When you are sick, it used to be that you would go to the doctor. But today, with projections that by 2025 nurse practitioners will make up one-third of family practices, it is more evident than ever, that nurse practitioners (NPs) are playing a major role in our healthcare. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, there are more than 234,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. However, with that care also come claims of medical malpractice suits against nurse practitioners.
A new study by The Doctors Company shows that medical malpractice suits against nurse practitioners don’t differ all that much from those made against primary care physicians. The study, based on almost 1,500 claims filed from January 2011 through December 2016 against NPs and family medicine and internal medicine doctors, found that the liability risks are about the same for both groups. The most substantial findings are that medication and diagnosis related claims were similar.
Malpractice suits against nurse practitioners are often linked to clinical and administrative factors. These may include failure to adhere to their scope of practice, inadequate physician supervision, and absence of or deviation from written protocols.
As per the Nurse Practitioner Claim Report: 4th Edition from CNA and the Nurses Service Organization (NSO), a study of 287 closed professional liability claims of $10,000 or more over a five-year period, the average total payment per claim was $240,471. Although claims against nurse practitioners remained stable from 2012 – 2016, since 2012 the indemnity payment has increased by at least two percent.
One of the most common claims was improper prescribing/management of controlled drugs. The specialties with the highest average of paid indemnities were neonatal, obstetrics, and emergency medicine, while the highest percentage of closed claims were found within the adult medical/primary care, family practice, behavioral health, and gerontology specialties. The health care delivery settings with the greatest number of claims included physician office practices, NP office practices, and skilled nursing or other aging service facilities.
Although some incidents are very difficult to prevent, there still remain certain preventative measures that can be taken. These include remaining current on clinical practice, medications, biologics, equipment, and continuing education, documentation of all phases of treatment, discussing and documenting informed consent, and engaging in informed consent discussions with patients in regards to prescribing medications.
It is clear that like doctors, NPs are expected to remain diligent and responsible for each and every screening, monitoring, treatment, testing, consulting, and referrals. If you have initiated a lawsuit surrounding injuries sustained or death due to medical malpractice, but worry about your ability to keep up with all of your expenses, call USClaims.
At USClaims, we offer pre-settlement funding, which is also known as a cash advance on pending lawsuit to provide you with financial support while you wait for your case to settle in court. If a case is qualified for pre-settlement funding then we would purchase a portion of the proceeds of the anticipated court judgment or settlement for some cash now. USClaims only gets paid if a case is won or has reached a settlement! Apply now or call us today at 1-877-USCLAIMS to learn more.