Did you know that non-clinical staff may impact patient safety and malpractice exposures? Routine tasks such as patient registration and telephone contact may present significant risks to your practice or facility, and liability for the actions of your front desk staff could result in significant jury awards. Ensuring that staff members have been properly trained regarding their roles and responsibilities should be an integral part of any organization’s risk management program.
AHC Media published an article recently on the subject: “Malpractice can begin at the front desk with simple errors by admissions staff.” It contains information about a court case in which a front-desk employee was found to have jeopardized the safety of patients. The case is interesting for another reason: classification of the matter as “ordinary negligence” instead of malpractice. What are the implications? Alex Stein, a law professor consulted by AHC Media, explains that it means providers may not be “entitled to the all protections that doctors and hospitals get when sued for medical malpractice rather than this negligence.”
MLMIC has addressed related issues in past editions of our Dateline newsletter. Policyholders can access these resources at the secure site:
- “Medical assistants, appropriate use in physicians’ office” (MLMIC’s Dateline newsletter, Spring 2013); and
- “Non-medical employees, supervision and delegation of care” (MLMIC’s Dateline newsletter, Fall 2008).
As always, if you have questions, we welcome your call.