Medical Malpractice Insurance for Midwives

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Midwives need liability insurance policies that are as unique as the care they provide.

Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Midwives, and Certified Professional Midwives provide a full range of essential primary health care services to their patients. They often work with patients who prefer specialized care that they can’t get elsewhere, and provide compassionate, autonomous support to patients through some of their happiest and darkest times.

Unfortunately, even the most empathetic and skilled Midwife can have a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against them, jeopardizing the practice they’ve worked so hard to build.

MEDPLI helps Nurse Midwives find medical malpractice insurance coverage from A-rated insurance carriers and saves them up to 28% on their premiums.

Why Midwives Need Medical Malpractice Insurance

Midwives offer a comprehensive and unparalleled level of care to their patients. Midwifery requires the mastery of a broad range of medical knowledge, including parenting education, primary care, newborn care, and obstetric and gynecological care. Because of the special relationship that Midwives form with their patients, it might be difficult to imagine competent care resulting in a lawsuit, but the reality is that Nurse Midwives always need to protect themselves from the unfortunate circumstance of a malpractice claim.

In a survey of American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) members, 32% reported that they had been named in a malpractice lawsuit at least once. As is the case with many other specialties, the longer a Nurse Midwife is in practice and the more specialty care they provide, the more likely it is that they will experience a lawsuit.

Data examined by the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health also showed that:

  • Nurse Midwives experience their first lawsuit an average of 6 years into practice

  • The majority of lawsuits filed involved hospital births

  • Most lawsuits involving Nurse Midwives were settled before going to court

When researchers analyzed the historical malpractice claims against Midwives, they found seven major categories of liability risk. In order of most to least prevalent, Midwives tend to be sued for:

  • Fetal/newborn complications or risk

  • Alleged provider negligence related to pregnancy care

  • Shoulder Dystocia

  • Alleged negligence related to gynecological care

  • Failure to assess the need for a cesarean

  • Genetics

  • VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean)

Since the field of labor and delivery is high risk, Midwives need to protect themselves much like an obstetrician. Even if a malpractice claim seems frivolous and will not likely result in a monetary award to the claimant, it is important to have malpractice insurance in place to cover defense costs and protect your assets. The right professional liability insurance will protect you from multiple factors in the event of a lawsuit, including:

  • Monetary damages awarded to the plaintiff

  • Attorney’s fees

Even when a Midwife is covered under their employer’s malpractice insurance plan, it is important to review the policy for gaps in coverage and discuss the advantages of obtaining an individual liability insurance plan with an independent insurance broker. An independent broker can review your current policy for gaps, advise you on how best to protect your personal assets through medical malpractice insurance, and help you plan for tail coverage, which is insurance that medical providers need to purchase when switching practices or insurance companies.

What Midwives Can Do to Reduce Malpractice Risk

In every medical field, care providers can take steps that help reduce their risk of facing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Based on the analysis of malpractice claims related to midwifery, Midwives can take the following steps to reduce their risk of being sued:

  • Making sure all documentation is accurate

  • Consulting and collaborating in a timely manner

  • Having the appropriate personnel present for births

  • Practicing complex birth situation simulations

  • Thoroughly documenting informed consent for genetic screening

  • Referring complex gynecology patients to a physician

How Much Does Medical Malpractice Insurance Cost for Midwives?

Insurance premiums for Certified Nurse Midwives, Certified Midwives, Certified Professional Midwives, and Home Birth Midwives differ by city and state, and individual risk profiles like prior claims history play a major role in determining rates. Both claims-made and occurrence coverage may be available. MEDPLI helps all midwives practicing in OB/GYN Groups, birthing centers, as well as individual practices. To get your personalized rate estimate, please request a quote.

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