Later in life, many people will move into a skilled nursing facility. There, they can receive round the clock care according to their needs, have easy access to medications and meals, and socialize with companions. Skilled nursing facilities provide these and other services to their residents, but in the course of doing so, they are subjected to many risks. A resident’s jewelry or possessions could be stolen from their room, an employee could accidentally give out doses of the wrong medicine, or a guest visiting their grandma or grandpa could slip and fall in a facility’s hallway. To protect their operations and staff in case of a claim or financial loss, they need nursing facility insurance coverage. An independent insurance agent who has worked with companies in the elder care and long-term care businesses can guide directors and owners of skilled nursing facilities in choosing the proper policy.
Like any other business, skilled nursing facilities will need a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy with coverage in case someone is injured, or financially harmed as a result of the act or omission of a staff member. They will also need building insurance for their facility’s building, itself, along with commercial auto insurance if vans, buses, or cars are used to transport residents to and from grocery stores, area hospitals, physical therapy sessions, or other appointments. Depending on a skilled nursing facility’s coverage needs, and whether they are looking to change or add onto their current business insurance policy, or buy a new one, an independent insurance agent will be of assistance.
An experienced independent insurance agent can discuss workers’ compensation insurance, in case an employee is injured or becomes ill on the job, and he might also go over crime insurance coverage, and insurance for business property, and business personal property, which can cover items owned by a facility, and items owned by its workers while they are on the premises, in case of loss, damage, or theft.
In working with an independent insurance agent, owners and administrators of skilled nursing facilities should expect that he will ask questions about the medical equipment on site, training and licensing of staff, and how long it takes to get to the nearest hospital emergency room from the site of the facility. He will also want to know whether doors to the premises are locked at all times, and if so, the fire safety measures taken by staff, and whether the building has a working, centrally monitored fire alarm system. Also, an independent insurance professional will most certainly inquire about the number of residents living in the skilled nursing facility, and he might want to know the ratio of staff to residents, along with whether most residents are private pay, or government funded.
Since medical records are usually kept electronically these days, directors of skilled nursing facilities may want to speak to an independent insurance agent about buying cyber liability insurance coverage, in case residents’ online records are inadvertently lost, or intentionally stolen. Also, an independent agent might recommend that they purchase coverage for underground pipes, and for sewage and drain back-up as a cause of loss, just in case their skilled nursing facility experiences heavy rains, or problems with pipes in or around the building. He might even note that some insurance companies provide coverage for facilities in case emergency vacating of the premises is required, or in the event of total destruction. He will discuss the nuances of choosing a skilled nursing facility commercial insurance policy to make sure that these businesses get the coverage they require. That way, they can continue to provide skilled nursing services to others even after a claim.
Whether it is on a long-term, or temporary basis, at some point, many people will have to hire a nurse or personal care provider for themselves, their spouse, or another loved one. For those who contract with a nurse or personal care provider, it can feel like they are taking a risk by letting a stranger into their own, or a family member’s home. An aide will provide services, but at the same time, have access to all of their personal belongings at a time when the person being cared for is in a vulnerable position. Likewise, for providers themselves, the situation that they face on a daily basis also poses a handful of risks. They might face allegations of stealing items from a client’s jewelry box, entering into an improper relationship with the person they are caring for, providing inadequate services, or even negligence or fraud. To protect themselves and their business from legal and financial exposure in the event of a lawsuit or claim, personal care providers and nurses need to have a business insurance policy with coverage they can count on if a client alleges misconduct, or they have an accident on the job.
Most nurses and personal care aides who work for an organization probably know that their business is covered with commercial insurance. However, for those who own their own business, or manage a service that needs a new policy, an independent insurance agent can help them choose the appropriate coverage. An experienced independent business insurance agent has worked with nurses and health aides, and others in the medical and personal care services fields. She understands their needs when it comes to commercial insurance, and can help managers and business owners select a policy with suitable coverage.
Most home health and personal care services agencies are privately owned, so an independent insurance agent will want to start by meeting with the owner or owners of a business. If they are interested in buying a new policy, or just want to change, or beef up their current coverage, she will assess their understanding of their commercial insurance needs to make sure owners know what they are buying when they choose a particular policy. Also, since she has access to business insurance policies from a number of different insurance providers, an independent insurance agent can discuss the terms of each available option, along with what is excluded from coverage, policy limits, and applicable rates with owners of nursing and personal care services companies.
