Wouldn’t it be great if there was a business out there that was devoid of risk? Unfortunately, running a business, any business, involves risk, including one of today’s fastest growing industries – home health care.
Operating a business that involves caring for older adults or those with medical needs always assumes risk. Unfortunately, even on routine visits, something can go wrong with the patient. For example, a client may fall or experience a heart attack or stroke without warning, or have an allergic reaction from a new medication administered by the home health nurse. Additionally, nurses and caregivers can also make mistakes on the job, and these mistakes are the liability of the home health agency. Agencies must be prepared for legal and financial ramifications should something like this occur.
Home health care is also unique in that there are risks involved in treating clients in their own homes, as opposed to treating patients in a hospital or health care facility. A private residence has fewer medical resources, and is therefore inherently riskier than providing care in a facility. Home health workers are also more difficult to supervise and to quality check. For instance, if a caregiver shows up to work inebriated, the client is at this person’s mercy, and you won’t know about the situation until the client reports it. For these reasons, insuring your home health agency is not only important, but absolutely necessary.
Your clients’ home environments also pose a risk to your workers and your agency. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly one in 20 home health workers has a job-related illness or injury every year. Nurses and caregivers working in clients’ homes are vulnerable to safety hazards and unsanitary conditions, including blood borne pathogens and biological hazards, ergonomic hazards from patient lifting, violence, and hostile acts. They may also face hazards on the road as they transport clients to appointments or as they drive from one client’s home to another as part of their daily assignments. Though you cannot control the home environments of your clients, your agency must still maintain work environment standards set by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) for your employees.
There are several types of insurance that an agency must maintain in order to fully cover the risks and liabilities involved in running a home health care business. These include:
- Professional Liability Insurance: Protects against malpractice and clinician misconduct.
- General Liability Insurance: Covers non-clinical risks such as bodily injury to others or property damage in connection with your operations
- Hired/Non-Owned Auto Liability Insurance: Covers any accidents, above their personal coverage, your nurses/caregivers may cause while driving as a part of their work.
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Covers your business if a nurse/caregiver falls and injures herself in the home of a client, is exposed to blood borne pathogens, etc. Most states require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
At ProAction Insurance, we understand the insurance needs of businesses in the aging care industry. We currently serve hundreds of home healthcare and caregiving agencies, and we are able to provide the following insurance coverage:
- Workers’ Compensation
- Professional Liability
- Hired/Non-Owned Auto Liability
- General Liability
- Surety Bond
- Commercial Property
- Employment Practices Liability
If you are considering opening a home health, caregiving, or hospice agency, please give us a call today! We would be happy to service your business’s insurance needs.