To avoid lawsuits, be the best CM you can be

Learn, and follow professional standards of care

The best way to avoid being named in a malpractice lawsuit is "to be the most knowledgeable and professional case manager you can. Period. End of story," asserts health care consultant Cathy Nearhoof, RN, BSN, CCM, NMCC, CLNC.

That means familiarizing yourself with case management standards of care and following them to the letter, says Nearhoof, owner of Integrist Healthcare Consulting in Pittsburgh.

Work and study to improve yourself professionally, Nearhoof suggests. Keep up with your continuing education units, even if it means doing it on your own time and expense. Read professional journals, join professional organizations, and get certified. Certification doesn’t necessarily make you a better case manager, but it does announce your commitment and dedication to the profession of case management, she adds.

Here are some of Nearhoof’s other suggestions for avoiding a lawsuit:

  • Show sincere concern for your patients’ well-being.
  • Include the patient in conversations with the practitioner and family members.
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  • Document everything.
  • Treat all patients the same — with professionalism, kindness, and sincerity — whether they are compliant or not. "
  • Treat everybody how you want to be treated, no matter what.