Understanding the Need for Optometrist Insurance
Doctors who specialize in treating vision problems are known as optometrists. They are the ones responsible to prescribe eye glasses and lenses to correct vision problems but commonly do not create the glasses or lenses themselves. Since optometrists are not certified medical professionals, they do not have the ability to conduct surgery, diagnose eye illness and prescribe medications, so they refer patients to ophthalmologists for those types of services.
Some states have relaxed the regulations pertaining to optometrists to permit the administration of drugs for diagnostic purposes (DPA), treatment of eye diseases with pharmaceuticals (TPA), and perform lacrimal irrigation and dilation procedures and treat glaucoma (TLG). Most optometrists work in private offices, but some work for optometrists' offices or retail stores.
What risk exposures do Optometrist have?
Inland Marine Exposure
This category makes up medical equipment that may be removed for medical emergencies, as well as office supplies. The capital investment of equipment in a typical optometrist’s office is state of the art. All electrical connections must fulfill the safety codes and administrative requirements. Additional risks are customer receivables and important documents and records (patients' records and scientific research books). It is vital that all the documents and programs scanned should be kept off site.
Employee theft is one of the most common causes behind embezzlement of cash and business assets. All ordering, billing, reconciliation and disbursement should be handled by separate members of staff. Active vigilance is required.
Exposure is moderate, the patient areas should be adequately lit and free from obstructions. The work areas must be free of any obstructions and well-lit for easy navigation of the path to the doctor's exam room. Exit signs must be posted clearly. Procedures for staff escorting patients should be clearly explained during employee training. Make sure there are no trip hazards such as transitions in and out of location, entrance carpets, rooms, etc.
A good number of optometrists, who are directly involved with patients, are skilled, trained, and certified. The more diverse treatments the optometrist performs, the more likely he or she is to experience a malpractice claim. Instruments and other medical items should be sterilized to stop the spread of illnesses such as Hepatitis, HIV, Covid- or even the flu.
Disease can be transferred from the patient to personnel in the event of personal protective equipment not being used. Regardless, accidents will happen in the workplace, repetitive motion disease, slip and falls or any other mishap.
Equipment Breakdown Exposures
As operations depend on diagnostic equipment being available, high maintenance is essential. It's essential that all equipment be maintained on a regular basis.
Products Liability Exposure
The prescription for eye glasses and lenses is determined and written by the optometrist. The optometrist typically does not make the lenses or glasses, but will write the prescription and often partners with a lab to have glasses made to sell eyeglasses as a service to patients.
Business Auto Exposure
If you have a business owned vehicle, this is an exposure for your practice. If you have staff running errands, even in their own vehicle to the post office, office supply store or to the bank, you should also have employers non owned auto liability which will pay over and above what the employee’s own auto liability insurance will pay. Your auto carrier may even want to know your employees driver information if they drive for company business.
Why Do Optometrists Need Insurance?
When you graduate from your professional training courses and become a licensed professional, you're responsible for getting professional liability insurance. This is also known as malpractice insurance and if you're a licensed professional, you must ensure that you're covered. However, general optometrist insurance coverage may also offer you financial security.
Over the course of designing and implementing patient care, you may encounter a variety of different setbacks. Possible mishaps can be the result of simple mistakes or oversight, or you may find yourself facing frivolous litigation. In many instances, if uninsured, this contributes to increased costs to your patients as you handle these claims or litigation costs from your bottom line.
For practitioners in this profession, optometrist insurance is extremely crucial. Lawsuits can be expensive and time-consuming affairs. This insurance coverage can pay on your behalf to defend you against lawsuits and pay court awarded judgments if you are found liable. This insurance coverage is also an important part of getting credentialed to accept a variety of private wellness and vision plans.
Compensation for medical errors, including frivolous lawsuits, is complicated and varies from one court room to another. Trials by jury are an unknown and jurors’ awards can be astronomical. A doctor should make sure to inquire with various insurers and find one that is well versed in malpractice insurance as you want an experienced carrier and legal team defending you of malpractice allegations.
When you're conducting your research, understand that insurance companies do not create malpractice policies that completely cover the full array of procedures allowed in your state. Do your research and ask questions about what is covered so that you are not unpleasantly surprised with a low budget policy full of exclusions.
Types of Insurance Optometrists Need
General liability is a type of business insurance that guards you against a variety of liability lawsuits. It covers claims due to bodily injuries to customers, from premises related accidents or defective products.
General liability insurance will take care of any property damage that a client may experience while at your office. If the client's personal property is damaged by an accident, maybe a staff member bumps a chair where the client’s phone is sitting, knocks it off and the screen cracks and it is inoperable. While likelihood of something like this happening may seem rare, slips and falls causing bodily injury happen everywhere.
Business Owners Policy (BOP)
This offers protection from legal action by a current or former employee, including claims of:
A BOP is an ideal option for small firms. A BOP is a combination of several types of business insurance, including general liability, property and business interruption insurance.
The property loss section of BOP helps you withstand hazardous events that would otherwise damage your business’s assets. If your optometry office is damaged as a result of a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, the property coverage can provide you with claim payment for repairs or replacement of your insured building. If your equipment at your business offices is destroyed, BOP will reimburse you to replace or repair the damaged equipment.
You may have a special interior design style in your offices and examining rooms to engender client relaxation. If any of those furnishings are damaged or destroyed because of covered claims, BOP assists your company to recover from loss.
Business interruption coverage will provide a revenue stream when covered damage to the building prevents normal business operations and you must close. The limit of Business Interruption purchased with the policy determines what is paid and over what time period.
Errors of all kinds can occur no matter how vigilant we are. As an eye care provider, even a tiny error with your clients might have significant implications, after all eyes are very sensitive and can be damaged easily. Professional liability insurance is a useful commercial insurance policy that focuses on protecting you from claims resulting from your professional service provided.
Business auto insurance coverage resembles individual auto insurance coverage. It applies to business vehicles, your own personal car or truck, and all vehicles that are rented or lent for business functions. If you utilize a mobile laboratory truck frequently or if your business requires a road trip, business vehicle insurance coverage pays for damages and losses caused by auto collisions.
If you have employees in an optometry practice, it's indispensable to have workers' comp insurance, too. Workers' compensation policies are essential to guarantee that your workers are safe in the event of an injury at work. This coverage pays for medical care for the injured employee as well as a percentage of lost wages if they are unable to work.
Optometrist Insurance - The Bottom Line
Before binding any optometry insurance, it's important to carefully outline your requirements, the necessary coverage, and all the extras that reflect the specifics of your practice.