Malpractice Insurance and Risk Management Frequently Asked Questions

What are my responsibilities as an individual insured under the program?

As an individual covered under the insurance program, you have several responsibilities, including:

  • Prompt reporting of events to Risk Management
  • Participation in follow-up of events or patient complaints, which may include meeting with a Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Risk Manager or our claims management staff from Atlantic Risk Management.
  • Interaction/consultation with Risk Management staff when questions or concerns arise

How do I reach Risk Management?

Risk Management assistance is available 24/7. The office is located at Colburn Hill and is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (Monday through Friday) and you can call us at 603-653-1250. A Risk Manager is also on-call after hours via pager through Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Communications.

Do I only report adverse events to Risk Management? What about near-misses?

One of the most useful risk management tools, and one that is sometimes neglected, is the thorough investigation of "near-misses." As any liability claims manager can attest, before a catastrophic event occurs, the same set of circumstances may have been in place multiple times without triggering such an event. Your risk management program encourages the investigation and discussion of "near-misses." This is the best way to address problems related to the idiosyncrasies of a particular institution before a catastrophic event occurs.

Do I need to report a bad outcome if it was a known risk/complication which was fully discussed and documented in the informed consent process?

Yes. Any loss of function at the time of discharge and any iatrogenic injury that extends the hospital stay, requires additional treatment, or results in readmission (even if the loss or injury is a known risk/complication of the treatment provided) should be reported to Risk Management.

What form of malpractice insurance coverage is provided?

The Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center insurance policy is written on a "modified claims-made" basis, which means it covers claims or adverse incidents actually reported to the insurance program during the policy year, resulting from services rendered after inception of an employee's coverage under this program. It is "modified" because it also covers the "tail." The primary limits are $1 million per claim and $3 million aggregate.

What happens when a resident or fellow leaves the program?

Residents or Fellows who leave Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center employ will continue to be covered for the "tail", i.e., claims made subsequent to their departure, but only for covered claims arising out of medical incidents that occurred during the period of the individual's participation in the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center insurance program.

Will the policy cover me for claims incurred before I began my residency or fellowship at MHMH?

No. Claims related to a service rendered prior to the individual's employment here should be covered by the insurance carried by that employee at the time the service was rendered. Employees who previously had a claims-made policy from another insurance company should procure appropriate "tail coverage" from that carrier before entering this insurance program. Individuals whose prior policy was an occurrence policy do not need to purchase tail coverage. Check with your prior employer/insurance company if you do not know which type of coverage was provided.

Does the insurance program cover me for any eventuality in my practice?

The insurance program covers you for allegations brought against you only while you are practicing within the scope of your employment. Activities outside of your employment ("moonlighting") are covered only as described below. Allegations of sexual misconduct, if found to be true, cannot be covered.

Are all the institutions that participate in the New England Alliance for Health (NEAH) insured under the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center insurance program?

None of the NEAH hospitals or organizations is insured under the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center insurance plan.

Are Residents or Fellows covered while "moonlighting" at institutions that are not insured under the program?

No. A Resident or Fellow is not covered while moonlighting outside the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center organization. It is important that anyone contemplating moonlighting makes sure they have adequate professional liability coverage, either through the other institution or by their own purchase of an individual policy.

Please be aware that this document is not the actual insurance policy. To review the complete terms and conditions of this program please contact the Executive Director, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Risk Management Program at 603-653-1250.