Emerging Health Care Risk of 2012

Emerging Risk
Hospitals and health care systems of all sizes, from critical access facilities to huge non-profit and for-profit organizations, are struggling to deal with the health care professional liability issues raised by the seeming tidal wave of physicians becoming employed by hospitals.

Physicians and hospitals are now working more closely together than ever before with physician employment as the dominant model. This isn’t a marriage always made in heaven either! Physicians are seeing their incomes shrink as reimbursement declines, so the move is one often made reluctantly. Doctors are autonomous by nature and nurture.

Physician employment raises a host of health care risk management issues:

  • Adequacy of self insurance funding for a significant increase in exposures to the facility’s program
  • Lack of risk management staff to process physician-related issues
  • Lack of experience in dealing with physician risk control and risk financing issues
  • Lack of the risk management department’s involvement in physician practice acquisitions or joint ventures
  • Dealing with troublesome, expensive and complex tail issues of employed physicians
  • Orientation to or adoption of electronic medical records
  • Complex defense issues with physicians now employed by hospitals including apportionment of liability, data bank reports, selection of separate or joint defense counsel

These issues related to physician employment present a major challenge to hospitals and health care systems regardless of what the Supreme Court does with cases involving the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

This post was part of the special feature about What Risks Will Emerge in 2012? published January 24, 2012. The feature also covered emerging risks in these other fields:
Employee Safety
Environmental Liability
Financial Institutions
Life Sciences
Political Risk
Power & Utilities
Renewable Energy
Supply Chain Interruption
Trade Credit

About Paul Greve

Paul is the Executive Vice President of Willis' Health Care practice in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, with extensive expertis…
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