3 Risk Management Tips For Hospitals in the New Healthcare Environment

With new models of care evolving and new entrants into the market, there have been many changes in the healthcare environment since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Brad Rosgen, a healthcare practice leader at Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Burns & Wilcox, provides three risk management tips for healthcare organizations in the new environment.

1. Adapt to protect against new risks. Since the passage of the PPACA, many new models of healthcare have emerged, and there has been a drastic increase in physician integration, where solo practitioners and smaller groups are banding together or selling to larger networks. "I believe this has been the biggest change in the healthcare landscape so far," says Mr. Rosgen.Brad Rosgen

From a risk management perspective, the new structure will have to be controlled. With the increased integration of physicians, C-suite executives at healthcare organizations "need to adapt their risk management plans by customizing them to ensure their organizations are adequately dealing with risk," he says.

2. Take a step back. Mr. Rosgen advises healthcare organizations to step back and look for advice from professionals such as insurance agents and consulting firms to make sure they have a "solid, robust risk management plan." This requires healthcare organizations "to be creative to make sure they are looking at all new risks," he says.

3. Be prepared for data breaches. Since the passage of the PPACA, many hospitals are looking to integrate and expand their role in the community. They're purchasing or creating outpatient infrastructure such as imaging centers and expanding into new areas such as home health. Healthcare organizations are also storing and sending more patient information electronically.

When hospitals expand, provide new services and change practices, it creates new risks. "One of the biggest challenges is protecting information that is passed around electronically from one source to another," says Mr. Rosgen. Even when organizations are taking all steps to protect patient information, data breaches can occur. "Hospitals need to get insurance policies that cover cyberterrosim and other data security threats," says Mr. Rosgen. Organizations in the healthcare industry are protecting themselves by buying this type of insurance more than they ever have in the past because "whether a breach is caused by an insider or a malicious event, generally it is going to be a covered event."

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