There may be several areas of potential vulnerability for a practicing physician. You probably already know the risk of patient litigation, but are there ways you could reduce the risk of it occurring in the first place or of a negative outcome if it does happen? What about other areas of risk? Have a look at the following areas in your practice and see if there are actions you should be taking.
Protecting Practice Records
Do you have adequate backup of records? What if a hard drive crashes? If you do have adequate backup, how long will it take to get things back online? Marisa Torrieri, Associate Editor for Physicians Practice, has useful tips in her article, Protecting Your Medical Practice’s Data: http://www.physicianspractice.com/technology/protecting-your-medical-practices-data
Protection against Fraud and Abuse
Is your practice “fraud-proof”? In Keith Martin’s report, potential risks are listed, including employee work related and financial pressures, opportunity, and rationalization (e.g. “I’m just borrowing money” or “the company is short-changing us”). Dissatisfied employees are more easily identified as potential risks but others can be also, even those hard working or long time, seemingly happy employees. You simply cannot always know all going on in their lives, such as drug abuse, gambling or being dissatisfied with their employer. This report recommends an “operational review” by an expert, such as a CPA who can thoroughly examine practices, procedures and finances for potential problems.
Dealing With Medical Malpractice Claims
According to MomMD, “When it comes to medical malpractice, there is no one asset protection strategy or technique that will protect all of your assets.” Medical malpractice insurance may not be sufficient to protect all your assets. This article provides tips on reducing your exposure to medical malpractice claims, including obtaining advice from a qualified asset protection attorney.
For information and resources to help with a possible or current malpractice claim (or for the just plain curious), check out the Physician Litigation Stress Resource Center.
What Insurances Do I Need?
If you are in private practice, you should already know of the importance of professional, general liability and property insurance. Have you also considered business interruption, life or practice overhead insurance? This American Academy of Family Physicians Insurance Program article discusses why you may want to consider these types of protection.
Physician License Protection
According to Never Face a Medical Board Investigation Alone by Batya Swift Yasger, many physicians make the mistake of responding to a medical board member without considering the risks and getting appropriate help. The case of an endocrinologist illustrates the point well; she provided patient records to the Board believing the claim was obviously ridiculous and would be dismissed. It was dismissed; but not before scrutiny of the record keeping led to undesired consequences. The physician states, “I didn’t realize what a Pandora ’s Box I’d opened. I had to defend every comma of my record-keeping. Then the Board began reviewing the charts of my other patients and finding all sorts of supposed ‘flaws.’” Her record keeping was monitored for the next 2 years at her expense. The article stresses no complaint should be taken lightly, your Board can investigate everything about you and consulting an attorney with appropriate experience is a must.
This Zur Institute article provides numerous helpful tips for professionals facing investigation from their respective board
We Can Help
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