Medical malpractice is the professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider whose treatment provided to a patient falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient. This is the basic premise of medical malpractice whether the service is delivered in-person or via telehealth. Regardless of the modality in which the services are delivered, a provider must be aware that he or she may be subject to the potential of a malpractice suit.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are a possibility all health care providers face. Claims of malpractice liability involving telehealth have been few and most existing cases have been settled out of court with the final settlements sealed. However, as telehealth as a means of delivering services becomes more pervasive, it is likely the number of malpractice suits will increase.
Providers should confirm with their carriers that their current malpractice insurance covers those services provided via telehealth and if the provider is practicing across state lines, that their coverage extends into that other state.
While some malpractice insurance will cover services provided via telehealth, not all carriers operate in the same fashion. Additional coverage may need to be purchased. Providers should ascertain they are adequately covered by their carrier or seek out another if necessary.
Additionally, carriers may not extend their coverage to other states. Due to various reasons such as lack of ceilings to malpractice awards, a provider’s current malpractice carrier may not be able or willing to provide coverage across state lines. Providers should check with their carriers before embarking on providing services outside of their home state.
Providers may also want to consider seeking out some type of cyber liability coverage to protect against data breaches and hacking.