Home health aides are a vital part of the US healthcare system.
They look after some of society’s most vulnerable people, every day. And they provide invaluable support to doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.
Assisting patients with everyday tasks, helping them stay social and active, monitoring their health, changing bandages, and much more.
It’s easy to see why our country employs over 3.6 million of them.
But their job isn’t easy. It brings them face-to-face with a lot of risks. Many of which could land them in hot water if something goes wrong.
Whether you’re self-employed or a business owner, these risks are nothing to sneeze at.
Especially if you don’t have the right home health aides’ insurance.
When you think of home health aide risks, this is probably the first that comes to mind.
It’s worrying just how easily an injury can happen. Especially with a vulnerable or frail person.
A patient could fall over your misplaced bag and break their hip while you’re at their home. Or you could accidentally drop hot soup on their lap.
These kinds of accidents are what general liability insurance is for.
If it’s found that the accident was your fault, it’ll cover your patient’s medical expenses. So you’re not left with a huge bill to pay. And they don’t have to fork out to pay their medical insurance’s deductible.
When you’re going into someone else’s home, damaging their property can cause a lot of aggravation.
You might accidentally knock over an expensive vase. Or spill coffee on their tablet.
Worse still, you could damage something they rely on. Like their mobile phone or intercom.
Depending on what you damage, a claim could cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
As luck would have it, though, you’ve already bought general liability insurance. And it covers you for property damage too.
If the accident was your fault, it’ll pay to repair or replace whatever was damaged. So the cost of that brand-new iPhone or vintage baseball card won’t be coming out of your pocket.
Because you charge for your services, a patient could sue you if they think you’ve made a mistake.
As a healthcare professional, you might also be accused of breaching your duty of care.
A patient can even sue if you’ve done nothing wrong. You’ll still have to go through the legal process to prove you’re not at fault.
Let’s say that one of your patients is hospitalised with an infection. They sue you because they believe that you didn’t change their dressings often enough.
This is where professional liability insurance comes in.
Regardless of whether it was your fault, it’ll cover your legal costs and any settlement you might have to pay.
What’s the difference between general liability and professional liability insurance?
We’re going to take a quick pit stop here to answer a question you might have: what exactly is the difference between general liability and professional liability insurance?
Well, the biggest difference is that general liability doesn’t cover claims related to your work. So it covers accidents that lead to physical injury or property damage, but aren’t due to negligence related to your service.
On the other hand, professional liability protects you against claims that directly relate to your work. In your case, as a health aide, this would probably be medical negligence.
Having the right home health aides’ insurance in place will cover you for both kinds of liability.
Employee injury or illness
This one will only be a risk if you run your own health aide business.
If you employ people, whether it’s full-time or part-time, then you need to be ready for employee injury or illness.
More specifically, injury or illness caused by the work they do for you.
One of your health aides might develop back problems because they didn’t receive any manual handling training. Or you might catch something from a patient that puts you out of work for a while.
In cases like this, workers’ compensation insurance kicks in.
It covers the costs of workplace illness and injury claims. Like paying for your employee’s medical bills or lost earnings.
Oh, and it’s also a legal requirement in most states. If you don’t have it, the penalties can be debilitating, so make sure to check your state’s requirements.
Do you take any equipment with you on patient visits?
Maybe a laptop, mobile phone, or portable blood pressure monitor?
If you do, then equipment damage is a risk that you need to prepare for.
Luckily, that’s what business personal property insurance (BPP) is for.
It protects all the equipment that you carry with you to patient visits. And even some of your items in your home office, like your desktop PC.
If they’re damaged or stolen, BPP will pay to repair or replace them.
Like employee injury or illness, you’ll probably only be concerned about cyber-attacks if you run your own business.
Storing patient data is risky. So is transferring money, operating a website, and sending sensitive information by email.
For small business owners, paying top dollar for a state-of-the-art cybersecurity system isn’t realistic. So you need to protect yourself if you are attacked.
Let’s say you store your patient data in a Google sheet. One day, your Google account is breached and cybercriminals make off with your entire database.
You could face legal action from patients, fines from the US government, and a tricky technical situation to fix.
Cyber insurance is there to save the day.
It provides 24/7 technical support to get you back on your feet. And pays for any legal fees and compensation you might owe.
Look after your business
As a home health aide, you face a lot of risks every day. The work you do is important, but it can lead to claims from patients and patient’s families.
Ignoring these risks can do some serious damage to your business and your livelihood.
Not sure what kind of home health aides’ insurance you need? Give us a call on 978.344.4215.
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