Being sued for malpractice is a major concern to most healthcare professionals. But three are other insurance issues that must concern doctors:
- Medicare Investigations
- Coronial Inquests
- AHPRA / Medical Board Investigations.
Medical Indemnity Insurance in Australia covers Medical Investigations, Coronial Inquests and Regulators – AHPRA / Medical Board Investigations
Only a small percentage of doctors end up being investigated by Medicare, however, for those who are the subject of an investigation, it is a harrowing experience.
There is a lot at stake, potentially a significant part of your livelihood. The
investigation process can be slow which of course causes high level of stress.
Often the first contact the doctor has is a telephone call from the appointed investigator. Just remember Medicare Investigators are NOT a doctor’s friend. Now is the time to contact your Medical Indemnity Insurance agent.
As in the case with Medicare, often the first contact the doctor has is a request from Police for a
Statement outlining the doctor’s involvement with the deceased. The doctor is most often not aware, at this stage, what other information the police have or will obtain during the investigation. Doctors often do not have access to the patient’s complete medical history and providing a statement in such circumstances can be fraught with danger.
Inquest investigations can last many months and in some cases years. It is important that the doctor understands that it can be a very drawn out process and they need to be prepared for that. Don’t wait to contact your Medical Indemnity Insurance provider.
Regulators – AHPRA / Medical Board Investigations
Some doctors are reluctant to seek the assistance of their insurer because of a fear that if they notify the insurer that they are being investigated by the Board, the insurer will immediately think they must be a bad doctor and they will be penalised in some way. Of course, the complete opposite is the case and the early involvement of the insurer can often avoid a much worse outcome.
Plus AHPRA Investigations are slow. These are often not well focused and they can morph into something different to how they started. Therefore it is imperative that doctors get advice before acting.
Medical Indemnity Insurance in Australia is one of the most complex areas of general insurance and is often the most misunderstood. There is a raft of legislation which is designed to protect registered healthcare practitioners (and patient’s rights to seek compensation when mistakes occur). Contact a Medical Indemnity Insurance advisor to find out more.
This publication is general in nature and is not comprehensive or constitute legal or medical advice. You should seek legal, medical or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practice proper clinical decision making with regard to individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Tego Insurance Pty Ltd is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this information.
Eric is the CEO of Tego, an insurance agency offering specialist indemnity insurance solutions for the healthcare and life sciences sectors. His qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in business and law, a master’s degree from UNSW in law and management and an MBA from the AGSM.