In meeting with a person who runs this kind of service, an independent insurance agent will want to gather some background information about the business to make sure she is familiar with its particular risk exposures and coverage requirements. She will ask about where the primary office of the business is located, the number of employees, and whether each employee is licensed. She will also inquire about whether services provided are typically privately paid by clients, or if they are most often Medicare-funded. She might also want to know about the nature of the actual nursing services provided by staff members, and may ask about how long shifts last, and the number of clients cared for by nurses and personal care aides working for a business at a given time. If aides or other staff use company-owned vans, or other vehicles to perform work functions, an independent insurance agent will probably recommend that the organization purchase commercial auto insurance. She will also go over the basics of commercial general liability insurance (CGL) coverage, professional liability insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance, in case an employee is injured while working.
Additionally, based on a business’s practices, an independent insurance agent will probably discuss the value of buying building insurance for their business’s property, employee benefits and employment practices insurance, and especially coverage for physical or sexual abuse claims. Also, insurance for errors and omissions, and even cyber liability insurance, in case of a breach of privacy involving clients’ personal files stored in a company’s database, might be advisable for a personal care services and nursing business. An experienced independent insurance agent will work with owners to make sure that their organization secures the right nursing and personal care business insurance policy, so that staff members and the company can continue to offer vital services to clients even if they are faced with a claim.
Skilled nursing care centers provide people in need of extended care, and those who are elderly and require long-term assistance, with a place to live and receive the round-the-clock care that they need. Typically, skilled nursing care facilities may employ doctors, but most of the staff consists of nurses, aides, and administrative workers. Because they are dealing with injured or ill patients and clients every day, skilled nursing facility staff members are always at risk of being accused of giving the wrong medication or treatment, inappropriately interacting with a patient, or otherwise making a mistake on the job. To protect employees against these and other claims, which could lead to legal and financial liability for a worker and a skilled nursing facility, owners and directors of these businesses need to have a commercial insurance policy.
Within a skilled nursing facility, directors, administrators, and staff work with patients with chronic conditions. Some may be able to return home after a time, while others may stay for ongoing care. In the course of working with so many individuals during a period of immense need in their lives, employees of these facilities find themselves in situations where they are at risk of being accused of improper conduct; for instance, they may spend time one-on-one with a patient, handle an individual’s personal items, or convey sensitive information about care to concerned family members. Because workers are subject to allegations of malpractice in these situations, skilled nursing facilities should be covered with professional liability insurance, and general liability coverage.
An independent insurance agent who has worked with skilled nursing facility owners, directors of nursing homes, and hospital administrators, knows the concerns that those in the healthcare industry have about adequately insuring their organization. She is familiar with the primary risks to these facilities in general, and she will determine the exposures of a specific skilled nursing business based on its location, the services provided on site, and other factors. Also, since she has access to business insurance policies offered by a number of different insurance companies, an independent insurance agent can recommend a variety of options available to skilled nursing facilities, so that their owners or directors can choose coverage suited to their particular facility, at a reasonable price.
Since most skilled nursing facilities already have business insurance coverage, an independent insurance agent can help owners determine whether they should change, or add on to their existing coverage, or buy a new policy. Besides liability or medical malpractice insurance, she will probably discuss how these organizations need to have workers’ compensation insurance, and coverage for employment practices liability in case of allegations of discrimination by a staff member. She may also recommend that they have liability coverage for employee benefits, and insurance for claims of physical or sexual abuse. She can discuss policy limits, and whether coverage should be underwritten by a surplus lines insurance carrier.
An independent insurance agent will likely mention that directors themselves have an interest in making sure their facility has errors and omissions coverage, and insurance for directors’ and officers’ liability. Also, like other businesses, skilled nursing facilities need property and casualty coverage, and they may want stop loss insurance in case they suddenly lose a staff member to a temporary illness, or because of death. And, because most facilities now keep medical and other patient records online, an independent commercial insurance agent will probably recommend that they maintain cyber liability coverage, in case of a breach or failure of their database.
A knowledgeable independent insurance agent will work with directors of skilled nursing facilities to make sure that they understand where their business’s most significant exposures lie. She will help them ensure that they have the most basic kinds of coverage they need, along with insurance for specific things, such as for the expenses of attending court, or non-owned vehicle liability. Then, in case of a claim, they know that their skilled nursing facility has a commercial insurance policy they can turn to for the appropriate coverage.
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