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Healthcare Risk Management – March 1, 2020

March 1, 2020

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  • Boards of Directors on Notice With Recent Caremark Decisions

    Two recent court rulings indicate courts may extend a corporate board’s duty to monitor further than the previous norm. Healthcare corporate directors could be at an increased risk of shareholder lawsuits and personal liability.

  • Develop Plan for Responding to Adverse Events

    Adverse events happen without warning, yet they require a carefully planned response to minimize damage and facilitate the most effective follow-up investigation. Facilities should plan now for how to respond to an unexpected death, a serious accident, or potential malpractice. It is critical to prepare an adverse event plan so that the response is not cobbled together in the heat of the moment, when emotions are running high.

  • Checklist for Responding to Adverse Events

    Risk managers should create a checklist for responding to adverse events to ensure the most effective response in a potentially stressful and hectic environment, experts say. Risk management should visit the scene of the incident — the floor, the procedure room, ICU, radiology department — prepared to conduct what amounts to a triage of the incident.

  • Include Communications in Adverse Event Plans

    When planning to respond effectively to adverse events, it is important to include a crisis communication plan. A key part of the plan is a designated crisis team including members for each defined functional area of the organization.

  • Choose Outside Counsel Carefully; Avoid Common Mistakes

    When risk managers are involved in selecting outside counsel for the hospital or health system, the task can seem daunting. Choosing the right counsel involves considering a multitude of factors, including fees, availability, experience, size of the firm, and even whether it seems like a good fit culturally.

  • Top Factors to Consider in Choosing Outside Counsel

    Risk managers may be involved in helping choose outside counsel for the hospital or health system. There are many factors to consider before making the right choice.

  • Failure to Remove Sponge Results in $10.5 Million Verdict

    The facts of the case left little doubt as to whether hospital staff had violated their duty of care. In addition to the ethical requirement to tell the patient about the retained sponge, there is a licensing and regulatory requirement as well.

  • Appellate Court Reverses Summary Judgment Based on Expert’s Disqualification

    This case demonstrates the importance of expert witnesses, which not only can determine a case at trial, but even potentially before trial. Although the outcome of this case remains uncertain, and the patient has not been awarded any monetary damages, the appellate court ruling certainly is a setback for the defendant care provider, and reopens a window of opportunity for the patient to continue the allegations of malpractice.

  • Expect More High-Tech Breaches, Attorney General Audits This Year

    The trend for HIPAA compliance is toward more breaches and complex breaches than seen in earlier years of efforts to follow the privacy rule, say some experts. A sharp increase in cyberattacks also may be coming this year.

  • HIPAA Settlements Hold Lessons on Right of Access, Breach Reporting

    The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently announced two HIPAA settlements that offer lessons for covered entities regarding right of access and failure to notify after a breach. In early 2019, OCR announced it would take steps to enforce the rights of patients to receive copies of their medical records timely and at a reasonable cost. This led to the introduction of the HIPAA Right of Access Initiative.

  • Wrong Person Receives Bill, OCR Secures $2.175 Million Fine

    Sentara Hospitals in Virginia and North Carolina agreed to take corrective actions and pay $2.175 million to settle potential HIPAA violations stemming from a complaint alleging the organization sent a bill to an individual containing another patient’s PHI. OCR determined Sentara mailed 577 patients’ PHI to wrong addresses.