MMA, COPIC Offer Guidance on Malpractice Case

The MMA, in collaboration with COPIC, has developed additional guidance on the case of Popovich v. Allina Health, which increases liability exposure for hospitals in Minnesota.

The guidance is intended to give an overview of the likely impact of the case so MMA members can worry less about their malpractice risk and more about the health and safety of their patients.

On July 29, 2020, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued an unexpected decision that could impact Minnesota hospitals and independent physician practices who contract with them. The case involves a woman who sued for medical malpractice alleging that her husband, who suffered a stroke, received negligent medical care in two hospitals owned and operated by Allina Health.

Before this case, it was understood that a hospital could only be held liable for the medical negligence of hospital employees. Both the district court and court of appeals agreed with this prior ¬-understanding and Allina was not found liable because the providers involved were not hospital employees. However, the case was appealed, and the Minnesota Supreme Court found that “a plaintiff may assert a claim against a hospital to hold the hospital vicariously liable for the negligence of a non-employee based on a theory of apparent authority.” 

COPIC is the MMA’s preferred medical professional liability insurance carrier.