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Healthcare Risk Management – September 1, 2021

September 1, 2021

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  • Parents Still Unwilling to Speak Up About Safety Issues

    For decades, risk managers have tried to improve safety by encouraging patients and family members to speak up when they are concerned about care or suspect something might be wrong. Some progress has been made, but recent data suggest one group remains reluctant to speak up: the parents of pediatric patients.
  • Impaired Healthcare Workers Threaten Safety, But Also Need Support

    Impaired healthcare workers (HCWs) can pose a serious threat to patient safety, but they must be handled carefully and with respect to their own health conditions. Risk managers must ensure their organizations are prepared to protect patient safety while also working to help impaired HCWs receive treatment and return to work.
  • Billing Records Audits Require Prompt, Thorough Responses

    A government billing records audit will make most hospital leaders nervous because of the potential financial — and even criminal — consequences, but understanding the process and best practices can alleviate the stress.
  • New Threats to Cybersecurity Call for Vigilance, Preparation

    Cyberattacks are a major threat to healthcare organizations, with the potential for HIPAA data breaches, the loss of critical patient data, the inability to provide care, and substantial financial losses from ransoms and litigation. The White House is urging hospitals and health systems to take specific steps to improve cybersecurity.
  • Class Action Lawsuits Possible After Cyberattack

    Class actions stemming from ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly common as the public awakens to the likelihood these episodes often are accompanied by data extradition and breaches. In the last two years, it has become increasingly common for consumers who are concerned about their own data exposure to file class actions against companies (including cloud software providers and healthcare companies).
  • No Liability for Hospital Under Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act

    This case highlights important provisions of EMTALA, which is a less common basis for allegations of improper medical care when compared to standard allegations of medical malpractice. It also is an important reminder about how courts evaluate allegations of fraudulent concealment.
  • Proposed Expert Witnesses Correctly Disqualified, But Proper Witness Disregarded

    As often is the case, expert witnesses regularly play a pivotal role in medical malpractice actions. A foundational matter is whether an individual may qualify to serve as an expert witness. It can be extremely powerful for either party to challenge the other side’s prospective experts.
  • Court Rules No Private Right of Action for HIPAA, But Questions Remain

    Covered entities may have found themselves breathing a sigh of relief following a recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. In Payne v. Taslimi (998 F.3d 648), the court ruled the plaintiff could not sue as an individual for a HIPAA violation. However, the ruling is not necessarily a complete win for healthcare organizations.
  • HIPAA Records Retention: What Really Is Required?

    Risk managers and compliance officers for HIPAA-covered entities might be uncertain about what the privacy law requires regarding records retention because medical records, HIPAA records, federal laws, and state laws become entangled. Clarity on HIPAA records retention might relieve some burden so that covered entities are not doing more than necessary just to ensure compliance.