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Healthcare Risk Management – January 1, 2010

January 1, 2010

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  • Fifth wrong-site surgery brings harsh penalties, scrutiny

    When the same "never event" happens five times in two years at the same hospital, something is terribly wrong. Risk managers and patient safety experts are aghast at the reports coming from Rhode Island's largest hospital and wondering what it means about the culture of that institution and the state of patient safety efforts across the country
  • Hospital already was trying to prevent errors

    Ironically, the fifth wrong-site surgery occurred at Rhode Island Hospital as it continues working with The Joint Commission's Center for Transforming Healthcare on improving surgical protocols. The hospital volunteered for the project to improve the safeguards to prevent patients from undergoing wrong-site, wrong-side, and wrong-patient surgical procedures.
  • CT scan of pregnant woman after ID error

    The string of wrong-site errors at Rhode Island hospital may be attention-getting, but the hospital is not the only one experiencing this never event. An identification error led to a pregnant woman undergoing a CT scan intended for another patient at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center in Glendale, AZ, which is now prompting litigation.
  • Avoid being drawn into billing fraud

    It is challenging enough to ensure compliance with Medicare billing rules within your own organization, but don't forget that you also can be drawn into someone else's scam. Federal authorities are cracking down on billing fraud that originates outside your hospital, and if you aren't careful, you can be caught up in the prosecution, with all the attached liability.
  • Vet vendors, watch out for fraud warnings

    Risk managers are obligated to take the proper steps to detect fraudulent activity and to avoid becoming a naive conspirator, says Steve Lee, an investigator with Steve Lee & Associates, a forensic accounting and litigation consulting firm in Los Angeles. He has consulted on a number of high-profile fraud cases and says risk managers can reduce their vulnerability to billing scams with a few simple precautions.
  • Qui tam changes may bring more fraud suits

    As if the False Claims Act (FCA) wasn't already enough of a headache for risk managers, recent changes to the law could bring even more reason to worry. Risk managers should be aware of how the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 (FERA) will affect them, says Richard Glovsky, JD, a partner with the Boston-based law firm Prince Lobel.
  • Lean management can work to risk manager's favor

    Lean management is a big trend in the business world these days, including the health care arena, but risk managers may assume that the "lean" is all about budget cutting and belt tightening. Not at all, say the experts in this strategy and the health care providers who are using it.
  • Hospital reduces ED wait with lean management

    Lean management techniques helped Lahey Clinic Medical Center, North Shore, in the city of Peabody, MA, boost patient satisfaction and reduce emergency department (ED) waiting times.
  • Legal Review & Commentary: Patient under observation commits suicide: Verdict for the defense

    News: A man with a history of suicidal ideation was involuntarily admitted to the hospital. The next day, the man was transferred to an acute care psychiatric facility and placed on 15-minute observation status by the on-call physician.
  • Legal Review & Commentary: Settlement in hypoxic injury case

    News: A woman presented at a hospital emergency department with complaints of headaches, blurry vision, and shortness of breath. Her work-up included a CT scan of her head, chest X-rays, and routine blood tests.
  • 2009 Salary Survey Results: Risk managers remain valued players in health arena

    With so much focus on health care these days reform, malpractice, and never events on everyone's mind risk managers are uniquely situated to influence the debate and display their value to employers.
  • 2009 Salary Survey Results: Income on the rise for risk managers

    The economy may be struggling, but Healthcare Risk Management's Salary Survey indicates that income for health care risk managers is generally on the upswing.