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Professional liability for ADAA members.

Your duties, as a dental assistant, can vary depending on the practice and the expectations of the dentist for whom you work. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://stats.bls.gov), dental assistants will work chairside as the dentist examines and treats patients, although duties can vary from state to state.

Assistants are responsible for everything from making patients as comfortable as possible, to preparing them for treatment and obtaining dental records, to organizing tray setups for procedures, handing instruments, materials and sterilizing and disinfecting those instruments and equipment after use. Depending on the state where you perform your work, dental assistant responsibilities can also include preparing materials, taking impressions and exposing and processing dental x-ray film as directed by a dentist. Dental assistants with office duties schedule and confirm appointments, receive patients, keep treatment records, send statements, receive payments and order dental supplies and materials.

The complexity and importance of these tasks can be a real challenge for any professional. They may open you up to a series of risks. It is still necessary to understand the continuous changes that occur in the dental assistant discipline and one way of staying current is through your professional association.

The American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) is the oldest, largest association representing professional dental assistants. It provides dental assistants with many valuable benefits through its membership. In addition to home study courses, professional journals and a wide variety of educational meetings and conferences, the ADAA offers a collection of value-added personal services for its members. One such service is providing the Active Members and certain students with a professional liability program offered through Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO), the endorsed provider of the ADAA.

Often, dental assistants will be offered a professional liability insurance policy through their employer. However, in a society where more and more lawsuits are filed against healthcare providers, are you assured that the professional liability coverage you have from your employer is enough? Because of the rising trend of litigation across the country, the ADAA wants to offer this benefit provided by HPSO to its active members in the event they are named in a lawsuit and their employer's policy isn't sufficient.

Since 1976, more than one million healthcare professionals nationwide have counted on HPSO to help them protect their careers, their assets and their futures. With the professional liability program offered through the ADAA-endorsed program, you receive the protection you need against covered allegations of professional malpractice.

While you may be covered under your employer's policy as a full- or part-time employee, you need to know the details of that coverage. Often that policy is designed to fit the practice's needs and protect its own interests and this may not always be the same as your needs. For this reason the ADAA safeguards all of its Active dental assistant members with a policy that insures just you with coverage up to $50,000. As a member, you are provided with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your best interests will be served if you are named in a lawsuit.

Member coverage benefits through the professional liability insurance policy offered through HPSO are summarized at the right.

Healthcare Provider Service Organization (HPSO) currently protects over 70 different professions nationwide with a professional liability insurance policy. Also offered are other limits of liability through an individual malpractice policy at affordable rates.

For more information on what this policy offers go to www.hpso.com or call 1-800-982-9491.

The bottom line is, know how you're covered. Not all employer-based malpractice policies are created equal. If your employer does cover you, don't assume that you are covered for all things related to your job. Find out the details so you are not caught unaware. If you are currently covered by your own policy, compare your benefits with those listed (at right) to see what's missing. If you're shopping for protection, use this information as a checklist. You may be surprised how policies differ from each other.

MEMBER COVERAGE BENEFIT SUMMARY

ADAA In-Dues Professional Liability Insurance

As an Active Member of the ADAA, you are entitled to professional liability insurance protection subject to the policy terms and conditions.

$50,000/$1,000,000 Policy Limits

This program will pay up to $50,000 in defense costs and judgments for each covered incident; to a $1,000,000 lifetime maximum.

Claims-Made Coverage

You are protected under a claims-made policy form, which is standard for the industry. Claims reported while the policy is in force will be covered, subject to the policy exclusions. All defense costs for covered claims will be paid up to the per incident policy limit. You are covered anywhere in the United States, its territories or possessions.

Exclusions

This plan does not cover any claims based on or arising from the incidents:

* Which occurred before you became a member of the ADAA or January I, 2003 (whichever is later);

* While practicing a profession other than dental assistant;

* Not specific to the named profession or occupation;

* Resulting in bodily injury or property damage while under the influence of intoxicants or drugs;

* Brought against you for any business enterprise other than dental assistant;

* Resulting in bodily injury to any employee in your employ;

* Covered by Workers' Compensation, Unemployment Compensation or Disability laws;

* Arising out of service performed in administering anesthetics or radiation therapy;

* Resulting from dishonest, fraudulent, criminal or malicious acts or omissions by you;

* Resulting in bodily injury or physical damage if you are not properly licensed or certified as required by law;

* Resulting from acts or omissions expected or intended to cause bodily injury or physical damage;

* Resulting in bodily injury or physical damage arising out of pollution or pollutants including radioactive and toxic waste material, but not including incidents caused by "hostile fire" unless such fire involves the management of waste materials or operations performed to test for, assess, modify, remove or clean up the effects of pollutants;

* Punitive damages;

* Bankruptcy or insolvency;

* Sexual misconduct and physical abuse, whether intentional, inadvertent or negligent. You will be entitled to defense and claims expenses as provided unless or until you are judged guilty of such an act.

This program is underwritten by American Casualty Company of Reading, Pennsylvania, a CNA company, and is offered through the Healthcare Providers Service Organization Risk Purchasing Group. Coverages, rates and limits may differ in some states. CNA is a service mark and trade name registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Healthcare Providers Service Organization is a division of Affinity Insurance Services, Inc.; in NY and NH, AIS Affinity Insurance Agency; in MN and OK, AIS Affinity Insurance Agency, Inc.; and in CA, AIS Affinity Insurance Agency, Inc. dba Aon Direct Insurance Administrators License #0795465.
COPYRIGHT 2005 American Dental Assistants Association
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Title Annotation:Personal Business; American Dental Assistants Association
Publication:The Dental Assistant
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2005
Words:1131
Previous Article:Predictors of success on the Dental Assisting National Board exam.
Next Article:Risk management assessment: dentists' ethical duty to provide emergency after-hours care.
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