Alaska Skilled Nursing Facility Liability Insurance Policy Information
Alaska Skilled Nursing Facility Liability Insurance. As a skilled nursing facility (SNF), you provide an invaluable service to the patients that you care for. You go above and beyond to employ highly trained, experienced professionals, and you go above and beyond to adhere to all protocols. After all, your goal is to provide your patients with the best possible care.
AK nursing homes provide care for those unable to care for themselves, including the elderly, those recovering from illness or injury, and those with long-term or chronic illnesses or disabilities such as Alzheimer's.
The facility may offer diagnostic tests, physical or occupational therapy, or short-term facilities for those whose needs are temporary. Medical assistance is available 24 hours a day.
There are several types of AK nursing homes:
- "Skilled care" homes provide around-the-clock physician and nursing care for patients who reside on the premises.
- "Intermediate care" homes have medical facilities and services available, but patients are able to provide a degree of care for themselves and do not need around-the-clock attention.
- "Personal care" homes provide boarding facilities and access to medical attention for patients who are ambulatory.
Nursing homes must be licensed by the state of Alaska to legally operate.
But what happens if something goes awry? What if an employ makes a mistake that results in the mistreatment of a patient? What if a family member who is visiting their loved one who is residing at your facility slips and falls on the premises? What would you do if an employee was injured while he or she was on the job?
In any of these types of situations, you could be looking at serious ramifications that could have the potential to cause financial ruin.
In order to protect the residents, third-party visitors and vendors, your employees, and yourself from possible perils, it's important to carry the right type of Alaska skilled nursing facility liability insurance coverage.
Alaska skilled nursing facility liability insurance protects your nursing home from lawsuits with rates as low as $187/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Insurance Coverage Is Important For Skilled Nursing Facilities
While a skilled nursing facility (SNF), also known as a nursing home, is an invaluable resource for the patients that you treat and their loved ones, at the end of the day, this type of facility is a business. Just like any other type of business that works with clients, deals with the public, and employs workers, there are a number of possible perils that you could end up facing.
As mentioned above, some of the potential liabilities that SNFs could face include:
- Mistreatment of a resident
- Third-party injuries (vendors, visitors, etc.)
- Employee injuries
- Property damage
These are just a handful of the types of liabilities that a nursing home has to contend with. In the event that an incident arises, you could be looking at a serious financial crisis. For example, if a client files a lawsuit against your facility on the allegations of mistreatment, you could end up having to deal with legal costs, crisis management to undo any damage to your reputation, and settlement fees that you might have to pay if you are found liable.
With the right type of Alaska skilled nursing facility liability insurance coverage, however, you can protect yourself from financial devastation.
Types Of Insurance Policies For Skilled Nursing Facilities
So, what type of insurance coverage should a skilled nursing facility carry? Here are a few vital policies that you should invest in:
Commercial General Liability: This type of policy will safeguard you from third-party accidents, injuries, and lawsuits. For example, if a third-party is visiting a loved one at your facility trips over an extension cord that is not clearly marked on the floor and he or she sustains an injury, your commercial generally liability coverage would help to pay for the necessary medical care that the individual would require, as well as any legal feeds that may arise.
Commercial Property: Just like any type of business, there's a chance that your AK nursing home could be damaged. A tree could fall on top of the building, a fire could break out, or someone could vandalize your facility, for example. Commercial property insurance would cover the cost of repairing your facility, and would repair or replace any of the contents inside the facility that were damaged.
Professional Liability: As a AK skilled nursing facility, employees work directly with patients to provide them with the care that they need. Should a nurse administer the wrong medication, or if any employee intentionally harms a resident, you could be looking at a serious lawsuit. Professional liability insurance provides coverage for issues like neglect and errors that end up harming your patients.
Workers Compensation: Depending on where the facility is located, you will likely be legally required to carry workers' comp coverage. This type of insurance is mandatory in most states, and it protects employees in the event that they suffer a work-related injury or illness. Workers comp insurance covers the medical bills, lost wages, and lawsuits that could be associated with an employee-related incident.
AK Nursing Home's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is extensive due to the large number of visitors to the premises and the impaired physical mobility of patients. Public and life safety code compliance is very important. Excellent housekeeping is required to reduce the number of trips, slips, and falls.
Spills must be cleaned up promptly. Hallways, rooms, and recreational areas must be orderly and well maintained. Stairways, elevators, railings, and floor coverings should be in good condition. Exits should be clearly marked and free of obstacles. Adequate interior and exterior lighting should be available in the event of a power outage. Steps must have rails, be illuminated, marked, and in good maintenance and repair.
