New PLIT resources aim to help members, veterinary students

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Veterinarians now have 24/7 access to information when they’re faced with a potential or actual professional liability insurance claim or veterinary license complaint. The AVMA PLIT launched its Action Center Sept. 16. This claims resource is an addition to the Trust’s online portal that seeks to help educate AVMA members on next steps and help insured members understand the process.

AVMA PLIT logo“Our new Action Center is an easy and convenient way for veterinarians to learn about the claims process. A malpractice allegation or a board complaint can be very stressful, and we wanted our insureds to know that they are not alone,” said Dr. Andrew Clark, interim CEO of AVMA PLIT (see bottom of page).

The Action Center includes instructional videos and a step-by-step explanation for veterinarians working through a potential or actual malpractice claim or license complaint. Veterinarians are encouraged to contact the Trust in the following situations:

  • An incident occurred that may lead to a malpractice claim.
  • A medical or surgical error occurred or is suspected.
  • A client is making a monetary demand or threatening to make a report to the licensing board.
  • A letter is received from a client’s attorney.
  • A letter or lawsuit papers are received from a licensing agency.

Additional tips for communicating with clients, wellness information, and testimonials are also available. The new site can be accessed via the PLIT home page or here.

Educating veterinary students

The PLIT introduced a student professional liability education module on Oct. 7. Veterinary students can watch a video outlining what to look for in a professional liability insurance policy, best practices to avoid client complaints, and keys to improving client interactions, among other things​. Afterward, viewers can take a quiz based on information covered in the video.

Dr. Nina Mouledous, an AVMA PLIT veterinarian, talks about the importance of communicating clearly with clients in an educational module the Trust recently created for veterinary students, available here.

The education module is the latest action in the Trust’s increasing outreach to veterinary students. In late 2015, the Trust announced it would sponsor student liability insurance for members of the Student AVMA starting Jan. 1. Veterinary students can visit here for more information. Coverage starts the day after an application is received.

Rate increase

In other PLIT news, there will be an overall 7 percent increase in the 2017 professional liability primary rates in all states except California.

The last rate increase was in 2008. However, claims costs for legal defense fees and settlement expenses for veterinary negligence continue to rise, making a rate increase necessary for the 2017 policy renewal, according to Trust letters sent this past October. The new rates are effective Jan. 1, 2017.

To make paying premiums easier, PLIT introduced a monthly payment option earlier this year. AVMA members can now choose this option, with no extra fees, via an automated electronic fund transfer. For more information, visit the PLIT website.

Interim CEO named for Trust

Dr. Andrew Clark has been named interim CEO of the AVMA PLIT, according to an Aug. 26 press release. He succeeds Dr. Janet Donlin, who has been named executive vice president and CEO of the AVMA.

Dr. Clark
Dr. Andrew Clark

Dr. Clark is a former equine practitioner who is regarded as an expert in practice management.

He served on the PLIT board of trustees from 2003-2015 and as chair of the Trust for the last two years of his term. During his tenure, he led initiatives for both veterinary and student members.

To Dr. Kent McClure, current chair of PLIT’s board, Dr. Clark is the perfect choice for the short term, ensuring that the Trust will continue to operate smoothly as it prepares its CEO search. Dr. McClure said in the release, regarding the CEO search, that “the board is taking time to assess exactly what they need moving forward.”

Dr. Donlin said, “Dr. Clark is uniquely qualified, possessing not only unmatched abilities but a true passion for the veterinary profession. A strong leader, Dr. Clark is fully committed to the Trust, absolutely member-focused.”

Dr. Clark (California-Davis ’77) started his career as an equine practitioner. While running his own veterinary practice, he sustained a serious injury that effectively ended his career as a practicing veterinarian. Committed to remaining active in the veterinary profession, Dr. Clark earned an MBA in 1999. From 2005-2011, he served as CEO of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. He now runs the consulting firm Virtual CEO, which works with veterinary businesses. He also serves on the board of directors of Equinext LLC, Business Infusions Software, the Veterinary Leadership Institute, and the Kentucky Horse Park as well as the advisory board of “eyeD,” an equine identification system.