Medical Record Retention
Updated November 10, 2020: The unexpected advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent dramatic shift to delivering more medical care via telehealth underscore the importance of complete and accurate charting for maintaining continuity of care and defending claims of professional liability. Accurate charting can also help protect physicians against licensing board complaints and hospital peer review queries, or respond to investigations by governmental compliance agencies.
Interstate Licensure for Telehealth Can Fuel Medical Practice Growth
Updated November 6, 2020: When it comes to using telehealth to treat patients out of state, most physicians are mindful about licensure issues. But some are not aware that if you don’t have a license to practice medicine in a given state, it isn’t just malpractice: It’s a criminal offense. Licensing restrictions have been eased to facilitate care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new normal of greater state-to-state cooperation for access to care may persist after the pandemic. Still, the savvy physician knows that many restrictions apply, and that understanding them reduces risk.
COVID-19 and Patient Safety in the Medical Office
Updated November 3, 2020: Medical offices must remain very attentive to the widespread outbreak of COVID-19 and continue to proactively take steps to safely manage patients while protecting clinical staff. As the pandemic continues, recordkeeping serves a vital function in protecting patient safety and guarding your practice against future malpractice claims. Documentation of efforts to coordinate care with specialists and patient follow-up for tests, procedures, and referrals remains essential during the pandemic. In the rush of daily workflows, it can be easy to shortchange documentation—patients are worried about contracting COVID-19 in healthcare settings and postponement of healthcare services or noncompliance has been common.
Cultural Diversity in Healthcare Poses New Risks During COVID-19
Updated October 23, 2020: Physicians are increasingly faced with providing care to a multicultural society complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring safe and quality healthcare for all patients requires physicians to understand how each patient’s sociocultural background affects his or her health beliefs and behavior. In the light of the pandemic, physicians and healthcare systems will need to respond to factors that put racial and ethnic minority groups at a greater risk of getting sick and dying. The conditions where people work and live affect underlying health conditions and also make it more difficult to access needed medical care and tests.
Keep a COVID-19 Diary: Document Now in Case of Future Lawsuits
Updated October 13, 2020: For months, physicians and practice managers have been in crisis mode due to COVID-19 and have faced daunting challenges daily. What the future holds relative to the evolution of COVID-19 remains unknown, but it is certain that litigation for COVID-related claims is on the horizon and will impact physicians in all medical specialties and practice models. Are there existing medical liability protections in place? What types of claims are anticipated? What steps can physicians take now to prepare to defend claims in the future?
Flu or COVID-19? Convergence of Two Viruses Creates Risk of Diagnostic Errors
Updated October 6, 2020: As both the flu and COVID-19 are contagious respiratory illnesses, the guidance for controlling the spread of COVID-19 can also work for minimizing the spread of influenza. The good news is that there is a vaccine for influenza. The problem for healthcare providers is that the symptoms of both are similar and testing will need to be used to confirm the correct diagnosis. Understanding the differences between the flu and COVID-19 will help to prevent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of either disease.