Abortion clinic malpractice insurance types and requirements are the same as those for a general medical clinic. Individual states establish the malpractice insurance requirements for medical clinics within their borders. Therefore, the coverage held by abortion clinics will vary in each state.
Malpractice Insurance Explained
Malpractice insurance protects patients against a doctor, nurse, clinic, or hospital's mistreatment of their illness or injury. Mistreatment includes prescribing the wrong medications, performing improper tests, not performing required tests, and being reckless during a medical procedure, such as surgery. When a patient suffers injury from their medical treatment and they sue their doctor for compensation, they are paid through the physician's malpractice insurance.
The policy holder differs depending on the type of medical practice. Hospital and clinics purchase policies that cover all physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals they employ; independent medical practitioners purchase policies solely for themselves.
Not all states require medical professionals and medical care facilities to carry malpractice insurance. Additionally, insurance requirements may differ depending on the type of medicine practiced or the size of the facility. Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, for example, have no insurance requirement for physicians. Colorado, on the other hand, requires physicians to purchase insurance prior to becoming licensed. However, most medical care facilities, such as abortion clinics, carry insurance even if they are not being required to do so.
Abortion Clinics vs. Other Clinics
State laws do not consider abortion clinics to be any different than another type of clinic. In general, therefore, abortion clinics carry the same type of malpractice insurance as do other health care facilities. Physicians who perform abortions, but who are not employed directly by the clinic, may be independently insured.
Abortion Clinic Malpractice Insurance Policies
Abortion clinic malpractice insurance policies are similar to other types of insurance policies; the clinic pays a monthly premium amount for coverage in case they are sued. A policy is intended to pay for court costs, attorney's fees, and any compensation award resulting from a malpractice action. Therefore, the amount of a policy depends on the type of medicine practiced and the likelihood of a patient being injured.
Some states have minimum amounts, such as $2 million, of malpractice insurance a clinic must possess to legally operate. Failure to comply with these laws may result in the clinic being fined or forced to close its doors. Because of the controversy over abortions, abortion clinics may be more closely scrutinized to ensure that they comply with state laws.
Each state has different medical malpractice lawsuit procedures, but generally a patient files a claim against the clinic and the clinic informs the insurance company that it is a party to a lawsuit. Depending on the type of policy, the company will represent the clinic in any settlement negotiations or litigation and provide the clinic a list of pre-approved attorneys whose fees they will pay for or reimburse the clinic for.
The insurance company will also pay for any compensation negotiated or awarded to the patient. The clinic is responsible for any difference between the amount of their policy and the award.
If you as a patient sign a waiver, you might limit your ability sue for medical malpractice. However, waivers typically only prevent you from suing for known or common problems arising after an abortion and not from suing for any intentional or negligent medical treatment. This means that if your procedure is not performed as it should have been and you are injured as a result, you may be able to sue despite having signed a waiver.
Choosing a Clinic
If you are seeking the services of an abortion clinic, investigate its malpractice coverage. Most clinics will provide a certificate of insurance to patients who request them. Additionally, investigate whether the physician who will perform the procedure is covered by the policy. If not, ask for the physician's insurance information.