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Risk Topics


Using Secure Portals for Patient Test Results

November 2020  |  Jeffrey A. Woods, JD

In last month’s article, we discussed how better patient communication can help prevent missed appointments and improve follow-up. One of the safest and most convenient methods of communication with established patients is a portal. A patient portal is a secure online website that gives patients 24-hour...

Mandatory Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) Effective January 1, 2021

November 2020  |  Julie Loomis, RN, JD

Most prescribers are aware of the upcoming requirement for Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) as mandated by the federal SUPPORT Act of 2018 and effective January 1, 2021. Primarily, this federal mandate affects Medicare Part D EPCS. In addition to the federal law, many states have new or ...

Missed Appointments in the Time of COVID-19

October  |  Jeffrey A. Woods, JD

From a financial standpoint, missed appointments and “no-shows” have always been a significant problem for healthcare practitioners. It has been estimated that, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, the cost of missed patient appointments was more than $150 billion annually. Of course, the &ldqu...

Flu Shots in a Pandemic: Alternatives to In-Office Administration So That Patients Feel Safe

September  |  Julie Loomis, RN, JD

With COVID-19 still at the forefront of our nation’s health priorities, there is increasing concern about an overlapping flu season. Patients who are already deferring routine and even acute care needs may not be willing to come into the medical office to receive a flu vaccination. Health experts warn t...

The Evolving Threat of Ransomware. Cyber attacks have spiked during the pandemic: How prepared is your practice?

June 2020  |  Justin Joy, JD, CIPP

Ransomware continues to be a problem with devastating consequences for healthcare practices. While the threat is not new, recent changes in the nature and sources of these attacks have become increasingly concerning. In addition to extorting victims to decrypt data, recent reports of attacks have indicated th...

Counselor's Corner: The Missed Conversation in Primary Care

March 2020  |  Nita Byrne, LCSW

Recently I began seeing a new primary care provider. As an ovarian cancer survivor, I realize that I am not the easiest new patient to accept. Not only am I a cancer survivor, I am a psychotherapist. Right off the bat, I was very impressed by the provider’s combination of clinical expertise and genuine ...

The Physician's Dilemma When Facing Unsafe Drivers

January 2020  |  Jeffrey A. Woods, JD

Last year, Prince Philip, the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, overturned the Land Rover he was driving after colliding with a minivan on a rural road outside of London. Prince Philip was unhurt and the two women in the other vehicle suffered only minor injuries. This incident ...

Informed Consent: Best Practices

November 2019  |  Jeffrey A. Woods, JD

This article is the second in a series of two; the first appeared last month and can be accessed here.  In the previous article, we discussed important concepts of the informed consent process, including the need to document the discussion. What are best practices when documenting consent? Documentation...

Informed Consent

October 2019  |  Jeffrey A. Woods, JD

Where there is a bad outcome in claims, we frequently find the consent process, or at least, documentation of that process, was lacking. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are eager to assert the old adage that, “if it’s not documented, it wasn’t done.” While that is not necessarily true, it ...

The Scope of Practice and Medical Professional Liability

September 2019  |  Richard E. Moses, D.O., J.D.

Healthcare delivery in the United States has undergone numerous changes over the past 10 to 15 years, and its metamorphosis continues. These changes have created new medical professional liability (MPL) risks for physicians and other healthcare providers. Although scope of practice is not a new concept, it is...

The False Claims Act

August 2019  |  Wendy Longmire, JD

The False Claims Act (FCA) is a federal law which imposes liability on any person or entity who knowingly presents false or fraudulent claims for payments to the United States government or the Armed Forces of the United States; knowingly makes, uses, or causes to be made a false record or statement to get a ...

The Deposition - Why, When, and How?

July 2019  |  Wendy Longmire, JD

Many physicians have had the unfortunate experience of giving a deposition. Many physicians wonder if they have a choice to participate when it comes to a deposition. Whether you are a treating physician, a subsequent treating physician, a defendant in a lawsuit, or an expert hired for the case, you may be re...

Service Animals in the Clinical Setting

June 2019  |  Wendy Longmire, JD

DOGS ALLOWED? If you traveled by air in the past year, you probably noticed that the presence of animals is on the rise in airports and on airplanes. It is not just the airline industry facing the increased presence of service and emotional support animals.  How you deal with them can expose you to liti...

