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Healthcare Risk Management – July 1, 2016

July 1, 2016

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  • EMTALA Still a Risk, But Some Are Letting Down Their Guard

    The Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed an award of punitive damages that was 386 times the hospital’s share of compensatory damages for a violation.

  • $1.45 Million EMTALA Award Despite Rendering Aid

    The Kentucky Supreme Court recently affirmed an award of punitive damages against a hospital for violating the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act that was 386 times the hospital’s share of compensatory damages. The jury originally awarded $1.5 million in punitive damages against the hospital, which was later reduced to $1.45 million.

  • Case Shows How EMTALA Can Apply to Inpatients

    The case of Moses v. Providence Healthcare System is a good illustration of how a court can interpret the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act in a surprising way, says Ann Lambrecht, RN, BSN, JD, FASHRM, senior risk specialist with Coverys, a Boston-based company that provides insurance, risk management, and claims service for caregivers who are located in the Northeast.

  • HIPAA Can Be Challenging with Dementia Patients

    Patients with dementia may require special attention with regard to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as they aren’t always able to communicate effectively or give permission for clinicians to talk to others about their healthcare.

  • Vicarious Liability Becoming More of a Threat

    With all the legal risks that hospitals face, it used to be that risk managers could be confident, at least, that vicarious liability was a pretty weak threat. In most cases, hospitals were not held liable if the physician was independent and no hospital employees were involved.

  • Drug Diversion Sting Goes Wrong And Privacy Is Questioned

    A California hospital was trying to do the right thing when it set up a video camera to catch drug diversion, but it may have ended up violating patient privacy when the cameras recorded patient care and explicit images.
  • Settling Too Soon? Expect Long-Term Consequences

    Taking a malpractice case to trial is never something you look forward to, but settling the case is not always the best alternative. Knowing when to settle, and when not to, can be critical in minimizing your losses from a malpractice allegation, says Catherine J. Flynn, JD, an attorney with the law firm of Carroll McNulty and Kull in Basking Ridge, NJ.

  • Use the Right Doctors and the Right Data To Improve Coverage in the ED

    Having the right set of ED physicians will reduce the need for specialist coverage, says Pascal Crosley, DO, vice president of CEP America and medical director at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, MD. The more experienced and skilled that the ED physicians are, the less often they will need to call in specialists, he says.

  • AHRQ Tool Identifies Harm to Children in Hospitals

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a new “trigger tool” for flagging adverse events in children.

  • New Standards Proposed for Patient Safety, Quality

    The CMS recently proposed new standards intended to enhance patient safety and improve the quality of care in hospitals. Among several initiatives, the rule seeks to reduce overuse of antibiotics and implement comprehensive requirements for infection prevention.

  • Jury Awards $6 Million to Woman Due to Mislabeled CT Scan

    A woman arrived at the ED of a hospital and was complaining of abdominal pain. ED staff ordered a CT scan of the woman’s lower abdomen. The radiology department reported that the woman’s CT scan indicated a perforated bowel and/or appendix. However, the CT scan that the radiology department reported actually was that of another patient and had been incorrectly labeled as the woman’s CT scan.

  • Improper Administration of a Drug Yields Verdict of $44.1 Million From Jury

    In 2011, a 57-year-old woman was transferred to a hospital to treat a benign brain tumor. The hospital removed the tumor and prescribed heparin, an anticoagulant medication. However, staff failed to follow proper procedures in the administration of heparin over nine days.