Your business covered
BMS Group, the official broker for the APA member insurance program, provides a breakdown of the policies you need as a business owner. So what types of insurance should you be looking at?
As a physiotherapist, insurance is crucial for you to stay registered with AHPRA, but things can get a bit complex, especially if you are a business owner.
A guaranteed part of physiotherapy practice is daily interaction with patients; therefore, there is a risk that patients might look to hold the treating clinician responsible for injuries they consider to be a result of physiotherapy treatment.
Professional indemnity is covered by the APA member insurance program and responds if you are being sued for injury or damages that have resulted from negligence, error, omission or malpractice that has arisen out of your professional capacity as a physiotherapist.
If a complaint is made against you to AHPRA, professional indemnity covers your legal costs and is organised and paid for by the insurance company—even in circumstances where you are found to be at fault. And if damages or patient compensation are awarded by the court, your professional indemnity policy covers this too.
Although uncommon, criminal charges can also be filed against healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists, based on interactions with patients. In these circumstances, this policy will reimburse the legal costs associated with your defence if you are found not guilty.
Public liability is important for physiotherapists to cover against claims arising from injury or property damage that you (or your business, including your staff) may cause to another person as a result of your processes and/or premises. For example, a patient comes into your clinic for her appointment on a wet day and on her way to reception she slips and falls on the wet floor, breaking her arm. The patient may look to hold you (as the business owner) or your business responsible for her injury.
Public liability can also protect against property damage. This applies to physiotherapists working as independent practitioners who contract their services and to business owners. If you are an independent contractor and accidentally cause damage to the property in which you are working, the property owner may look to hold you responsible for compensating them for the costs of repairs.
Your APA policy automatically includes public liability cover for you as an individual but needs to be extended to cover your business via the ‘business entity cover’.
Business entity cover
This policy responds if your business name is brought into a statement of claim or lawsuit alleging negligence or malpractice. Following an incident, a patient’s legal counsel will commonly name all individuals involved in the patient’s care, including the business or clinic as the larger provider of services.
If you work independently or are a sole practitioner, or if your business only employs physiotherapists, your APA individual policy covers this risk at no extra cost. To receive business entity cover, your entity name must be placed on your insurance policy and appear on your insurance certificate of currency.
Private practice owners may have non-physiotherapists working in the clinic, including high-risk professions from a claims perspective; therefore, coming into effect for the 2019 policy year, if you employ any health professionals that are not physiotherapists, cover is not automatically provided under the member insurance program. It is recommended that you purchase a business entity extension policy if other health professionals (eg, co-owners, chiropractors, exercise physiologists) are working for or on behalf of your business and/or billing under your business name.
How to apply
BMS will then provide you with a quotation based on the number of employed professionals who are physiotherapists and non-physiotherapists performing work outside the scope of physiotherapy.
For more information about APA member insurance program, call 1800 931 068 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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