There should be a temperature-monitoring device in all bathing and showering areas to prevent scalding. Parking lots should be maintained free of ice and snow. A major concern in the area of patient safety is the type of backup facilities available for power outages and loss of normal utilities. Emergency evacuation procedures are important and should be reviewed on a regular basis. Emergency generators should be in place, checked and maintained periodically.
Should an emergency situation arise, there should be evacuation plans in place to quickly move patients to a safe area. Security at the facility, as well as in the building, corridors, and any owned parking area needs to be carefully checked and reviewed, as the facility may be held liable should a patient or visitor be attacked on the premises. Personal injury exposures include discrimination, invasion of privacy, and wrongful eviction. Having the right Alaska skilled nursing facility liability insurance is very important here.
Maintaining a patient's privacy is critical. Examination rooms, check-in and checkout stations must be in private areas so one patient cannot view information or overhear conversations regarding another patient's confidential information. Inappropriate touching and sexual misconduct must be considered. Background checks should be conducted before hiring any employee.
The nursing home should be accredited and operate within the guidelines of that accreditation. If it is on probation, there should be active plans to comply with open recommendations to be taken off probationary status.
Environmental impairment exposure is significant due to the potential for contaminating the air, ground, or water supply by improperly disposing of medical waste, including contaminants such as hepatitis B or the AIDS virus. Disposal must be documented and meet all FDA and EPA standards.
Professional liability, medical malpractice, and directors and officers exposures are high. Staff turnover is high, disrupting continuity in patient care. The exposure increases if the facility fails to conduct thorough background checks to verify employees' credentials, education, and licensing. Nursing homes should be subject to regular inspections by their accreditation organization. It should also be licensed and staffed based on federal and state requirements.
The staff/patient ratio should be sufficient to provide adequate care for patients. Supervision is essential along with regular training, monitoring, and well-written and followed procedures. Patients must be informed of their rights to obtain or refuse medical care as described by state and federal law. Very serious losses may result from failure to secure patient approval before performing procedures.
Access to patients' records must be restricted to those having a legitimate reason for viewing them. Patients' records must be duplicated and stored off-site. Both on-site and off-site records must be safeguarded to protect patients' right to privacy. Patient plans should be in place and followed by all staff members. Only patients who are within the appropriate level of care within the nursing home's license should be admitted and allowed to remain in the facility.
There should be a formal review process in place for reviewing all incidents that may give rise to a claim of medical malpractice. Access to all pharmaceuticals must be carefully controlled, with procedures in place for the proper dispensation to patients. Finally, inappropriate touching and sexual misconduct must be considered. Having the best fit Alaska skilled nursing facility liability insurance is vital.
Workers compensation exposure comes from contact with patients, from infections, and from communicable diseases such as hepatitis, HIV, AIDS, or MRSA. Employees should have access to vaccinations to prevent diseases. Gloves and masks should be worn at all times when working around any bodily fluids. All CDC recommended procedures for handling bodily fluids must be followed.
Constant cleansing with disinfectants can result in lung, eye or skin irritations, and reactions. Accidental piercings from needles are common. Back injuries, sprains, and strains can occur when assisting or lifting patients. Procedures should be in place for safely handling unruly or violent patients to minimize injury to both the patient and the employees.
Slips and falls can occur from tripping over objects or slick floors. Kitchen work includes the possibility of cuts, scrapes, and burns. Since patient information and billings are done on computers, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations.
Property exposure can be extensive. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating, and air conditioning systems, laundry equipment, and cooking appliances. All electrical wiring must be up to code and equipment properly maintained. Smoke detectors should be installed in all patient rooms and common areas.
If the AK nursing home has been converted from other occupancies, it must meet current codes for its current occupancy, including electrical wiring, heating, and plumbing systems. If flammable gases such as oxygen are used on premises for patient care, adequate controls must be in place for patient safety. Smoking must not be permitted on premises. All kitchen grills and deep fat fryers must have fire extinguishing protection, hoods, and filters. There should be an automatic fuel shut off valves and adequate hand-held fire extinguishers.
Theft is a concern, as large quantities of drugs may be stored on premises. Tight controls must be in place including, but not limited to, inventory control and limited access to the drug room. Business income and extra expense losses can be severe due to the cost of equipment, the time it may take to repair or replace a damaged item, and unavailability of backup facilities.
