- You may wish to make a note on the certificate that you are not able to certify that the Patient does not have COVID-19.
- The Medical Board’s publication, ‘Good medical practice: a code of conduct for doctors in Australia’ provides guidance and sets out first principles when providing a certificates (Section 8)
-Remember that you have an obligation to be honest when providing certificates and you must ensure that it is accurate before signing.

We set out below several weblinks leading to a number of Government and other Authorities, with information specific to the Covid-19 situation.

The Commonwealth Government Department of Health has advised that medical practitioners may change the way your services operate to minimise the exposure of health care workers and other patients to people who have COVID‐19, and conserve resources, such as by:

- directing people with COVID‐19 to specialised clinics; and
- cancelling elective surgeries; and
- designating certain GP practices as specialising in COVID‐19

There are a number of resources that will help including training for your practice and yourself and templates and communication sheets to help with your communication to patients.

In particular RACGP and the Commonwealth Department of Health have training videos and other tools available for you and your team.

This is a challenging time where information is rapidly evolving. No doubt you have been receiving information from the Departments of Health and your College. When you need more tailored assistance to manage coronavirus related issues in your practice please contact BHSI’s Medico-Legal Advisory Service on healthcareclaimsaustralia@bhspecialty.com or 1300 938 991.

For any insurance coverage questions please contact us on 1300 834 683.

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