In this 20-minute podcast, hear Jim Saxton, from the law firm of Stevens and Lee discuss why post adverse event is such an important issue for physicians, the advantages (and potential drawbacks) of physicians saying, " I'm sorry," and the importance of coming up with a plan and policy for the practice on handling adverse events. He also discusses why this is an issue not only for physicians but for everyone on the team in a medical practice. http://www.stevenslee.com
Interview with Jon Zimring, Partner, Duane Morris, LLP, based in Chicago discusses his articles from recent issues of The Journal of Medical Practice Management. Mr. Zimring discusses how to define a "dangerous employee", why physicians and physician practices seem to be increasingly on the hot seat for liability, are workplaces becoming more dangerous or is the danger simply increasing for employers? He also covers useful information a practice leader can gain from employee exit interviews, and how to keep personnel policies relevant in today's changing employee pool. www.duanemorris.com
The provision of health care services is not exempt from either human error or clinical misjudgments. However, many malpractice claims arise from neither of those sources but from poor communication systems, faulty office practices, or inadequate documentation. This podcast describes 20 practical risk management strategies a physician practice can implement to strengthen aspects of the care delivery process and reduce potential liability exposure. Some of the subjects addressed in this podcast include the importance of documenting telephone advice to patients; determining when and how to terminate patients; improving communication and listening styles; how to effectively obtain the patient's informed consent; and implementing careful oversight mechanisms with the receipt of outside diagnostic test results.
Shay Ellen Zeemer practices litigation and counseling in Labor and Employment Law at the Powell Goldstein office in Atlanta, Georgia. Her practice includes representing management in employment discrimination lawsuits in various state, federal and administrative jurisdictions, including race, sex, disability, family and medical leave, and other discrimination claims.
This podcast interview discusses the hot topics in employment law right now; what areas listeners need to pay the most attention to over the next year; the unique employment issues medical practices face; do small practices really need to worry about employment laws; the sense that everyone just "gets along" in a small office; discrimination and sexual harassment; what steps a medical practice needs to take to minimize employment risks; and what every-day steps can a medical practice take to make sure it stays on the right side of the employment laws?
From the article in The Journal of Medical Practice Management by Toni Hendel, Esq. This podcast cites three court decisions involving physicians who provided an informal or "curbside" consultation. The cases demonstrate the medico-legal implications of physicians engaging in informal consultations. The author then discusses the growing risk of liability for physicians who participate in this traditional practice.
From a JMPM article written by Fillmore Buckner, M.D. J.D. This podcast discusses clear ways any physician or office manager can avoid major legal problems by paying close attention to the needs and rights of office invitees. The focus of any physician considering insurance should include not only malpractice insurance but also premises liability insurance.
The MSSPNexus web site and blog were created to support and publicize the vital work of the medical staff services profession. It focuses on news and information for medical staff service professionals and others who work in healthcare management, medical staff administration, quality, accreditation, law and provider credentialing. Discussion includes the importance of blogging in providing news and information for medical administrators; credentialing physicians; examples of "phony doctors" and how the credentialing process helped expose them; the role of blogging for physicians and hospitals in the future; characteristics of a good blog; validity of information on the Internet and how medical blogging is self-correcting.
This podcast provides some guidance to help practitioners realize the fuller value of chart reviews in terms of over- and under-coding, adequacy of documentation, and attorney- client privilege.
SoundPractice interviews Rob Falk, a lawyer specializing in health care for Powell Goldstein, LLP about fraud and abuse in medicine.
A recent District Court of Pennsylvania decision may change the math of whistleblower law suits. Under the federal False Claims Act, an individual with knowledge of fraudulent claims can file a law suit on behalf of the government and receive anywhere between 15 and 25 percent of the government's recovery. Given that the False Claims Act authorizes damages of up to three times the claims submitted plus $11,000 per claim, the damages can be hefty. (Note, the theoretically highest penalties available are almost never awarded).
Recently, in United States ex rel. Nudelman v.International Rehabilitation Associates Inc., E.D. Pa., No. 00-1837, a "whistleblower" asked that the percentage award be based not only on the value of the false claims submitted, but also include the cost of the corporate integrity agreement ("CIA") used to monitor the provider after the settlement. The dollars involved were significant. The amount of the claims at issue: $1.65 million. The estimated cost of implementing the CIA: $1.5 million. In this case, the whistleblower was using the additional cost as a way to argue that the "bounty" fee should be doubled.
The district court held for the whistleblower and allowed the relator's take to be based on both the value of the claims and the cost of the CIA. If this decision is allowed to stand, it would provide further motivation for corporate insiders to file whistleblower suits. It would also give them a stake in having more punitive and costly corporate integrity agreements. Has this court overstepped its bounds? This decision will certainly be controversial.
The case of Terri Schiavo was tragedy from all perspectives. It pitted family member against family member in a fight over what her final wishes would have been. Because Ms. Schiavo did not put her wishes in writing, she became the focal point of one of the ugliest court battles in American history.
Every state recognizes advance directives, which allow patients to state how they want their end-of-life care to be handled. Physicians should routinely ask patients if they have an advance directive. Make it part of your intake process. Put the advance directive in the patient's chart. Take the time to go over the advance directive with the patient. If they do not have an advance directive, encourage them to execute one. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (www.nhpco.org) has model forms for every state available on their website. And if you, as a physician, don't have an advance directive for yourself, take the time now to get one.
Remember, we are all one accident away from not being able to make decisions for ourselves. Let's make sure our families and our health care providers know what we want. No more Terri Schiavos.
Glen D. Crick, J.D.
Physicians may become the object of investigation by a variety of regulatory and governmental bodies. In this podcast, Glen D. Crick, J.D. outlines an approach to responding to inquiries by such agencies in ten steps. It emphasizes the physician's right to remain silent, to defer responses and to obtain legal counsel.
Steven Peltz, CHBC
Failure to set forth an appropriate framework for collaboration and employment between physicians can be the source of much distress and acrimony. This podcast covers an editorial from Steven Peltz and provides practical guidelines that will help physicians structure corporate or partnership agreements and employment agreements that are fair and clear.
Daniel I. Small, Esq.
The practice of medicine does not translate well into the practice of tort litigation. The various conflicts between professional characteristics and the circumstances of litigation turn many good doctors into poor witnesses. This podast by Daniel I. Small, Esq addresses the, "Four E's" to help explain the challenges doctors face as witnesses and the challenges lawyers face in preparing them.