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Nurse Staffing Liability

Who provides insurance coverage for temporary nurses? That’s the subject of a lawsuit being appealed in Washington DC.

The basic facts of the case are fairly straightforward – in April 2004 an outside staffing firm nurse was assisting in a delivery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a caesarian section was ordered and the mother was left partially paralyzed. The patient sued MedStar and the two employed physicians who performed the delivery. MedStar then sued the temporary nurse and her employer (Progressive Nursing Staffers of Virginia, Inc.). A $4M settlement was agreed to with Progressive staffing and the nurse paying $3M and MedStar paying $1M.

The insurance company who issued a policy to the nurse is suing MedStar trying to get a portion of their $3M settlement returned. The lawsuit, which is continuing to play out ten years after the original event, does not appear to be any closer to going away.

The details show the complicated insurance structures built by large health systems and the importance for health care professionals to hold their own insurance to protect their interests. MedStar Health controls “Medstar Liability Limited Insurance Company, Inc.”, A Washington DC domiciled Risk Retention Group to wrote the insurance for MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Medstar Liability Limited Insurance Company then buys reinsurance (insurance on itself) from MedStar owned “Greenspring Financial Insurance Limited, Inc.”, a Cayman Island based insurance company. Greenspring then likely buys reinsurance from commercial insurance companies who likely have a say any in the settlement of any large claims.

A temporary nurse who worked at MedStar would find themselves negotiating with MedStar, it’s Washington DC based affiliated insurance company, that insurance companies (MedStar owned) insurer based in the Cayman Islands and likely a whole slew of worldwide reinsurance companies that are three steps removed from the original facility. The legal bills for this type of litigation can be astronomical and are covered by buying individual malpractice insurance. Make sure to purchase comprehensive malpractice liability insurance including legal defense expenses to properly protect your assets and give your family piece of mind.

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