A skilled nursing facility (SNF), commonly known as a nursing home, is a living facility for elderly patients that provides around-the-clock care by skilled nurses. Whether the need for care is due to a temporary or permanent health issue, an SNF can provide a level of care that is difficult to achieve through an at-home care program, but offers a more home-like environment than what is found in a hospital. An increased quality of life is usually the goal with skilled nursing facilities, so many focus on not only on meeting their patients’ physical and medical needs, but also their emotional and psychological needs as well.
Although skilled nursing facilities are an important resource for elderly patients, they are still businesses, and like any other business with employees and clients, they have a myriad of liabilities that require insurance coverage. Here are seven essential policies for skilled nursing facilities:
- General liability insurance covers some of the most common non-employee lawsuits that result from everyday business activities. In many skilled nursing facilities, patients receive frequent visitors, which in turn can add additional liabilities. If a resident or visitor is injured due to non-medical negligence (such as a slip and fall accident) it would be covered under general liability insurance.
- Commercial property insurance is another common type of commercial insurance that all business, including skilled nursing facilities, should carry. It covers damages to the building as well as equipment, supplies, fixtures and furniture in the event that they are stolen, damaged or destroyed due to a fire or non-excluded natural disaster.
- Workers’ compensation is absolutely essential for skilled nursing facilities. With staff working around-the-clock to care for patients there are constant risks for injury or accidents. Additionally, some elderly patients with dementia can become violent, injuring employees who are trying to care for them.
- Professional liability insurance is what covers the business from damages that result from a medical incident. Skilled nursing facility staff members are treating patients and clients every day, leaving them constantly at risk of claims of administering the wrong medication, providing incorrect treatment, inappropriate interactions with patients, neglect or any other possible on-the-job mistakes.
- Employee benefits liability insurance protects an employer from damages resulting from an error or omission in the administration of an employee benefit program, such as failure to advise employees of benefit programs. This type of coverage is essential for skilled nursing facilities because of their high employee turnover rates.
- Commercial auto liability protects a business from damages resulting from an accident or injury in a commercial vehicle. Some skilled nursing facilities may take patients off-site for activities or treatments, creating additional liabilities for the facility that commercial auto liability can help cover.
- Sexual misconduct coverage is unfortunately another necessary coverage for skilled nursing homes. It’s difficult to get an accurate number because so many cases go unreported, but one government program has managed to catalog over 20,000 sexual abuse complaints at long-term care facilities over 20 years. Most general liability policies contain specific sexual abuse exclusions, so even with policies and procedures in place to try and prevent sexual abuse from happening, it’s important for skilled nursing facilities to have this coverage as well.