We are all familiar with the adage, “There is no such thing as a dumb question.” At BETA Healthcare Group we do our best to live up to those words through our actions. Our underwriting staff all stress the importance of being contacted early and often with liability questions or concerns.
As in any service environment, we hear some questions over and over again, while others are new and quite challenging. Sometimes seemingly simple questions require complex answers, and more complex questions often have simple ones. It is our hope that the following compendium of the most frequently asked questions will serve as a useful resource.
We firmly believe that BETA Healthcare Group’s outstanding loss history is due to the open interface and exchange of ideas with our member facilities and medical groups…so keep those phone calls and emails coming!
- What is BETA Healthcare Group (BETA)?
BETA Healthcare Group (BETA) is comprised of two insurance entities, BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA) and Health Providers Insurance Reciprocal, RRG (HealthPro). BETARMA is a member-governed, California joint powers authority that pools the liability claims and losses of city, county, district and nonprofit hospitals and healthcare facilities and providers. HealthPro is a provider-owned risk retention group domiciled in Hawaii doing business in the State of California. HealthPro insures medical groups and provides excess reinsurance within the affinity group. BETARMA is the largest provider of hospital professional liability coverage in California, and BETARMA and HealthPro together insure over 5,000 physicians in the state.
- What types of coverage are offered through the BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA)?
BETARMA’s Healthcare Entity Comprehensive Liability coverage includes: professional liability, general liability, personal injury liability, employee benefits administration liability, pollution liability, and fire and water damage liability. Our Directors and Officers Liability coverage contract offers coverage to both directors and officers as well as the member entity. This coverage contract also includes coverage for employment practices liability. BETARMA also provides an Auto Liability contract that includes physical damage to owned vehicles with separate rates for patient and nonpatient transport vehicles.
- Should nurses who are employed at a BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA) facility carry their own professional liability insurance?
Nurses who are employed at a member facility are provided professional liability coverage through BETARMA for acts and omissions that occur within the course and scope of their duties to the member. BETARMA does not provide coverage for liability that may be incurred outside of work, such as care to family, friends or neighbors, volunteer work or roadside assistance at the scene of an accident. In addition, BETARMA generally does not cover intentional torts, such as assault, battery or fraud.
- Does BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA) cover physicians for administrative duties?
Yes. If you carry Directors and Officers or Healthcare Entity Comprehensive liability coverage through BETARMA, then there is no charge to cover a physician’s administrative duties, such as department head, director, chief of staff or supervisor.
- Are we covered for our health fair/holiday party/reception/fundraiser by BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA)?
In general yes. “Typical” types of events such as bazaars, raffles and dinners are covered. Extraordinarily risky activities, such as bungee jumping or downhill skiing will not be covered. Members must complete a Special Event Application so we can have the information on file and to ensure that the activities do not create an unacceptable risk.
- Are our volunteers covered by BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA)?
Volunteers who are not healthcare professionals rendering professional services are automatically covered. This would include any person or group, including the auxiliary, that is approved or directed by the hospital and whose services or labor are uncompensated from any source.
Healthcare professionals may be covered if prior approval is granted by BETARMA’s Underwriting Department. Specific situations would need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
- We have employees who want to drive patients home. Are they covered by BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA)?
If the patient is transported in a member-owned car, then the member’s auto coverage should protect the employee. BETARMA’s auto coverage will cover the employee if (a) the car is covered for patient transportation and (b) the employee has been given permission by the member to drive the covered car. However, employees driving their own vehicles are only covered under BETARMA’s auto coverage on an excess basis if they are driving their vehicle on the named member’s business. The employee’s insurance is primary in these situations.
- Isn’t everyone who works for the hospital or medical facility automatically covered?
No. The following healthcare providers must submit applications for coverage, and there is an additional contribution required: physicians, surgeons, dentists, physician assistants, nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives. In addition, independent contractors are not automatically covered.
- Does BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA) cover all of our physicians?
BETARMA can cover physicians if requested to do so by the member facility. Each physician must complete an application. If approved, an amendment will be issued extending coverage to the physician for work he or she does on behalf of the facility. An additional contribution is charged for this coverage. If there is no amendment extending coverage to the physician, or if the physician is not listed on a schedule of covered healthcare providers attached to an amendment, then the physician is not covered.
- Does BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA) cover our employees when we ask them to attend an inservice at another facility?
Employees are covered when acting within the course and scope of their duties, and continuing education related to the job is within that scope. Therefore, as long as they are acting at the request of or with the consent of the other facility, they are covered. However, if the employee is required to render professional services at the other facility, that facility must be added to the covered location schedule.
- Do we have liability coverage with BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA) during construction?
BETARMA extends general liability, including bodily injury, coverage to those members undergoing construction on their premises—from minor renovations to major construction. If a third party gets injured due to negligence of the member facility (as it relates to the construction), BETARMA will extend general liability coverage. Please notify BETARMA prior to the start of any construction so that we may obtain all necessary information to fully protect you.
- Do we have to report to BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA) all locations where we provide professional services?
Yes, all locations where professional services are rendered need to be reported in order to be considered a covered location. Coverage will automatically be extended for 30 days or for any new locations in order to provide time for reporting and underwriting review.
- Do we have liability coverage with BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA) for telemedicine?
Yes, BETARMA provides coverage for telemedicine. However, the patient must be located and the services must be provided within the state of California. Please notify BETARMA prior to the start of any telemedicine program so that we may get all the necessary information to fully protect you.
- Do we have product liability coverage with BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA) for single use devices (SUDs)?
No. If product liability coverage is needed for single use devices, it should be obtained via a separate policy. You may also request to be added as an additional insured to your vendor’s policy.
- Do we have contractual liability coverage with BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA)?
Yes, there is some contractual liability coverage under the healthcare professional liability and bodily injury and property damage sections of the contract. However, there is no coverage for damages arising out of the breach of any contract. In addition, no coverage is provided for any liability resulting from guaranteeing the results of treatment.
- Do we have to submit every third-party contract we enter into to BETA Risk Management Authority (BETARMA)?
No, it is not required that all contracts be reviewed by BETARMA. However, we are available to review any contracts you choose to submit to ensure that the indemnification and insurance provisions of those agreements coincide with BETARMA’s coverage when possible.
- What is our liability exposure when donating used medical supplies, equipment or outdated drugs? We have several physicians working with Doctors Without Borders who request supplies and equipment to take on their medical missionary trips.
Sending medical supplies and other products to foreign countries is covered under the Healthcare Entity Comprehensive Liability Coverage Contract (HCL). The coverage under this section for bodily injury and property damage extends to damages arising out of the “Member’s Products away from the Member’s premises after physical possession of the Products has been relinquished to others.” The HCL definition of “product” is “goods or products manufactured, sold, handled or distributed by the Member.” For a claim of this type involving a member’s medical supplies, BETARMA would provide coverage and have a duty to defend if the claim occurred in a foreign land but was brought in the U.S. If the claim was brought in a foreign land, BETARMA would have a right but not a duty to cover and/or defend.