Even the most diligent and forthright of ABA therapy providers still need to carry effective liability insurance both as a matter of law, as well as for sound business sense. Though just what type of liability coverage and type of claim can be somewhat complicated in certain situations. Especially with the advent of telehealth services and cybertherapy options.
The fact remains that having a thoughtful liability policy in place not only protects your ABA therapy practice in a business sense but also yourself as a licensed practitioner.
It’s also worth noting that the insurance requirements for certain transactions are often a pre-requisite for the following:
- During the process of obtaining funds
- While applying to a school district
- Applying to a licensed regional center
- From Easter Seals/BHPN
- Leasing an office space, where the landlord requires you to carry your own separate insurance
Eligibility Requirements for Liability Insurance
Of course, insurance providers also have their own requirements. This usually means that to be eligible for insurance, an ABA practitioner must know the following:
- The limits and type of coverage are within the range of $1 to $3 million
- When to carry additional insurance
- Having a waiver of subrogation
- Special Liability Requirements For ABA Therapists
It’s also worth noting that as mental healthcare specialists, most licensed ABA therapists also need to be aware of the following factors:
- The Inherent Risks with Autism
- The Risks That Come With Professional Exposure
- Dangers to Any Employees or Administrative Staff
- In-Home Treatment Liability Issues
- School-Based Treatment Liability Risks
- Clinic Risks & Concerns
- Employee Hiring Processes
- Employee Retention Requirements
- State and Local Regulation
- Licensing Requirements
- Funding Sources
- Authorizer Requirements
- Important Liability Coverage Requirements For ABA Therapists
For most ABA practitioners, the liability coverage requirements are as follows:
Professional Liability Coverage for ABA Therapists
Professional liability coverage involves a wide range of aspects. This includes things like professional services fees incurred, any sort of wrongful act performed by an employee as well as potential violations of government mandates that stem from regulatory standards.
As an ABA therapist, you might be liable to those who are additionally insured. This might even include individuals who are already insured as well as those who have an active waiver of subrogation.
General Liability Coverage for ABA Therapists
For ABA practitioners General Liability policies cover things such as:
- Bodily Injury
- Accidental Property Damage
- Personal Injury
- Advertising Injury
It’s also worth noting that General Liability coverage can sometimes be divided into 3rd party coverage. This will be influenced by things like the number of occurrences, the pre-set limits as well as any deductible requirements outlined in the policy.
With a lot of these policies, the liability coverage will also differ anytime that there is additional insurance. This includes if the individual has a waiver of subrogation to those with common exclusion.
Coverage Against Abuse & Molestation
These policies cover vicarious liability, with exclusions, and limits with the first item being the most concentrated. In the case of ABA therapy vicarious liability is in effect if the person being insured is known, and there is an innocent party defense. The policy will specifically include language and terms of what items will be and should be covered.
For ABA therapists automobile liability covers any hired automotive, and non-owned automotive liability, as well as any potential physical damage liability.
In these policies, the physical damage claim is determined based on which person is involved, and whether or not they are insured or not insured. This will then be applied to the coverage of the liability, to serve in determining who can and cannot be allowed to handle transportation duties.
Cyber Liability For ABA Therapists
With the advent of telehealth and other cybertherapy portals, Cyber Liability coverage pertains to data breaches or other digital communications that compromised the personal information of a client or patient. This can also apply in addition to consideration of HIPAA concerns when it comes to assessing how much the coverage is and other options.
It’s also important to understand that as a new therapy platform, changing regulatory trends also need to be considered.
ABA practitioners also need to take into account WCIRB – NCCI regarding things like Workers’ Compensation. These changes are also applicable for funding sources, as well as the increased requirements and increased scrutiny of the process.
In recent years, regulatory trends, pertaining to things like accreditation, state licensing, and inspections also need to be considered as well.
Other Types of ABA Liability Claims
Even once you have your liability insurance coverages taken care of, there are still other factors that can affect how a claim is processed, or how it is treated in the legal arena. This includes:
An Independent Contractor who you employ as part of a therapy process will also need to be paid for their services rendered. This includes terms of worker compensation issues, as well as paying a fair price for services rendered. Paying too high of a fee for an independent contractor can affect your coverage requirements and premium costs for liability insurance.
Cyber or Data Breach Liability
Cyber or data breach liability can pertain to a variety of things. This includes:
- HIPAA Allegations/Violations
- The costs involved incurred by the breach
- If the attacker claims ransom
- The liability on who owns the records
These are some of the items that may be claimed in the event of a Cyber/Data Breach.
It’s also worth noting that a single health data breach can cost more than $400 per patient. These incidents are often related to phishing and social engineering schemes.
Employment Practices Liability
Another possible misclassification for a claim can pertain to wrongful termination of an employee or failure to pay them what is deemed to be appropriate wages. This can extend to incidentals such as overtime, drive-time, and even schedule breaks in an employee’s work day.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
Workers’ compensation claims can include worker vs. contractor claim disputes, classification systems, and even the origins or potential causes of the injuries.
Injury to Children Claims
A lot of ABA therapists work with children who have autism spectrum disorder. This makes injury to children claims one of the most sensitive types of liability claims. Many of these situations originate from the clinical setting, or other venues such as community outings, injuries during outdoor activities, and sometimes even child abuse/molestation.