MedPro Group (“MedPro”), a Berkshire Hathaway company, is the nation’s first provider of healthcare liability insurance (since 1899). With over $1 billion in annual premiums and more than 200,000 clients, MedPro “is the national leader in customized insurance, claims and patient safety & risk solutions for physicians, surgeons, dentists and other healthcare professionals, as well as hospitals, senior care and other healthcare facilities.”
MedPro has provided the following COVID-19-related medical malpractice insurance coverage guidance to its insureds:
Question: Am I covered for patient claims involving COVID-19, including the unintentional transmission of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)?
Answer: Yes. We expect most patient claims alleging professional negligence relating to COVID-19 would be covered. MedPro has no plans to modify or restrict existing coverage as it relates to COVID-19. If you’re concerned about coverage for COVID-19 claims involving transmission of the virus to employees, we suggest reviewing your workers compensation policy for potential coverage. For claims involving transmission of the virus to members of the general public, we suggest reviewing your general liability policy for potential coverage.
Question: Do I need to maintain my liability insurance in light of the recent HHS declaration granting limited immunity from liability for certain providers treating COVID-19 patients?
Answer: While the scope of the HHS declaration referenced below is subject to interpretation, it does not appear to broadly grant providers immunity from professional liability for most actions related to COVID-19. The specific application of the declaration will depend on the particular facts and circumstances of each case. In the event a claim is made against you, MedPro will defend any covered claim regardless of whether immunity applies.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a Declaration effective February 4, 2020 pursuant to the federal Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act). Under that Declaration, licensed health professionals are immune from liability for prescribing, administering, or dispensing “Covered Countermeasures” – defined as “any antiviral, any other drug, any biologic, any diagnostic, any other device, or any vaccine, used to treat, diagnose, cure, prevent, or mitigate COVID-19, or the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 or a virus mutating therefrom, or any device used in the administration of any such product, and all components and constituent materials of any such product.”
While there is uncertainty about how this HHS declaration may apply to “off label use” of drugs to treat COVID-19 (e.g., Hydroxychoroquine + Azrithomycin), HHS has developed PREP Act Q&As, according to which prescription/ administration of off-label or unapproved drugs can be within the scope of the immunity, provided that the drug has been authorized by the FDA for emergency or investigational use justifying its use to treat COVID-19. In any event, MedPro policies do not necessarily exclude use of “off label” drugs for treatment of COVID-19 or other conditions.
Question: Will my policy provide coverage for volunteer work?
Answer: Yes, for insureds already covered on a policy. If someone is not currently an insured on a policy, they must apply for coverage with MedPro in order to be added to the policy. In addition, there may be protections afforded to individuals under certain state Good Samaritan laws.
Question: (UPDATED 4/6/20 ) Will my coverage remain in force if I am temporarily practicing in a new state (whether care is provided in-person or remotely) in which I AM NOT authorized or licensed to practice?
Answer: Yes, if your practice in that new state is being conducted under an applicable federal or state waiver. Please refer to the Federation of State Medical Boards for some helpful information about state medical board actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Question: Will my coverage remain in force if I temporarily convert some or all of my existing practice to telemedicine or virtual office visits for existing and/or new patients?
Answer: Yes, as long as those patients are located in a state(s) in which you are authorized or licensed to practice, even if your practice in that new state is being conducted under an applicable federal or state waiver. You do not need to notify us about such temporary changes. However, starting a new practice or business (with a new patient base) will require an application and will be subject to underwriting review.
Question: Will my coverage remain in force if I am temporarily practicing in/from a different physical location (e.g., another facility, office, parking lot, temporary testing center)?
Answer: Yes, as long as those patients are located in a state(s) in which you are authorized or licensed to practice, even if your practice in that new state is being conducted under an applicable federal or state waiver. You do not need to notify us about such temporary changes.
Question: Will my policy provide coverage if we rehire retired or inactive doctors, advanced practice providers and staff?
Answer: Such individuals may (re)apply for coverage and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. We will not consider such temporary practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic a breach of permanent retirement provisions for free tail coverage.
Question: Do I need to maintain my liability insurance in NY in light of the recent State of New York Executive Order granting immunity to certain providers for claims arising out of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak?
Answer: The State of New York issued Executive Order 202.10 on March 23, 2020. Among its provisions is a grant of immunity to physicians, physician assistants, specialist assistants, nurse practitioners, licensed registered professional nurses and licensed practical nurses for many claims that may arise out of providing medical services in support of the State’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the scope of immunity is not entirely clear, and it does not extend to injury or death caused by “gross negligence.” The specific application of the Executive Order will depend on the particular facts and circumstances of each case. In the event a claim is made against you, MedPro will defend any covered claim regardless of whether immunity applies.
The scope of state actions such as this are subject to interpretation. Questions about similar or potential developments in your state are best directed to your local legislators and elected officials.
If you or a loved one may have a COVID-19 medical malpractice claim in the United States, you should promptly contact a local COVID-19 medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your COVID-19 malpractice claim for you and represent you and/or your loved one in a COVID-19 medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find COVID-19 claim attorneys in your U.S. state who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.