Many times I see information on the Locum companies website or marketing material that opens them up to liability. The most common areas are:
- Using "ownership" language - Something as simple as stating "our providers" on your website and marketing material can make it appear as though the contracted providers are your employees. In the event of a malpractice claim, it will usually be the goal of the Plaintiff to prove that the providers are your employee rather than contractor (once they do this it connects the dots for vicarious liability of the corporation). Since this is already a very grey area of the law and open to interpretation, it is usually best to not have any information that insinuates you have control or ownership of the providers.
- Credentialing - Statements like "We only credential the very best providers" can also be damaging. Usually you don't "credential" as you are merely "verifying credentials". Additionally, this opens your entity up to liability for the negligent credentialing of these providers (which may or may nor be covered by your policy).
- Malpractice Insurance - A common piece of marketing material or provider and client contracts include the malpractice insurance. Many times that verbiage goes something along the lines of "We provide A rated malpractice insurance (sometimes "comprehensive" or "with tail" is included here too) at limits of $1,000,000/$3,000,000 for all 50 states. From a risk management perspective, I usually don't like to include limits of liability in marketing material as it may entice a Plaintiff attorney. Also, if the word "comprehensive" is included in there, and the situation becomes uncovered, or a reservation of rights letter comes out, it may give the Plaintiff a cause of action against you. Next, going back to that ownership position, the word "provide" can tend to show ownership. I would usually like to use "facilitate" or "arrange". As an aside, one of the few exceptions where an insurance policy can be brought into a suit is to show ownership. Next, there are situations (compensation funds) where you are not providing $1,000,000 worth of coverage. There are also situations (usually New York and Virginia) where you are providing more than $1,000,000. Someone could allege breach of contract if you maintain lower, or higher, limits than you advertised.
What are items in my marketing material that increase risk?