2018, The Unwritten Chapter
Robert M. Blumm, MA, PA, PA-C Emeritus, DFAAPA
The year 2017 was an amazing chapter in our lives with many changes in leadership, politics, healthcare, the advancement of both the NP and PA professions, tremendously increased knowledge in medical education, the loss of at least twenty-five international personalities and, for a number of us, a year of unprecedented medical litigations due to medical errors, the traps of an EMR, informed consents and failure to diagnose. We have gained much in the ability to enter new fields of interest and to become pioneers in specialties, but all of this has a cost. We always will pay a price to gain a prize.
We are now writing the first few pages of a new chapter with the hopes of improving our personal skills, our professional achievements, our outcomes with our patients and our overall success in life and in the marketplace. “The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” Melody Beattie
In order to set goals, it is essential to know the facts and change the outcomes or the injury created by a faulty outcome. CM&F insures 12,000 NPs and PAs and serves them with diligence, respect, and instant access. With OPA becoming the buzz word for PAs in this new year, it is my hope that PAs with an eye toward future independent practice will become aware of the absolute need to have a personal liability insurance policy as offered by CM&F as the endorsed group for the AAPA. This could have an extremely favorable impact on premiums for PAs.
There are so many positive aspects of independent practice for NPs, but payouts for malpractice claims filed against NPs are on the rise, according to a new report. The average payout was $240,471 according to studies from CNA Insurance which covers NP malpractice insurance. The highest area of claims is neonatal, which at only 1% of the claims was $630,411. Obstetrics, another high-risk area, had indemnities that averaged $417,500. The lowest of the three was emergency medicine with indemnities averaging $277,812. Though those three specialties accounted for the costliest claims, the vast majority of closed claims were related to four other specialties: adult primary care, family practice, behavioral health, and gerontology. It is surprising, as well as a hidden trap, that most of these were related to a failure to order a medical test or obtain an address that test result.* As I mentioned earlier, knowledge of the facts can dramatically change the outcome; the meticulous attention of the provider is essential.
So my fellow colleagues, how will we write the 2018 chapter of our history? We can all hope for a greater future with less misadventure, fewer litigations, and healthier patients. But we must engage with the conscious reminder that we are caregivers and we are, therefore, vulnerable. Why carry that vulnerability on our own shoulders when the fear, anxiety, and burden can be shouldered by personal liability insurance? How empowering is the knowledge that we are protected from potential errors by specialists who are experienced fighters in this field of litigation? What do you believe? What price are you willing to pay to obtain security and peace? “Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that dis-empowers them or one that can literally save their lives.” Tony Robbins. Let us join hands together and make the latter choice.