Frequently Asked Questions - WMS Liability Insurance
1) Do I need liability insurance?  What about Good Samaritan coverage?

This is an individual decision.  Most medical malpractice insurance only covers the scope of your daily work and many policies will have a specific exclusion for any outside exposures.  The best source of information is to check with your personal medical malpractice policy.  Many EMS and state institutions require a $1million/occurrence, $3million/year policy - the WMS policy in its most basic form does NOT qualify for these higher limits.

Good Samaritan laws vary state-by-state, and there is some evidence these laws are being challenged.  Additionally, sometimes licensed physicians are being held to a higher standard than the general public.  In the strictest legal environments, ANY compensation could exclude you from the Good Samaritan clause.  Generally speaking, if you have a prior arrangement to provide medical care, then you are not covered under Good Samaritan laws.

2) I live in Colorado and can get free COPIC.  How does this compare?

While COPIC appears free, it is almost always done as a courtesy to those who already pay for insurance through their primary organization.  Alternately, the group that pays your malpractice insurance may pay a premium for this additional service.  It is most applicable for medical direction that you provide to another party free of charge, and may require a written waiver.  If you qualify and live in Colorado, you should definitely look into exactly what is covered.

3) Are there issues with providing medical direction outside of my state licensure?

This relates to scope of practice.  The safest approach is medical licensure wherever you are providing direct medical care.  For indirect medical direction, the laws vary from state to state and there is no clear standard.

 4) If I have other questions, who can I contact?

Your best first resource is your personal malpractice insurance company or broker.  Tom James is an independent insurance broker whom the WMS has engaged to procure this member benefit.  He can be contacted at [email protected] (505-899-2068).  Keep in mind these are opinions and NOT legal answers.

Questions about this policy:

This initial policy is a $50,000 annual per person limit, with an aggregate all-member annual limit of $1,000,000.  Deductible is $0.  As of August, 2016, this policy covers ALL WMS members in good standing, for the provision of Non-EMS medical advising, direction, with coverage for both direct and indirect care. It is not intended, at this point, for those individuals providing medical direction to large organizations with greater exposure, such as local EMS services, which often require $1M/event and $3M annual aggregate.  If you have questions at that level, contact your primary insurance provider, or alternately Tom James (contact info below)

1) Is it for MDs or DOs only?  Or any degree as a medical director?  (PA/NP/RN/EMS)

This policy is for any medical director or anyone providing medical care, for example at local events.  Many States now allow PA's and NP's to act as EMS medical directors and often they are co-named insureds with their supervising Physician
2) What are deductibles, coverage?  Can I get more coverage?

$0 Deductible.  Coverage is FREE to WMS members in good standing, with $50,000/year in coverage ($1,000,000 policy aggregate limit).  If you desire more coverage, contact Tom James.  It is possible that future coverage may require verification of additional education – stay tuned! (Or contact us to be involved in the conversation). 

3)  Do I get a discount for being a FAWM?

We are unable to discount the membership benefit below “free.”  However, if you desire additional coverage, it is likely that discounts will be given for advanced wilderness medical education. 

4) Can I get a policy if I’m not a member of the WMS?

The most comprehensive policy for medical directors is a $1million/event, $3million/year medical director’s policy from EMS MD Insurance and runs approximately $4,500 per year.  Many EMS and state services require this larger policy.  This smaller policy is not offered anywhere to the best of our knowledge and is available only to WMS current members.

5) Does it matter if I am reimbursed, financially or otherwise, for being a medical director?  

No.  The coverage is the same.

6) Does it work internationally?  

This policy will provide coverage for worldwide medical direction and care, but it will provide US defense only.  This is the industry standard as the policy is purchased in the US and is with a US carrier so legally it can only provide defense in a US court.

7) Direct and Indirect Care:  

Direct care is providing care 1:1 to the patient.  If you happen to be on scene, making real-time decisions, this is “direct” care.  Indirect care is when you assist with protocols, teach, but aren’t actually participating in decisions regarding a patient.  This policy assumes <10% of your care is direct.  The majority of claims filed in the EMS world against medical directors do not involve direct patient care.

8) Time per year: 

When you total all the time you spend providing services as a medical director or providing medical care outside your normal professional scope of practice (eg hospital setting), it must total less than 60 days per year.  In other words, this is not your full-time job.  

9) What if I need to make a claim?

If an incident arises for which a claim may be needed, report the claim immediately (or as soon as reasonable once you are aware of the potential) using the contact information provided on your Certificate of Liability Insurance. In the event you are served legal papers, the claim must be reported in a timely manner, not to exceed 30 days. For any additional questions regarding claims or potential claims, contact insurance broker Tom James at [email protected] / 505-899-2068.

10) If I get sued what happens?  What if suit is greater than policy limit?

Once you have a policy in place, the insurance carrier will always do their utmost to get a claim settled within your individual limits.  However, if it exceeds your coverage limits you would ultimately be responsible for an excess judgment.  As stated above, if you have a substantial exposure as an EMS Medical Director, you may be better served with an individual EMS Medical director policy for an increased liability limit. 

11) Is there a tail associated with this policy?

As long as this group policy is in effect, then a tail exists, without cost.  If the policy were to end, a tail could be offered individually to policy holders at that time. 

12) If I have other questions, who can I speak with?  

Tom James EMS Medical Directors Insurance Program Director
866-577-7833, 505-899-2068
Fax: 505-217-0570