Practice Management Tips

Adverse Medical Incidents

Adverse medical incidents that you report to your insurance company might not be covered by them or the new insurer when you switch carriers if your policies differ on one important "trigger" clause. Always ask if your policy's definition of a claim includes incident reports.

Some companies insuring Florida doctors are not part of the state's guarantee fund, so if they become insolvent you will lose your coverage for even an open claim.

Because of Florida laws, medical malpractice insurance companies can settle a case against the wishes of an insured physician.

No malpractice insurance company will cover any punitive damages against you.

Some malpractice insurance companies will not even defend you if sexual misconduct is alleged, or if you alter your records. - Your Mobile Device and Health Information Privacy and Security offers a significant number of web and print-ready materials that your organization can use to educate providers and staff about protecting and securing health information when using mobile devices. The materials include web banners and badges, posters, postcards, factsheets, and brochures. A slide presentation and a set of frequently asked questions are also available. Further, your organization should consider reviewing state regulations related to HIPAA security and mobile devices and incorporating state-specific information into all staff education and policy development.

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American Health Information Management Association - HIPAA Compliance for Clinician Texting

This article published by the American Health Information Management Association provides an overview of the risks associated with text messaging. Additional areas covered in the article include HIPAA risk analysis, third-party use, electronic storage, and security considerations related to electronic protected health information (ePHI). The notes at the end of the article provide additional resources that may be helpful when developing ePHI policies and procedures for your organization.

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Some companies do not cover the defense for regulatory investigations such as ACHA, OSHA, or those related to Medicare, Medicaid, or HIPAA. This coverage can be purchased independently if your policy does not cover such investigation defense. Only a few policies cover both defense costs as well as fines. Most policies have an internal limit of $25,000/$75,000 for this coverage, and some companies offer higher limits for a small charge.

To protect yourself from becoming uninsurable, you need to be very cautious about reporting to your insurer incidents you may have some concern about turning into a claim. Good risk management practices dictate that you notify your insurer immediately upon a bad outcome or about a disgruntled or threatening patient. However, in this market, if you have too many incident reports on your record most insurers are reluctant to offer you new coverage, so weigh very carefully if you really want to make an incident report. Once you receive an official notice of intent to sue from a patient's attorney, of course you should then immediately involve your insurance carrier.

The guidelines suggested are not rules, do not constitute legal advice, and do not ensure a successful outcome. They attempt to define principles of practice for providing appropriate care. The principles are not inclusive of all proper methods of care nor exclusive of other methods reasonably directed at obtaining the same results.

The ultimate decision regarding the appropriateness of any treatment must be made by each health care provider in light of all circumstances prevailing in the individual situation and in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which the care is rendered.


Disclosing an unanticipated outcome to a patient or a family/caregiver can be daunting and stressful. However, the following tips can help frame the conversation and provide useful reminders about essential disclosure information. Continue Reading>>


A significant part of any patient's experience relates to his or her ability to gather, process, and comprehend health information. These functions allow the patient to make informed decisions concerning his or her health and healthcare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website on health literacy provides state-specific links to health literacy activities. Information about training in health literacy also is available on the CDC's website. Some of the training modules offer continuing education credits for physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.

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An excellent way to engage patients in their healthcare experience, assess their level of understanding, and ultimately reduce risks (especially during care transitions) is to incorporate the teach-back method into all aspects of the care your organization provides to patients. Numerous Iowa-based healthcare organizations developed an exceptional training toolkit, which is available free of charge through the support of several grants. The toolkit includes an interactive learning module, coaching tips, a coaching observation tool, and videos. Several of the videos are tailored to specific audiences, e.g., nursing staff, medical staff, and clinical leadership.

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