Recent years have brought about an interesting shift in Medical Professional Liability programs for health systems. Now more than ever, health systems are employing physicians. Whether it is to improve the coordination of care or private practices aligning closer with a system due to the threat of decreasing reimbursements, it appears the future will yield more employed physicians than ever before. What does this mean for risk? The following thoughts are meant to challenge your thinking to see how the risks of the past differ from those of the future
There are two primary areas of risk a health system will face with physicians:
1) Physicians practicing in the hospital setting
2) Physicians practicing in the hospital owned clinic
The first is more of the traditional risk which we have seen in past. The second is an area of Medical Malpractice risk which may not be completely new, but will continue to grow in the future.
The risk associated with an offsite medical clinic is different than that of the main hospital campus. Policies and procedures need to be tighter and more consistent as there is often less oversight. However, offsite clinics allow a health system an opportunity to align and engage with their physician partners. This is not a zero sum game and the opportunity to create a mutually beneficial partnership is there.
Lastly, how will healthcare reform impact your clinics? If there is a number of new patients entering the system as some predict, will your clinics be prepared? One major concern is that more patients will yield longer wait times which increases patient dissatisfaction. Frustrated patients are a future indicator of increased medical malpractice activity.
Sound risk management principals will apply to both, but managing Medical Professional Liability risk in a clinic setting is different than that of a hospital setting. Thus, new strategies and ideas will need to be implemented to be a best in class system in the future.