What did you think when you first heard the term "tail coverage?"

If you are like me, this topic generated the “look around the room searching for other people as pseudo-confused as myself” reaction and initiated the faint impetus to raise my hand and ask a question. What I could surmise at the time was that it was quite an important thing to have. I’m pretty sure Wikipedia’s definition was my initial introduction to the concept of tail coverage.

Throughout residency, I developed a healthy respect for the truth of the field we practice. Litigation is unfortunately something that is not going away. We all have heard the horror stories. ED physicians have committed suicide over bad outcomes and the lawsuits these generate. They may have done an excellent job, but a jury may have felt otherwise. I knew early on in my training that I wanted the best malpractice insurance I could obtain.

One in 25,000 cases seen in the United States turns into a claim. Speaking in generalities, you will see about two patients an hour in most community emergency departments. You will work about 1,500 hours a year. By this math it will take a little over 8 years for you to see 25,000 patients. Hopefully, you won’t generate the claim that the stats tell you is bound to happen.

When I sat down and asked the important questions with USACS, I realized some interesting things. I learned the rate of claims against USACS physicians was .65/25,000 cases … well below the industry average. Why was that? It goes beyond the fact that USACS hires the best and brightest physicians. I learned that USACS has a robust and aggressive risk management philosophy. We incorporate cutting edge research about the legal issues in our field. We communicate actively and ensure that we utilize a three strikes fail-safe system for cases that are notoriously litigious. This system utilizes an on-call physician that is an ever present second opinion, even when you are working single coverage.

In addition, USACS owns its own malpractice insurance company and employs its own legal team. What does this mean? If a claim occurs, you are sure to be represented by one of our own. No third party interests will be involved. There will be much less incentive to settle, and much more incentive to fight any case you are named in. And yes, we have tail coverage. In fact, it’s better than tail coverage. It is occurrence-based so the tail doesn’t even play a role. If the claim occurred while you are working for USACS, you are covered forever.

USACS's tail coverage is second to none, and I can sleep at night knowing those things are taken care of there. Finally, some statistics I felt good about!