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The Sentinel: March 2018


When Instincts are Ignored

Closed Claim Review  |  William "Mike" J. Johnson, JD

Our instincts of self-preservation and “common sense” protect us from many hazards.  This article illustrates what can happen when those instincts are absent or ignored. The plaintiff, a middle-aged diabetic female, presented to a family practice physician for the primary purpose of obtainin...

The One Thousand Dollar Ransom Request


The following article is based upon an actual claim situation experienced by an SVMIC policyholder. The details have been altered to protect our policyholder’s privacy. When Mandy*, the receptionist at the small rural medical practice of Dr. Smith, saw that the message light on the phone was blinking, ...

Safe Medication Practices in the Physician Office

Risk Topics  |  Julie Loomis, RN, JD

In the 5 year period from 2018-2022, 27% of SVMIC’s paid closed claims, across all locations, included a contributing factor of medication prescribing or management thereof. Top medications involved in claims are analgesics, anticoagulants, and antibiotics. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Qualit...

Avoid Drifting into Unsafe Habits

Risk Matters  |  Julie Loomis, RN, JD

Have you or your staff been “drifting into unsafe habits?” Do you follow the template generated by your EHR without questioning its validity or applicability to the patient in front of you? Do you ignore alerts and other prompts? Do you ask only close-ended questions of patients such as, “Ar...

Managing the Challenges of Technology

Practice Management  |  Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC

Electronic health record (EHR) systems are installed in most practices, yet they remain the source of daily headaches. Having worked in practice management for many years, my philosophy is that the systems were built by technology experts, not those familiar with the workflow of a physician’s office. Wh...

Managing Your Schedule is Vital to a Successful Practice

Practice Management  |  Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC

Of the many ways that a manager can contribute to a practice’s success, the ability to manage the physicians’ time is the most important. The time of your physicians, advanced practice providers and other billable providers is, ultimately, your practice’s most valuable asset. In addition to ...

What Kind of "Manager" Does Your Practice Need?

Practice Management  |  Elizabeth Woodcock, MBA, FACMPE, CPC

Don’t start looking for someone to run your office until you know what the person in this position must do. While many of the qualities needed in a successful manager are universal — solution-oriented, delegator, motivator, etc. — more depend on your office’s unique needs. It might se...

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