Guidelines could help save on bottom line

Risk managers could put The Leapfrog Group’s guidelines to good use, says a risk manager familiar with the group’s initiatives.

Since they are in line with initiatives that most risk managers would endorse to some degree, this could be a good time to push hospital administrators to do the right thing, says R. Stephen Trosty, JD, MA, director of risk management at Mutual Insurance Corp. of America in East Lansing, MI. If health care providers were reluctant to adopt measures to reduce errors because of the expense, the financial risk of not complying with The Leapfrog Guidelines could be enough to change their minds.

"If the potential to lose business is big enough, then I think hospitals may be left with no choice," he says. "These are things that risk managers have been advocating for a while, so now we can point to the risk of not doing it as well as the positive impact on claims reduction, expenses, and costs. Risk managers can help develop that side of the equation, to show that there is both a risk and a benefit."

The best strategy for risk managers is to "pay very close attention to what’s being asked, and the implications for your employer," Trosty says.

In particular, he says risk managers should assess The Leapfrog Guidelines in these terms:

• Does our facility have any special problems that these improvements might address? Does our facility have a higher-than-average occurrence of prescription errors, for instance?

• Where is our organization already with regard to these improvements? Have we done anything at all to move in that direction or would we be starting at square one?

• What would we need to do to reach full compliance? How much would that cost?

• Who would we need to put on a team to develop these initiatives?