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Medical Malpractice Insurance for Anesthesiologists

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Why Are New York’s Anesthesiologists Choosing PRI as Their Medical Malpractice Insurance Carrier?

Anesthesiologist

PRI has some of the lowest anesthesiology rates for an admitted malpractice insurance carrier in New York

Get an instant quote today, and take advantage of PRI’s premium discount opportunities.

PRI is physician-owned and exclusive to New York

As a physician-owned professional liability insurance company exclusive to New York, PRI understands what it means to put the needs of New York Anesthesiologists first.

Spend less time managing your policy and more time caring for your patients

PRI understands that the last thing an anesthesiologist needs to do is to spend valuable time with mundane administrative tasks which is why PRI as developed PRIConnectSM.

PRIConnectSM is a suite of web-based tools designed to ensure that our physicians can easily manage their malpractice insurance policy. With PRIConnectSM, physicians can easily receive quotes and apply for malpractice insurance, access their premiums and deductibles, view invoices, generate certificates of insurance, and much more.

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Successful claims defense

As a physician-owned company, PRI understands that protecting your reputation and interests are our number one priority. If you are ever involved in a malpractice suit, you can rest assured knowing that our claims specialists will work tirelessly to investigate and strategize on your behalf. At PRI, we will put together a team of top legal, claims, insurance, and medical experts, including leading experts in anesthesiology, to bring forth the strongest defense possible on your behalf.

PRI understands that the use of regional and general anesthesia and analgesia can result in various adverse complications and that just because a patient experienced an adverse event, does not imply negligence. It is therefore important for anesthesiologists to select a malpractice carrier who understands that anesthesiology has inherent risks and that a case should not be settled merely because of a poor outcome.

  • In the past 12 months, PRI has received defense verdicts in over 90% of cases brought to trial.
  • PRI closed 84% of claims against PRI anesthesiologist without payment and secured a defense verdict in every case that proceeded to a jury verdict.
  • To learn more about our defense verdicts, click here.
  • To review an example of a PRI defense verdict obtained on behalf of an anesthesiologist, click here.

Comprehensive risk management services

PRI’s risk management and legal team has decades of experience supporting and advising our physicians on how to best mitigate risk in their practice. PRI provides telephone and in office risk management consultations services for both small and large practices.

Access to award-winning education

PRI’s award winning CME and MOC education programs combine the very best risk management and patient safety content into easy to learn, memorable online courses. PRI courses are approved by the Medical Society of the State of New York and the New York State Department of Financial Services for the New York State medical malpractice insurance premium discount and excess malpractice insurance program.

Also:

  • Stay informed with PRI’s legal briefs
  • Find specialty-specific risk management content with PRI’s original articles, videos, and posts.
  • Stay current by following PRI’s social media feeds for the latest news, information, and original articles.
  • Keep up to date with the latest malpractice trends by attending PRI’s webinars.

Physician peer support

No anesthesiologist wants to have an adverse event or become involved in a malpractice lawsuit. Unfortunately, it is impossible to completely eliminate risk, no matter how competent a physician may be. At PRI, we have trained, knowledgeable, experienced physicians to provide support to you if the need arises. Our anesthesiologist peer-supporters are available to have a confidential call to discuss an adverse event, litigation, or any frustrations or challenges related to practicing medicine today.

PRI also has monthly group peer support meetings for physicians who wish to have a confidential discussion with a group of peers.

In Focus – Anesthesiology Malpractice Claims

Anesthesiologists face an annual claim rate of 7.3%, which is very similar to the 7.4% average rate for all physicians. While anesthesiologists are sued about once every 13.7 years (approximately the same frequency as physicians overall), claims against anesthesiologists tend to have higher severity and higher average indemnity payouts with a 19.5% higher overall average physician indemnity when compared to average indemnity across all specialties, according to national data. Supporting this severity pattern, anesthesiologists are the fourth most common specialty to make indemnity payments exceeding $1 million; yet despite these high severity payments, anesthesiologists have been able to achieve a high level of safety given the inherent risks of their discipline.

As early as 1984, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) started the Closed Claims Project database under the presidency of Ellison Pierce, Jr., M.D., a prominent figure in the field of anesthesia patient safety. Those early days of risk management in anesthesia led to data-driven developments identifying the need for pulse oximetry, the early use of epinephrine for the treatment of bradycardia, and the immediate use of a full resuscitation dose of epinephrine in the presence of asystole. Today’s anesthesiologists use a wide array of risk assessment strategies such as the ASA Physical Status Classification System and the Mallampati scoring system; along with a myriad of risk control techniques from capnometers, to standardized, color-coded drug carts, to the use of non-Luer connectors to prevent wrong-route medication errors, and much more.

Errors leading to malpractice suits in anesthesiology can be analyzed as being attributable to departures in three phases, the pre-anesthesia phase, anesthesia phase, and post-anesthesia phase. In the pre-anesthesia phase errors tend to occur when risk assessment tools are not employed, not documented or employed and documented but not followed. An example of the latter would be where an anesthesiologist identifies a high risk patient through an appropriate airway assessment, documents his findings, but proceeds to administer anesthesia in the outpatient setting. Effective patient communication, excellent informed consent processes, and thorough patient assessments are important to mitigating errors arising from this phase of care.

Errors that can lead to malpractice risk in the anesthesia phase are usually attributable to poor technical skill (e.g. dental injury on intubation), or failures to follow proper standards and protocols. For example, an anesthesiologist may routinely silence alarm settings because the sound is bothersome to the team, resulting in a failure to timely recognize hypoxia. Strategies such as staying current on the state of the art of anesthesia care and following modern safety rules and guidelines are instrumental to avoiding errors in this setting.

Errors in the post-anesthesia phase are attributable to poor monitoring and follow-up in the post-anesthesia period of care. For example, an anesthesiologist has a difficult intubation but never followed the patient post-operatively to ensure that the patient was doing well after the difficult intubation. The following day, the patient developed swallowing difficulties and ultimately a paratracheal soft tissue infection went unappreciated because the anesthesiologist did not follow up or alert anyone about the possibility of airway trauma. Proper post-anesthesia care in recover, patient follow-up, and communicating complications to other members of the care team are important to preventing errors that may lead to lawsuits against anesthesiologists. Another emerging area of risk for anesthesiologists relates to the vicarious liability associated with the supervision of CRNAs. Anesthesiologists practicing interventional pain management tend to have higher malpractice risk due to the higher risk associated with many of the procedures performed and therefore typically have malpractice premiums that are 20% higher on average, than anesthesiologists who do not practice interventional pain management.

 

References

  1. Christopher M. Burkle, M.D., J.D. MANUAL ON PROFESSIONAL  An informational manual compiled by the ASA Committee on Professional Liability. 2019
  2. S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Practitioner Data Bank 2012 Annual Report. https://www.npdb.hrsa.gov/resources/ reports/2012NPDBAnnualReport.pdf. Published February 2014. Last accessed May 7, 2019.
  3. Jena AB, Seabury S, Lakdawalla D, Chandra A. Malpractice risk according to physician specialty. N Engl J Med. 2011;365(7):629-636.
  4. Cheney FS.The American Society of Anesthesiologists Closed Claims Project: The Beginning Anesthesiology 10 2010, Vol.113, 957-960. doi:10.1097/ALN.

 

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