Risk managers now interact with all leadership levels
As risk managers took on more responsibility in healthcare organizations, they began interacting with a much broader group of hospital leaders, including clinical directors, notes R. Stephen Trosty, JD, MHA, CPHRM, president of Risk Management Consulting in Haslett, MI, and a past president of ASHRM.
The expansion of risk management into other areas of the hospital, along with more demands for risk management from The Joint Commission and from some state laws, made the profession more prominent. More responsibility also led to the expansion of risk management departments within healthcare, increasing the number of people in the profession, he notes.
The introduction of regulatory issues such as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) greatly increased the need for compliance within healthcare organizations, which in turn created more value for the risk manager, Trosty notes.
"This was all reflected in the certification exams and the textbooks that were being developed, recognizing that there needed to be a consistent approach to some things in risk management," Trosty says. "The expansion of risk management meant that we were taking on more and more responsibilities, and people had to keep learning new skill sets."
The ASHRM past presidents all point to enterprise risk management as evidence of how much the field has evolved. This effort to be proactive in many areas of healthcare, and to contribute a positive effect on growth and quality rather than simply preventing negative effects, requires a risk manager with a wide range of skills, they say.
"You have to have skills in litigation, claims, finance, leadership, management, operations," says Leilani Kicklighter, RN, ARM, MBA, CPHRM, LHRM, a patient safety and risk management consultant with The Kicklighter Group in Tamarac, FL, and a past president of ASHRM. "You have to have a whole lot of knowledge in a whole lot of things."