5 Situations Where Testing Labs May Be Legally at Risk

May 21, 2021 •

Laboratory testing is a crucial part of healthcare, and up to 80% of decisions made by doctors rely on such tests. Unfortunately, there are a number of legal risks associated with testing labs, which are regulated by CLIA and subject to penalties if they don’t conform. Read on to find out whether you may be at risk and why you should consider purchasing professional and general liability insurance.

5 Situations Where Testing Labs May Be Legally at Risk

1. If the Lab Fails Proficiency Testing

Qualified labs have to partake in regular proficiency testing, which is when specimens are sent in for analysis in order to evaluate the performance of the lab. In case you fail to successfully undergo PT, your staff may need to attend additional training. However, the sanctions may be stricter if your patients are currently at risk or you repeatedly fail PT and don’t provide evidence that the problem is being corrected.

To make sure you don’t run into trouble related to proficiency testing, all staff members should be trained to a high standard. Having a lawyer who understands these kinds of requirements may help, but liability insurance is an important backup, especially since the PT rules can change over time.

2. If Test Results Are Wrong

Even in a well-run lab, mistakes can happen and test results can get mixed up. Despite the fact that this is normal, it can cause significant issues if the patient decides to sue for medical malpractice. In most cases, they may just dispute the bill, but in extreme situations, a wronged patient could seek out an attorney and pursue the matter legally. This is most likely when the faulty diagnosis affects the treatment or even the outcome of the patient.

Medical malpractice is regulated by state, so the amount of risk you run depends on which area of the US you live in. But no matter the exact rules and regulations, it is prudent to protect yourself against legal action by acquiring the relevant insurance policy.

3. If You and Employees Are Constantly Under Pressure

One of the main reasons why mistakes happen is because people are tired, overworked, or in a rush. Labs where the culture is one of speed instead of care are more likely to be at risk and face the consequences later on. Instead of cutting corners or rushing staff, a focus on careful evaluation, double-checking, and properly training everyone involved can prevent costly errors.

Evaluate your lab by asking yourself some of the following questions. What is valued more: speed or safety? Are all staff members trained adequately and are the results always reviewed by qualified scientists? Are all specimens transported, stored, and disposed of in the correct manner? If you can answer all of these questions satisfactorily, your lab is likely as safe as it can be.

4. The Results Take Too Long

Labs are very busy and can easily get backed up while servicing many types of healthcare providers and facilities, especially during overwhelming times during the pandemic. A patient may determine their condition worsened due to putting off treatment while awaiting their lab test results. They may sue the lab for causing delayed treatment and contributing to their pain and suffering.

5. If Attorneys Don’t Know Lab Law

Although hiring a competent attorney can help you to navigate legal difficulties when they crop up, it may be hard to find a lawyers that are intimately familiar with the laws surrounding testing laboratories. This is why being covered by liability insurance is not optional. By anticipating issues upfront and covering yourself before the problem comes up, you can avoid the hassle of dealing with complex legal matters later on. Your insurance company will provide educated legal representation with knowledge on how to best defend you.

Testing labs need both professional and general liability insurance to protect them from risk of human error, faulty test results, and accidents that may occur on the property. NOW Insurance provides insurance to healthcare facilities and providers that is simple fast and affordable. Get an instant quote today from our simple online application in under 3 minutes.