Will I be covered if a patient claims I gave them the Virus?

Good afternoon, west coast, I’m sorry, good morning, west coast. Good afternoon, east coast. I am Eric Hoffman, executive director here at Cairo Secure with the five minute crisis response for chiropractors. In the next few weeks, we are going to have some of these five minute sessions to review the COVID-19 pandemic and how it relates to your practice and your liability. They’ll be occurring Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the same time, so make sure you tune in and we’ll go through anything and everything that we can possibly advise you on and offer some additional guidance.

Today what we want to touch on is the most common question that we’ve been getting so far as a malpractice insurance carrier. That question is, will I be covered if I give this virus to one of my patients? To start, here at Cairo Secure, our malpractice insurance policies do not have any exclusion for communicable diseases or viruses or anything of the like.

That being said, we cannot give a coverage opinion or a coverage determination unless and until an actual claim comes about. Will a claim come about? Highly unlikely. As you would guess, you’re all doctors and you probably know by now it will be nearly impossible for somebody to actually point this back to you if they wind up getting a positive test result for the virus. So the likelihood and the liability in my opinion are very low there. What’s higher in liability is the act of negligence and that’s kind of what I want to touch on in a little bit more detail today. Being negligent is one of the components that attorneys go after when filing a malpractice lawsuit. Negligence means a lot of different things and in this type of pandemic, what that means to me is going directly against recommendations and guidelines given by the CDC, the state health department, your city ordinances, et cetera.

So for instance, the likelihood of that coming up is much higher than somebody claiming that you gave them a virus. It’s, using an extreme example that I give, you shouldn’t be having parties at your clinic with 150 plus people sharing food, sharing drinks, giving hugs, shaking hands. That is clearly negligent in something like this that’s going on right now. Obviously, most of you, hopefully, will know that and the best we can share is to continue following those CDC guidelines, continuing following the state health department in your state’s guidance as well as any city ordinances that come in place. There’s a lot of discussion about the city ordinances, what you can and cannot do, whether you’re essential health care providers. To be clear, our opinion is you are absolutely essential healthcare providers, but we don’t make the laws, so you need to pay attention to your city ordinances and whatever your state’s requiring that you do as a chiropractor, read those orders in detail. If you have questions, we’re here to field those, but you need to follow those rules and guidelines. That’s the most important thing.

If you don’t, that’s where the negligence can come into play. And if somebody or some group of people see you directly violating that or being that one person that says, “Screw it, I’m going to do what I want to do and I’m going to help these people.” Whether you’re right or wrong, that, in the eyes of the law and the government, is not a good thing. So make sure you’re paying attention and staying up to date. We’re doing our best to do the same and put out information as it comes. As you know, the situation’s fluid and it continues to change, it continues to update and we will be on top of it as best we can to help guide you all and make sure you are well protected.

So for today, that’s all we’re going to address, but if you view today’s video and you have additional questions, please put them in the comments and we will do our best to address them in future episodes. As I mentioned before, we will be doing these for the foreseeable future on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the same time. It’ll be 9:00 AM Pacific, 12:00 PM Eastern. So tune in, make sure you watch and if you have any questions you can call us in the meantime at our office. Otherwise we will look forward to speaking with you soon. Please make sure you stay safe and stay positive. Thank you.

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