Medical Malpractice News

Does Your Ambulatory Surgery Center Carry Proper Medical Malpractice Insurance?

Tags: | Comments: 0 | March 25th, 2011

Today in the United States, surgery centers have started to become increasingly more popular due to the ease of access and efficiency they offer to the physicians and surgeons who practice within the center as well as to the patients that use them. As a relatively new trend in the health care industry, most surgery centers are newly constructed with state of the art equipment. The majority of surgery centers were started by physicians who were looking to gain a better margin than what the hospital would pay them and as an asset vehicle. Many of these surgery centers are physician owned and operated.

Three Surgeons Operating Pateint in Ambulatory Surgery Center

Patients do not have to deal with hospitals and the large number of patients when they go to a surgery center. There is a theory, which as the number of surgery centers increase, the number of unnecessary surgeries increases as well. Surgery centers are appealing to physicians and surgeons mainly because of their high revenue and high turnover. The average number of cases per day for a surgery center is approximately 15. This is a significantly higher average than most hospitals performing surgical procedures. Their total annual net revenue average estimate is nearly $5.9 million and their operating expenses averages out to $5.1 million. This gives the owners approximately an $800,000 profit for the entire year. Operating costs for surgical centers are much lower than typical surgical locations in hospitals, in turn is why doctors are choosing this option.

There are many different types of surgery centers and they are able to specialize in all types of surgery, including but not limited to; plastic surgery, ophthalmology surgery, abdominal surgery, pain management and orthopedic surgery.

Surgery Centers by the Numbers

For every 100,000 residents, the yearly number of colonoscopies and endoscopies has increased by 1,610 and 775 respectively after an ambulatory surgery center has been opened. This has increased to an additional 25,000 colonoscopies and 9,800 endoscopies between the years of 2002 and 2006 just within the state of Florida.

The total number of surgical centers in the United States remains growing:

  • 2000 — 3,208 : 740 (23.1 percent)
  • 2002 — 3,570 : 787 (22.0 percent)
  • 2004 — 3,957 : 984 (24.9 percent)
  • 2006 — 5,349 : 1,341 (25.1 percent)
  • 2008 — 5,876 : 2,136 (36.4 percent)

Where Surgery is Performed, Medical Malpractice Litigation Follows

Whether it is from medical errors or frivolous malpractice claims, physicians, surgeons and medical malpractice insurance companies are at risk of a medical malpractice claim. The most common errors in surgery centers occur from; anesthesia error, infection, and errors with patient consent. The majority of surgery centers require each physician to carry medical malpractice insurance and show proof of their certificate of insurance in order to perform surgery at that center. Surgery centers credential physicians and surgeons just like hospitals do with medical license and background checks.

Surgery Centers Need to Carry Their Own Medical Malpractice Insurance

The most critical point for surgery centers is that they need to carry their own medical malpractice insurance. Medical liability insurance covers both indemnity payments and defense costs. If a physician or surgeon is sued for a procedure they did at the surgery center, you can bet the surgery center will be named as well. Surgery centers carry medical malpractice insurance to defend the corporation in the event of a malpractice claim. Typically, surgery centers have a large account of receivables, and a high amount of expensive equipment that could be liquidated if they lost a medical malpractice claim in court and did not have medical liability insurance in place. Medical malpractice insurance, for surgical centers, includes coverage for the corporation, the medical director, and all employees. The medical malpractice insurance market has numerous carriers offering coverage for surgery centers throughout the nation, giving consumers many different options.

It is easy to see how increasingly popular surgical centers are becoming. Surgery centers are fast, easy, and cost effective for both the surgeons and patients. With an increasing demand for patients to have the ability to utilize surgery centers, comes an increase of medical malpractice insurance claims. It is critical for these surgery centers to be covered with the appropriate medical malpractice insurance coverage. You can purchase surgery center medical liability insurance coverage at relatively affordable rates from almost every medical malpractice insurance company. Surgery center coverage will cover litigation costs in addition to defense costs in case of a lawsuit against you.