The evolution of medical care has been a common topic of late with issues such as skyrocketing prices and The Affordable Care Act. The actual treatment of patients just isn’t the same as it was only a few years ago. One of the latest trends is telemedicine or virtual medicine, which was created to fill a need for the uninsured and underinsured. This is viewed as a convenient alternative to traditional care. It allows children who may not have ready access to a physician the ability to see a doctor or nurse at school and on a shorter time frame via video connection.

What is the advantage of telemedicine to our schools? Children who are sick or don’t feel well aren’t as productive and, if contagious, can infect other students. The ability to treat these children quickly avoids these pitfalls. Telemedicine may help to prohibit illnesses that, if left untreated, would become more serious and to keep chronic conditions in check.

At TNMRT we are aware that some of our school systems have been approached and are considering allowing medical clinics to set up such a facility in their schools. The practice of medicine on school grounds presents a new and significant liabillity exposure to our member systems as this practice goes far beyond the traditional role of a school nurse. These clinics are “for profit” enterprises and as such should bear the expense of protecting themselves and the school systems from claims and lawsuits for improper treatment or injuries arising from their operations. No coverages whatsoever are afforded by TNRMT to these clinics.

TNRMT does provide coverage to protect our members, their school nurses, and other emergency medical personnel from liability claims while acting within their scope of duties.

As always TNRMT urges all school systems to protect themselves from unnecessary exposure to casualty loss. We offer the following advice in considering a relationship with these clinics.

Always obtain a certificate of insurance that names your entity as an additional insured just as you would any other vendor. The vendor should have adequate liability limits to protect themselves and your school system. In this case medical malpractice and general liability of at least $1,000,000 is recommended. Workers compensation should be provided by the vendor for all of its employees.
School nurses and other employees should have no role when students or others are being treated in these on-site clinics. If you wish to do so, you must confirm that the nurse will be covered by this vendors insurance, as the TNRMT policy will provide no coverage for that nurse or employee while acting on behalf of the clinic.
Any contract with a medical vendor should also contain hold harmless language to protect the school. Always consult with your board attorney prior to entering into any contractual agreement.
For follow-up questions on this topic, please call Tom Stanley, 615 651-8625, ext. 138 or Tom Montgomery, 615 822-5454.

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