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Midwife Insurance & Liability Protection
Many Americans choose to place their trust in the hands of a midwife for that very special occasion—the birth of their child. Midwives, in turn, must promise to give the highest level of care and professionalism when dealing with such an important process. Just as other healthcare providers, like doctors and nurses, have malpractice insurance, midwives need to protect themselves with liability insurance to battle against any possible incident that could result in a claim against them.
Midwife liability insurance is necessary for all midwives and even mandated by law for midwives practicing in certain states. While all professionals hope that a claim will never be filed against them, unfortunately, accidents do happen. Midwife liability insurance will cover claims dealing with error, negligence, injury, or any other breach of duty that a client feels the midwife is responsible for. With the right liability plan, a midwife’s insurance will cover any legal fees and any settlements awarded against them. When dealing with something as precious as human life, midwives cannot afford to practice their business uninsured and unprotected.
An Overview of Independent Midwives Insurance
In the U.S., midwives date back to the American colonies, when women passed skills they brought from Britain from one woman to another. Midwives serve an important purpose, offering a more intimate experience for mothers-to-be at home or in a birthing center, versus a detached, traditional hospital.
As of 2017, there were 11,826 certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and 101 certified midwives (CMs) in the U.S.* The vast majority of midwives in the U.S. are certified nurse-midwives — licensed, independent healthcare providers with prescription authority in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The CM credential, however, is not yet recognized in all states.
Midwives consult with obstetricians and other healthcare professions to help ensure a safe and healthy birthing experience. Yet even with the best of intentions, errors can occur, resulting in injuries that can be life-altering at best, life-threatening at worst — including cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injuries (weakness or inability to use certain muscles in the hand, arm or shoulder), cephalohematoma, stillborn, death and developmental delays.
All midwives must be protected against malpractice and litigation that can threaten their assets, homes, and financial well-being. XINSURANCE can safeguard your assets from the threat of a devastating lawsuit. We’ll even defend you in the event you are named in an incident, claim or lawsuit.
Liability Insurance for Midwives
Even the most conscientious healthcare professionals can be hit with a malpractice suit. All it takes is one disgruntled patient or family member. One botched procedure, or difficult birth. In 2003, celebrity midwife Carla Muhlhahn settled a $950,000 suit after a baby was partially paralyzed in her care. In 2009, she was sued again. This time the baby was stillborn.
We live in a litigious society. It matters little what you do or how well you follow the rules, a frivolous lawsuit may follow. Many healthcare professionals practice “defensive medicine,” in which diagnoses and treatments are applied that are not meant to help the patient, but rather to prevent legal action against the professional. The professional goes beyond the necessary in their treatment, overtesting the patient in order to provide the most comprehensive care possible, regardless of the patient’s medical needs. The professional wishes to prevent a poor treatment outcome (however unlikely) that would leave the patient angry.
Unfortunately, in a study done in 2008 among 145 midwives who were practicing “defensively,” it was found that they were more prone to lawsuits than their peers practicing patient-primary medicine. Defensive medicine also drives up healthcare costs, which produces angry patients in greater numbers. Midwives not only provide routine health screenings, they also monitor the physical, psychological, and social well-being of a mother through the cycle of birth. They educate the mother, counsel her, assist during labor, and provide postpartum support. They administer exams and might perform minor surgeries. Any of these services can lead to a malpractice claim. No wonder so many midwives practice defensive medicine.
XINSURANCE is here to help your practice with independent midwives insurance, an insurance bundle tailored specifically to your needs.
First off, we cover malpractice. Malpractice occurs when a midwife, through an alleged negligent act or omission, causes injury to a patient. The alleged negligence may be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, or aftercare. Under the law, to be considered malpractice, a claim must show three criteria: a violation of the standard of care, an injury caused by negligence, and significant damage caused by the injury. The law respects certain medical standards that are recognized as acceptable treatment by prudent healthcare professionals. These are the standards of care. If these standards are not met, then negligence may be alleged. The plaintiff must then prove that he sustained an injury via alleged negligence. If there is an injury without negligence, or negligence without injury, the claim will not hold. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that significant damages resulted from an injury via negligence. To pursue a claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate the injury resulted in unusual pain, suffering, or hardship. Examples of malpractice include unnecessary surgery, poor aftercare, and misdiagnosis.
Second, we provide Director’s and Officer’s insurance, a type of liability insurance that protects against claims made by nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, or privately held firms. The policy functions as a wall against management errors and omissions, covering claims made as a result of managerial decisions.
Third, we provide general liability coverage, which covers the cost of claims resulting from bodily injury and property damage. For example, a patient slips on the hospital floor and decides to sue. This is the insurance that will protect you. Similarly, if you lose a patient’s personal effects, this insurance will cover the costs of the suit.
Midwives serve an essential function within our society. Because of the close emotional bond fostered by the work, the insurance conversation can be jarring for an independent midwife. Healthcare professionals need an independent midwives insurance policy that meets the needs of their business. XINSURANCE fills in the gaps that other insurance providers miss, covering malpractice, vaginal birth after cesarean, directors and officers liability, commercial general liability, alleged sexual abuse and molestation liability, exclusions on current policy, and excess coverage.
We are here to cover all contingencies, however improbable. Our in-depth underwriting approach and engaging risk management discussions are engineered to best protect the insured. We provide customized coverage using an all-in-one approach to help you attain independent midwives insurance by employing a team of underwriters, claims managers, policy services staff, and risk managers who identify gaps, exclusions within coverage and offer solutions for specialty insurance protection. We also provide flexible underwriting, risk management expertise, and a 24/7 claims hotline.
XINSURANCE is powered by Evolution Insurance Brokers, an excess and surplus lines insurance brokerage. XINSURANCE provides customized specialty insurance solutions for ever-changing risks and liability issues, including property and casualty insurance — and coverage for midwives.
With XINSURANCE, you will have the customized coverage you need through our all-in-one policy with direct access to underwriting, risk management, and claims management. We provide solutions for malpractice, VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), Professional Liability, D&O, Commercial General Liability, and more.
XINSURANCE delivers protection — and true peace of mind — for midwives. For more information about liability insurance for midwives, contact us.
Originally published May 29, 2009 8:29 AM, updated August 04, 2020