Equipment breakdown exposures are high as operations are dependent on medical equipment being available and the property meeting requirements for elderly or disabled occupancy. All equipment should be maintained on an ongoing basis.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty and money and securities. The potential for theft, directly or by means of identity theft, is great. Pre-employment checks, including criminal background checks, should be required of any employee with access to drugs or money. Inventory must be reviewed regularly and the drug areas must have limited access. Regular monitoring with cameras can be helpful in deterring employee theft and monitoring patient treatment.
All ordering, billing, and disbursements must be handled as separate duties. Regular audits must be conducted. Money and securities can be a concern if payments are accepted on premises. Deposits should be made regularly and no money kept on premises overnight. Patients' property may be stolen by employees.
Inland marine exposure comes from accounts receivables for billings, computers, medical equipment, and valuable papers and records for employees', patients', and vendors' information. Most medical equipment is now run by computers and should be covered on a computer form. Some medical equipment may be shared with other facilities or be kept in mobile care units, requiring separate coverage as it is transported between locations.
Equipment in transit must be adequately secured to prevent movement during transit. Duplicates should be made and kept off site. Some homes may have extensive fine arts and statuary that should be covered under a fine arts coverage form. There may be a bailees exposure if the nursing home takes custody of the goods of patients, such as cleaning wigs or doing dry cleaning or laundry.
Commercial auto exposure is high if there is any transport of patients as some may have limited mobility. If there are owned vehicles, all drivers should be licensed with acceptable MVRs. Vehicle maintenance should be ongoing and documented in a central location. Any transport for non-ambulatory patients must include supervision.
AK Skilled Nursing Facility Liability Insurance
To find out more about what type of insurance policies nursing homes should carry, how much coverage you need, and if there is a specialized policy that is designed specifically for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), speak with a reputable commercial insurance broker.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Health & Beauty Insurance
Discover small business insurance for medical and dental professionals. Medical malpractice insurance is a type of professional liability that protects health care professionals from liability causing in bodily injury, medical expenses and property damage.
- Ambulatory Surgical Center
- Art Therapy
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Dental Lab
- Dental Office
- Diagnostic Imaging Centers
- Healthcare Facilities
- Home Medical Equipment Dealers
- Marriage & Family Therapy
- Medical Laboratories
- Medical Marijuana Dispensary
- Medical Practice
- Mental Health Counseling
- Occupational Therapy
- Physicians Office
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Speech Therapy
- Substance Abuse Counseling
Health care providers are the most trusted individuals in our society. Ironically, they are the same ones who can do the greatest harm. They actually have the right to invade our bodies with knives and to poison us with chemicals - all in the name of health care and with the goal of relieving our symptoms and hopefully bringing about a cure.
While the actions of these professionals normally benefit us, insurance coverage must be available for the times when mistakes happen and things go wrong. These professionals and their facilities have extensive property exposures that are becoming more and more intricate and whose values are increasing exponentially.
The 'one size fits all' approach that once could have applied to insurance for health care providers and their facilities no longer applies.
Professional liability offers protection against claims of malpractice for all sums that the medical professional becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of rendering or failing to render professional services.
Professional and medical malpractice exposures are the most expensive and difficult of all exposures for health care providers. The commercial general liability policy excludes these exposures so separate coverage is needed. Most professional liability policies are written on a claims-made basis and, as a result, tail coverage and retroactive dates are important coverage issues to be aware of when evaluating the insured’s coverage needs and comparing coverages.
The coverage provided is often called medical malpractice. For decades, many involved in the health care field and insurance companies that provide insurance coverage to providers have stated that malpractice lawsuits have created an ongoing crisis of restricting insurance availability, due to loss of insurance companies that write the coverage and significant rate increases.
As a result, state legislatures have taken the following actions to address the situation:
Imposed a dollar limitation of liability for malpractice suits.
Modified statutes of limitation to limit the number of years that a suit may be brought against a physician following a negligent act.
Modified when the statute of limitations takes effect. An example is beginning from a negligent act's occurrence rather than from its discovery.
Passed laws to modify tort law procedures and doctrines that relate to malpractice.
Because of differences in law by state it is important to know the states in which the covered health care providers are licensed and regularly practice. Some health care providers may practice in multiple states because of their particular specialty, their reputation or the demand for their services. Some hospitals may have ownership in facilities or provide services to patients that are outside of their main location state.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Business Income and Extra Expense, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Physicians and Surgeons Floater, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits, Professional, Umbrella, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Leasehold Interest, Real Property Legal Liability, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices, Business Automobile Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.
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Also learn about Alaska small business insurance requirements for general liability, business property, commercial auto & workers compensation including AK business insurance costs. Call us (855) 767-7828.