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Complication Insurance May Reduce Lawsuits

November 3, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Interventional Radiology, Practice Management
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A lawyer who is also the son of an orthopedic surgeon offers a product that compensates patients and their families for surgical complications and at the same time may reduce malpractice claims: complication insurance.

Through his Surgical Risk Solutions, Andrew Kagan offers insurance against a variety of complications, effective for 30 days starting on the date of the surgery. Premiums generally run $80 for $200,000 worth of coverage, $100 for $250,000, and $120 for $300,000 but may vary by state, according to the Web site. The insurance pays in case of such serious complications as loss of hearing, sight, or speech, brain damage, paralysis, and death.

Surgical Risk Solutions covers more than 100 procedures, including plastic, orthopedic, ob-gyn, and even dental surgery. Radiology is not covered directly, though some image-guided biopsies are. Some high-risk procedures, such as heart and brain surgeries, are excluded.

So far, according to the Web site, the insurance is available in 19 states, mostly in the South and West, including California, Texas, and Florida.

Andrew Kagan, the founder and CEO, told Health News Florida that he was inspired by a malpractice case several years ago against one of his father’s partners, who had performed knee replacement surgery on a 60-year-old man. The surgery was successful, but the patient later died when a blood clot formed in his leg and traveled to his heart. The family sued, but a jury found the surgeon not at fault and awarded no damages, leaving the family financially distressed.

Kagan said he wanted to provide patients and their families a way to protect themselves from the potentially catastrophic risks of surgery without fault-finding or expensive and slow-moving legal action. In fact, he said, the prompt financial compensation that the insurance offers might make malpractice lawsuits less likely.

Surgical Risk Solutions, which began issuing policies earlier this year, pays regardless of fault. The major restriction is that the complication must manifest itself within 30 days of surgery. Even some patients with preexisting conditions are eligible for the insurance.

“We’ll take some of the higher-risk patients,” Kaplan said. “You have to have three major preexisting conditions, such as diabetes or a history of heart attacks, before we exclude you.”

Related seminar: Interventional Radiology Review

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