The Doctor’s Advocate | Third Quarter 2013

Ohio Physician Advisory Board Update

Marcus Tower, MD, The Doctors Company Ohio Physician Advisory Board Chair

The Doctors Company’s Ohio Physician Advisory Board recently convened in Columbus. Present were physicians from various specialties, including cardiology, internal medicine, neurology, ob/gyn, pathology, primary care, and pulmonology. A local defense attorney and representatives from The Doctors Company also contributed to the meeting.

Education and Discussion

Rich Cahill, vice president and associate general counsel, led discussions about statements of compassion and condolence and about the use of physician extenders.

The discussions began with an outline of adverse event disclosure and the potential ramifications of nondisclosure. The group reviewed recent data covering the evolving physician-patient relationship, physician perceptions and patient expectations, and state and federal laws.

We also learned about a 10-point Harvard University program that includes steps for acknowledging the event, expressing regret, investigating and identifying the cause, implementing changes to prevent reoccurrence, and providing emotional support. We ended this discussion with a review of the Ohio apology statute.

The group also discussed the rapidly growing use of physician extenders (PEs) and how the use of PEs will likely expand even further with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. We examined data for physician assistants and registered nurse practitioners in Ohio and concluded our discussion with a list of recommendations to reduce the potential risks of using PEs.

Claim Review

Attorney Doug Leak of the defense firm Roetzel & Andress led a discussion on closed claims that focused on a claim involving a patient who was injured in a surgical fire. The plaintiff’s attorney made a public showing of the patient’s injuries, and the insured’s practice suffered as a result. A lower court found in favor of the plaintiff, with punitive damages also awarded. On the advice of The Doctors Company’s claims team, the insured appealed the case and won. The case has created a precedent in state law that will affect future legal decisions.

Marcus Tower, MD, is an ob/gyn at Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, and chairs The Doctors Company’s Ohio Physician Advisory Board. Dr. Tower is currently Hillcrest’s medical director of care management and director of the hospital’s Gynecology Division. He is also past president of the hospital’s medical staff. Dr. Tower is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The Doctor’s Advocate is published by The Doctors Company to advise and inform its members about loss prevention and insurance issues.

The guidelines suggested in this newsletter 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 healthcare 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.

The Doctor’s Advocate is published quarterly by Corporate Communications, The Doctors Company. Letters and articles, to be edited and published at the editor’s discretion, are welcome. The views expressed are those of the letter writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or official policy of The Doctors Company. Please sign your letters, and address them to the editor.

The Doctor’s Advocate

Third Quarter 2013

Director's Forum
A Perfect Storm

An Ounce of Prevention
The Rising Tide: Perils of Opioid Use

Politically Speaking
Consumer Attorneys of California Attack MICRA

Ohio Physician Advisory Board Update

Foundation News
Young Physicians Receive Prestigious Patient Safety Award

Two New Ways to Earn Complimentary CME Credits

The Back Page
Industry and Company News

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