Successful Navigation Through an Adverse Risk Environment

May 2019  |  Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP

Editor’s Note: “Successful Navigation through an Adverse Risk Environment”, presented by Dr. Kevin Klauer, is one of our two live Risk Education options for SVMIC policyholders and staff. Using an interactive format, Dr. Klauer engages attendees and explores the multiple high-risk features o...

Potential Risks and Pitfalls of EHR Systems - Part II

April 2019  |  Jeffrey A. Woods, JD

In Part I last month, we discussed the potential risks and pitfall of EHR systems relative to digital assists and inconsistent processes. In this month’s article, we will examine additional concerns unique to EHR systems that could create potential risks for the provider including the audit trail and al...

Potential Risks and Pitfalls of EHR Systems - Part I

March 2019  |  Jeffrey A. Woods, JD

Electronic communication has revolutionized the care provided within healthcare. The ability to exchange healthcare information electronically and the utilization of electronic health records gives providers the opportunity to provide higher quality and safer care for patients while creating measureable benef...

Telemedicine Update: Consumer Technology, Industry Trends Continue to Drive Changes

September 2018  |  Justin Joy, JD, CIPP

A number of challenges and uncertainties—some perhaps more perceived than actual— continue to confront the use of telemedicine.  In examining trends in healthcare, however, many paths forward lead to increased telemedicine adoption by providers and utilization by patients. As reimbursement t...

Infection Control: Shore Up Your Practice's Plan

August 2018  |  Julie Loomis, RN, JD

It’s back to school time which means cold and flu season isn’t too far away. Although a medical practice’s infection control plan consists of much more than preparing for cold and flu, now might be a good time to shore up your practice’s plan. According to the Centers for Disease Contr...

Audio-Video Recording of Patient Visits

July 2018  |  Jeffrey A. Woods, JD

Everyone has a pocket-sized, easy-to-use audio/video recording device – a cell phone. Just as people record more and more of life’s events, many now record conversations with their physicians and other healthcare providers. These recordings can be performed either with permission or surreptitiousl...

Considerations When Disclosing Adverse Events

June 2018  |  Justin Joy, JD, CIPP

Healthcare professionals pride themselves on achieving high levels of excellence, if not routine near-perfection, in the care they provide. When an adverse event occurs, facing a patient and his or her family members can be challenging, especially when the adverse event resulted from an error. Approaching dis...

Understanding HIPAA Authorization Forms

June 2018  |  Loretta Duncan

Understanding when an authorization form is required to release protected health information (PHI) has been a challenge for the healthcare community since HIPAA required compliance with the Privacy Rule in April of 2003. Generally, a HIPAA-compliant authorization form is not necessary for most uses and disclo...

Falling Into Risk Reduction Opportunities

May 2018  |  Kathy Cartwright, BSN, RN, CPHQ, LNCC

Falls represent a large percentage of office and surgical accidents reported to SVMIC. Falls have also generated considerable attention from patient safety organizations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed an initiative specifically addressing patient falls in their “STEADI&rd...

Addressing Juror Expectations in Everyday Practice: MEDIC

April 2018  |  Jill Huntley Taylor, Ph.D

Dr. Taylor is a contributor to this year's Risk Education seminar "A Jury's Perspective - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" As a trial consultant, I am involved in conducting mock trials in all types of cases, including medical malpractice cases.  In each case, I am looking for the problems and opportunities...

Safe Medication Practices in the Physician Office

March 2018  |  Julie Loomis, RN, JD

It might surprise you to learn that in the five-year period from 2013-2017, twenty-four percent, or roughly one-fourth, of SVMIC’s paid closed claims in physician offices were attributable to errors in medication prescribing or management thereof.  Medication errors encompass all mistake...

Reducing Liability Exposure In the Physician Office

February 2018

As healthcare has shifted more toward the outpatient setting, the complexity and acuity of patients seen in that setting has intensified. As noted in MGMA’s Patient Safety and Quality Advisory Committee White Paper, “While most ambulatory care is less technically complex than inpatient care, it is...

Developing Protocols with Advanced Practice Providers

January 2018  |  Julie Loomis, RN, JD

Developing protocols with a nurse practitioner or physician assistant will require time and attention to detail, but it is one of the most important steps toward an effective, collegial and protective physician-PA/APRN relationship. Protocols are not “cookbook” recipes for managing clinical condit...

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