As the Baby Boomer population ages, home health care is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, home health care is the largest growing segment of the health care industry, with experts predicting a 46 percent increase in home health care services from 2008 to 2018.
Elderly patients needing continued post-acute care after their hospital discharge can choose whether to go to a skilled nursing facility for treatment or to have medical professionals come to them at home.
What this means is that home health care agencies are opening their doors for the first time and are having to meet the States and Federal governments requirements for licensing, insurance, etc. The typical requirements for insurance include general liability and workers compensation coverage. While these policies are musts, they do not cover all the exposures and potentials for financial losses home health care agency may experience.
Home health care agencies assume a tremendous amount of risk. There will be, unfortunately, things that will occasionally go wrong with patients. Even the best health care clinician may encounter a difficult and adverse experience.
As a Home Health Care Agency owner, you have to be prepared for the legal and financial ramifications of things gone wrong. It is your responsibility to ensure that your clients, employees and your self are protected.
Health care offices and facilities have mistakes, problems and emergencies–but also the resources to deal with things gone wrong. Out in the field, clinicians working in other people’s homes have limited equipment and no other health care professionals around to assist. Treating in the field is riskier than providing care in a facility.
As an employer, you take on the additional risk of being unable to supervise your employees. Field clinicians are more difficult to support and to quality check. Just as much as employees put you at risk in the field, so do clients. Each time you send a clinician into someone’s home, your employee is instantly at risk, as well. You have no idea what those homes are like, if the environment is safe and sanitary or what the people in that home are like.
Clinicians working in home health settings have can be subject to abuse and violence. Yet you are still subject to work environment standards set by the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
It is extremely vital that home health agency owners know what coverage’s are available to them. Professional liability provides home health are agencies protection for their agency and their clinicians. It protects against malpractice and clinician misconduct. Since owners are limited on the amount of time they can spend supervising their employees, professional liability provides them this protection.
There are other risks that an agency has outside of their clients homes. This is were general liability insurance is very important. General liability protects your business should injury or property damage occur to others as a result of your business operations. For example, your clinicians drive on company business. You can be held liable both for accidents they may cause and accidents that may befall them. General liability insurance addresses your business decisions, business risks and general exposure to lawsuits.
Workers compensation is a must have for Home Health Care. It is an insurance that most states require all employers to carry. For home health agencies, the fact that your employees’ work environments are the unpredictable home environments of their patients. Workers compensation protects you and your employees in the event that the employee is injured while working. Two of the most common injuries in the home health care industry is, back strains and trip/falls.
If you do not have workers compensation insurance, the employee may sue your company for their damages. One lawsuit could potentially cause a company to close their does due to the financial burden. This is why workers compensation insurance is important for all business owners to have.
Please take the time to review your current policies to ensure you are completely protected. If you do not have coverage, you need to contact your agent immediately!