The Pulse is the bi-weekly e-newsletter from The Physician Alliance, one of Michigan's largest physician organizations serving more than 2,200 primary care and specialty physicians.
The Pulse of The Physician Alliance
Friday, May 25, 2018
Help patients safely dispose of medications
Ninety-one people die each day in the United States from opioid-related overdoses. As the United States focuses on the opioid addiction crisis, many states are creating collaborative efforts to decrease use and access to these drugs. The Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (OPEN) provides great resources for providers on e-prescribing and educating patients on safe use of opioids.  
Disposing of unused opioids and medications is also important to preventing misuse. Every 10 minutes a child visits the emergency room for medication poisoning. Three in five teens say prescription pain medication is easy to get from their parents' medicine cabinet. Physician practices can encourage their patients to safely dispose of medication to prevent misuse. Many police departments in Michigan take unused medications for safe disposal. Michigan-OPEN has an interactive map indicating disposal sites. Practices can also download a free patient brochure providing tips on disposal options.   
Register today for telehealth seminar
Don't forget to register for the upcoming telehealth webinar hosted by The Physician Alliance and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The special webinar, Implementing Telehealth into Your Practice, will be held on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 from 5-6pm.

Topics discussed during the webinar include:
  • How to implement telehealth into your practice
  • Examples of telehealth visit cases
  • Documentation
  • Coding and billing
Who should attend: Physicians, care managers and office managers

Presenter: Dr. S. George Kipa is deputy chief medical officer at BCBSM and an internal medicine physician. He is involved with PPO network management and serves on the telemedicine workgroup.

Click here to register for the webinar. Instructions for accessing the webinar will be emailed after registration.  
Ready to expand your service opportunities and increase revenue? 

As soaring healthcare costs have caused some insurers to reduce the rates at which they reimburse physicians for some services rendered to patients, physicians' revenues get squeezed. In response to decreasing income, some physicians are considering alternative methods of serving their patients to increase revenue. It is imperative to perform a cost/risk analysis of any expansion to ensure successful growth and protect your business endeavors.
The physician can start to determine the risks by asking several questions, such as:
  • What are the financial risks associated with new services?
  • Are there other risks unbeknownst to me?
  • Do my current insurance policies cover such risks?
  • Am I responsible for the acts of other providers occupying my office space but who are not part of my practice? May I delegate procedural tasks and, if so, then to whom?
Consider these risk management recommendations associated with expanded services:
  • Contact your insurance agent to discuss insurance coverage for your new service and any additional employees.
  • If you are planning on delegating procedural tasks, check state statutes and regulations regarding to whom such tasks may be delegated. If your state/regulatory body is silent or ambiguous on this point call your attorney for assistance.
  • Develop policies and procedures that support patient safety and clearly define the distinct roles of your employees and the tasks to be performed. Thoroughly vet employees for credentialing and licensure, and conduct appropriate training and education on practice standards and procedures.
  • Develop robust informed consent processes and forms for relevant procedures, addressing the risks associated with the procedures and available alternatives. Informed consent is not just a signed form, but a conversational process that should be clearly documented in the patient's medical record.
  • If you are renting space to another provider, such as a physical therapist or a sleep study group, make it clear to patients that the entities are separate, to avoid possible claims under the legal theory of ostensible agency.
  • Consider hiring a reputable company to monitor and manage the maintenance and safety of new equipment.
  • Maintain a written transfer agreement with a nearby acute care facility to handle emergencies.
Contributed by: Coverys is part of TPA's Affiliate Partners Program, providing medical malpractice insurance, risk analytics and risk management services. For more information, click here or contact Tina Dowler at 517-886-8345 or

COPYRIGHTED: RisKey emails are a publication of Coverys' Risk Management Department. This information is intended to provide general guidelines for risk management. It is not intended and should not be construed as legal or medical advice.
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