Accepting the Presenting Complaint as the Whole Story Could Doom Your Patient and Land You in Court

Accepting the Presenting Complaint as the Whole Story Could Doom Your Patient and Land You in Court

The operator of a Missouri urgent care center was at the center of a tragic story in which a 1-year-old patient died—with that operator found culpable in the ensuing lawsuit and ordered to pay a $1.8 million judgment. (The jury had originally ordered the company to pay $3 million, which exceeds the state cap on malpractice suits.) The boy’s parents first brought him to a primary care clinic with symptoms attributed to pneumonia. Months later, …

Read More
Failing to Protect Your Team from Unruly Patients Puts Them—and Your Business—at Risk

Failing to Protect Your Team from Unruly Patients Puts Them—and Your Business—at Risk

A Philadelphia hospital is learning the hard way that even the possibility of failing to ensure adequate safety measures for its healthcare workers can have serious consequences for those workers, as well as the hospital’s own reputation and legal standing. Pennsylvania Hospital is being sued by a Resident who was assaulted by a psychiatric patient during an examination. The physician claims that his employer’s failure to install security cameras and to assess whether the patient …

Read More
The Risk of Ignoring Clinical Policies Is Real—and Can Be Severe for Patients and the Practice

The Risk of Ignoring Clinical Policies Is Real—and Can Be Severe for Patients and the Practice

When a 6-year-old boy with a slight fever and thigh pain was brought to an urgent care center for evaluation, there were no red flags for anything ominous. The physician who saw the boy suspected nothing more than an infection, for which she prescribed an antibiotic. When the patient and his parents returned the next day to report that while the fever was gone the boy was still in pain, the physician ordered an x-ray. …

Read More
Hospital Workers Sued Their Employer Over a Vaccine Mandate. It Didn’t Go Well

Hospital Workers Sued Their Employer Over a Vaccine Mandate. It Didn’t Go Well

By now, most Americans who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (which amounts to most Americans) have probably gotten it—unless they have opted not to. That can prove problematic from more than just a public health perspective when employers try to force the issue. Anecdotally, we’ve learned that a surprisingly high number of healthcare workers have refused to be immunized. So, it should be of interest that a federal judge in Texas just dismissed …

Read More
There Are a Lot of Misperceptions About HIPAA and COVID-19 Vaccination Status. This May Help

There Are a Lot of Misperceptions About HIPAA and COVID-19 Vaccination Status. This May Help

As states allow public venues and private businesses to relax standards regarding attendance and social distancing, the question of who is vaccinated and who is not is becoming more prevalent—and more contentious. Some athletic stadiums have established special sections where people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (and who can prove it with a vaccine “passport”) can sit closer together, forego masks, and even enjoy different concession-stand items than their unvaccinated peers. This has raised …

Read More
Sour Grapes or a Breach of Ethics (and Patient Trust)? Either Way, Whistleblower Charges Sting

Sour Grapes or a Breach of Ethics (and Patient Trust)? Either Way, Whistleblower Charges Sting

A New York City urgent care operator is being sued by a former employee who says he was instructed by upper management to over-dilute COVID-19 vaccine in order to stretch the supply, and subsequently fired when he and other employees complained about the alleged scheme. The  company, which runs several vaccination sites in the borough of Queens, denies issuing any such instructions to its vaccinators. What’s alleged, however, is that they were told to use …

Read More
Intentional or Not, Erroneous Claims Could Cost You Millions—and Maybe Your Business

Intentional or Not, Erroneous Claims Could Cost You Millions—and Maybe Your Business

An urgent care network in South Carolina is learning the hard way that failing to maintain and submit accurate medical claims can lead to disastrous outcomes for the operator. The Justice Department just announced that the company in question will have to pay $22.5 million to resolve charges that it violated the False Claims Act. The state’s case rests on accusations that between 2013 and 2018 there were numerous instances in which the company billed …

Read More
Be Aware: There Are Consequences for Failing to Keep a Record of Daily Health Screenings

Be Aware: There Are Consequences for Failing to Keep a Record of Daily Health Screenings

Given that many patients with COVID-19 are asymptomatic, the value of basic screenings has come under debate. However, your personal views on whether they’re necessary are irrelevant if your state or local health department has enacted policies requiring them. An urgent care operator learned this the hard way when the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited a center for not keeping a daily record of health screenings for people who visited—after being tipped off …

Read More
Failing to Report COVID-19 Results Could Bring the Wrong Kind of Attention—and Scrutiny from the State

Failing to Report COVID-19 Results Could Bring the Wrong Kind of Attention—and Scrutiny from the State

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about a New York Times article that revealed compliance with guidelines on reporting COVID-19 test results in a timely manner is not as strong as it should be. While the public health implications of that are obvious, be aware that there could be serious consequences for any entity that fails to meet its reporting obligations, as well. The Connecticut Department of Public Health is investigating an urgent …

Read More
Helpful or Not, Patients Now Have the Right to Read Your Notes

Helpful or Not, Patients Now Have the Right to Read Your Notes

As of November 2, your patients (and all patients in the U.S.) are entitled to immediate access to clinical notes related to their care, along with all test results and pathology and imaging results thanks to the 21st Century Cures Act. The newly enacted law requires healthcare facilities to provide timely, electronic access to consultations, discharge summaries, history, physical examination findings, imaging narratives, laboratory and pathology report narratives, and procedure and progress notes. While this …

Read More