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Disclosure & Apology with ER Contract Group

We are used to hearing stories of disclosure & apology within hospitals, medical practices, and nursing homes. Lots of powerful stories out there.

So, I thought it would be very interesting to share the story of a ER contract group that stepped up and did the right thing following adverse events. Individual physicians and outside groups not covered by a hospital's liability insurance can be a sticking point for hospital-based disclosure programs. Outside parties often throw the liability back on the hospital (rightly or wrongly), or can simply be non-responsive to complaints, but not with this ER group. Dr. Tom Syzek led the risk management department for Premier Physician Services, based in Dayton, OH, until it was acquired in 2014. At the time, Premier managed EDs in 45 hospitals scattered over seven states, and was responsible for over one million patient visits annually. Premier trained their physicians, PA's and nurses on disclosure and apology, and had buy-in from their insurer and legal counsel. Here is an excerpt from a blog post where Dr. Syzek tells the story of Premier's disclosure program:

Q: What was the first step toward implementing a Communication and Resolution program?

Tom: The first step was to determine that our insurer, reinsurer, TPA (third party administrator), defense and legal counsel, and C-suite all understood and approved of this "new" approach of direct communication and resolution. I had to have buy-in, back-up and understanding of this new paradigm, especially in the event that communications broke down and the patient decided to file suit.

Another essential component of the program is for the team to be made up of individuals who have knowledge and experience in medical, insurance, legal, financial and communication issues. This is a complex and specialized area that requires mature personnel with adequate background and training.

To see the full blog/interview, click on this link.

Dr. Syzek is my co-author for the Sorry Works! online communication and resolution content produced and marketed through The Sullivan Group. These interactive (or video-based) courses teach front-line staff and leadership how to embrace empathy and disclosure in a successful and lasting manner.

We will be holding a webinar next Thursday, March 23rd at 10am PT/1pm ET to discuss our approach to disclosure training. The webinar is just need to sign up by clicking this link. Please join us!

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