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Healthcare Risk Management – August 1, 2019

August 1, 2019

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  • ‘I’m Sorry’ Legislation Not Showing Anticipated Results

    The “I’m Sorry” movement has gained steam in the last few years. Risk managers have been encouraging physicians to show their regret and concern with patients after adverse events — not only because it is the right thing to do, but also in hopes of reducing potential liability. Thirty-six states passed apology laws, according to the Sorry Works! organization, which has promoted apologies after adverse events. But after years of trying that approach, is it really working out that way? Not necessarily, although that does not mean the apology approach is not worthwhile.

  • Counselors and Therapists Face Special Liability Risks

    Counselors face substantial liability risks that may not receive as much attention as other healthcare professionals, and the exposure may be increasing. The authors of a closed claim report found that $7.8 million was paid for counselor malpractice claims over a five-year period. The Counselor Liability 2019 Claim Report found that $8 million was paid during the previous 10 years.

  • Slip and Fall Prevention Different for Employees Than Patients

    Risk managers always address fall prevention with patients, but do employees get enough attention? Healthcare employees are at risk of falls every day, and the tactics that work best with patients may not be the most effective when preventing potential workers’ compensation claims.

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  • Protect Metadata When Disclosing Information From Electronic Health Records

    Information from electronic health records can contain metadata that are not immediately recognizable to the user, but could contain specific protected health information about patients. Inadvertently providing this metadata could provide useful information to the opposition in a malpractice case, and could create other problems for the patient.

  • Address Metadata With Protocol for Subpoenas

    A strict protocol for responding to subpoenas can reduce the risks that come with inadvertently releasing too much information, or the wrong information. Experts have found that the best practice for responding to subpoenas or authorizations for production of medical records in legal cases is to set up a special department or designate an employee as the legal health information management representative. All requests for records in a legal case would be funneled through a person or persons trained in the legal issues and with ready access to the legal department or outside legal counsel when questions arise.

  • Future for Risk Managers Will Require Flexibility, Learning

    Risk managers seeking to improve their careers must evolve continually with the changing healthcare landscape. There are new technologies to consider, along with value-based reimbursement models, that are dependent on quality patient outcomes. Healthcare delivery models continue to bring new and sometimes unfamiliar services and exposures to an organization.

  • Patient Loses Eye to Improper Sterilization of Surgical Equipment; Awarded $3.5 Million

    The lessons from this case include the importance of proper sterilization, as well as the legal procedures and appeal options. The appellate court noted that the hospital did not dispute the possibility that a breach in the sterilization process had occurred; instead, the hospital focused its challenge on the fact that the patient had not presented convincing evidence demonstrating that the breach in sterilization practices had caused the infection.

  • Appellate Court Rejects Loss-of-Chance Argument for Patient Who Suffered Stroke

    This case reveals a potent defense for physicians and care providers: A patient must prove causation when raising a malpractice allegation. A plaintiff must prove that the physician or care provider’s conduct is a substantial factor in causing the harm, which means that it must be more than a remote or trivial factor. However, it does not have to be the only cause of the harm. If the harm would have occurred without the physician or care provider’s conduct, then the conduct was not a substantial factor in causing harm.