Malpractice/Professional Liability in Provision of Fitness Services

It is important to understand that not all of your risk exposure may be covered by a physical therapy professional liability insurance (a.k.a. PLI or malpractice) policy. Most such policies are designed to respond to medical incidents that arise from the performance of professional services that fall within the scope of the policyholder's state practice act. 

What is important from a risk management perspective is that you research and understand what you can and cannot do before entering any new area of practice. You should be aware of the scope of the practice act in the state(s) in which you are licensed, and consider carefully whether or not your scope of personal competence is compatible with the type of services you wish to provide.

If you are engaged in the provision of health, wellness, and fitness-related services or perform practice management or other types of consulting, be aware that these activities may present risk exposures to which standard PLI policies may not respond. If you are engaged in providing such services, take time to be certain you are adequately insured for those activities.

To determine if your existing malpractice insurance policy is sufficient as is or if other coverage may be needed*, you should speak with your malpractice insurance carrier. You should also consider consulting with an accountant, attorney, and/or insurance or risk management professional familiar with your state law to be sure all of your practice-related risks are adequately covered. For example, if you own or lease space for your practice you may have a need for property-related insurance coverage, or if you drive your personal vehicle for business you may need to adjust your auto insurance coverage to account for that usage. For further assistance in this area, you may contact APTA's Member Services Department by phone at 800/999-2782, ext. 3146 or by email at insfinsvcs@apta.org.

* The Healthcare Providers Services Organization (HPSO)—administrator of the APTA-Endorsed professional liability insurance program, in conjunction with CNA, its insurance carrier partner—now offers coverage for fitness professionals and an endorsement for consulting services. HPSO and CNA also can help members with questions regarding insurance needs. For further details, contact HPSO at 800/982-9491. Health care firm customers should contact 888/288-3534. HPSO is able to meet a variety of liability coverage needs, but if you find that you still need assistance in this area after speaking with them, please feel free to contact APTA's Member Services Department by phone at 800/999-2782, ext. 3146 or by email at insfinsvcs@apta.org 

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