The Doctor’s Advocate | First Quarter 2015
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Industry and Company News:
First Quarter 2015

We are pleased to announce the appointment of William C. Rupp, MD, to the Board of Governors. Dr. Rupp is recently retired as chief executive officer of the Mayo Clinic in Florida and a board certified physician with 32 years of experience in the fields of hematology and medical oncology.

Dr. Rupp’s other leadership positions within the Mayo Health System have included president and chief executive officer of Immanuel St. Joseph’s in Mankato, Minnesota, and president and chief executive officer of Luther Hospital/Midelfort Clinic in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He has also served as medical director of Midelfort Health Plan and as chief of staff at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire.

Dr. Rupp earned his bachelor of arts degree in economics at Dartmouth College. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and completed his residency and fellowship at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He serves on the Board of Directors of Jacksonville University and recently completed a term as chair of the board of the Jacksonville, Florida, Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We are pleased to start the new year with Dr. Rupp on our Board of Governors,” said Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, chairman and CEO. “Dr. Rupp is a recognized industry leader on Integrated Delivery Systems, and an expert on patient safety. He brings strong strategic and operational skills, developed during his administrative medicine work at one of the most renowned medical institutions in the world and through his work on many nonprofit boards. His expertise is a strong asset to the board as we strive to ensure our members’ best interests are protected and pursued.”

“I am proud to join the board of a company dedicated to defending and protecting the practice of good medicine,” Dr. Rupp said. “I am eager to contribute to advancing the company mission alongside the executive leadership and other esteemed board members.”

OB Advisory Board Meeting

Experts from around the nation recently came together at our fifth annual OB Advisory Board meeting to address the prevention of maternal and infant injury or death in childbirth.

Problems with monitoring fetal heart rate and missing early warning signs of maternal collapse are serious potential malpractice risks and threats to patient safety, according to two physicians invited to present at the meeting.

“Poor communication of abnormal fetal heart rate monitoring is a serious malpractice risk,” said Michael Nageotte, MD, a member of the Perinatal Quality Foundation Board, past president of the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine, and medical director, Obstetrix Medical Group of Southern California. “Credentialing, in which practitioners demonstrate both knowledge and judgment of fetal heart rate monitoring using definitions established by national consensus, may lessen this risk.”

Many early warning signs of impending maternal life-threatening illnesses go unrecognized because they are so rare, according to Jill Mhyre, MD, of the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care and associate professor of anesthesiology and director of obstetric anesthesia at the University of Arkansas.

“Centers need to start working on their response systems, defining steps to take when a physician is not present,” Dr. Mhyre said. As an example, she outlined an early warning system initiated by Stony Brook (NY) University Medical Center that involves scoring patients’ vital signs and other symptoms, leading to a staged response.

Other ob/gyn patient safety issues discussed at the meeting were:

  • Water birth, by Larry Veltman, MD, FACOG, perinatal safety and risk management consultant and advisory board member.
  • Morcellation and cancer link, by Marcus Tower, MD, FACOG, Hillcrest Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and advisory board member.
  • The use of nitrous oxide for labor analgesia, by Pamela Willis, BSN, JD, RN, patient safety risk manager with The Doctors Company.

Visit to learn more about how our specialty advisory boards help us advance the practice of good medicine.

New Videos on Business Risks Faced by Medical Practices

In today”s changing healthcare environment, the challenges of running a medical practice are complex. Our new YouTube playlist, ”Medical Practices: Be Aware of Top Business Risks,“ includes short animated videos that discuss three main business risks beyond medical malpractice lawsuits: billing errors and omissions, employment-related lawsuits, and data breaches. The videos also provide steps that practices can take to reduce their exposure, including ensuring they have adequate insurance coverage.

The videos feature case studies that give examples of the severity of these risks, such as:

  • On average, it costs healthcare providers $80,000 to defend themselves in billing errors and omissions cases, and fines and penalties can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • The median award in employment practices lawsuits in 2012 was $325,000, and even a frivolous charge results in expensive defense costs.
  • The healthcare industry suffers 51 percent of all data breaches—and the average cost of dealing with a breach was $2.4 million in the last two years.

Each video takes less than five minutes to watch. Go to to access the playlist and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

You can also follow us on Twitter @doctorscompany and find us on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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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 considering the circumstances of 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.

Choosing a malpractice insurer?
Here’s what to ask.

Selecting a medical malpractice insurer is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. This guide outlines what to look for in an insurance company.

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