At Your Service
Advice for New Practices, New Careers
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 6 page 46-46

Q. I am working for the state and no longer require individual coverage through the Psychiatrists’ Program. When I was a participant in the Program, I found that the risk management services were exceptional and tailored to psychiatry. As the information is still relevant in my current setting, I am writing to ask whether it is possible to subscribe to your quarterly newsletter, Rx for Risk?

A. Yes. Current participants in the Psychiatrists’ Program, the APA-endorsed Psychiatrists’ Professional Liability Insurance Program, already know the benefits of receiving Rx for Risk. Written by experts in psychiatric risk management, this quarterly publication is specifically designed for psychiatrists and covers current risk management and legal issues affecting the field of mental health care.

These are some of the articles featured in previous issues of Rx for Risk:

• Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA): The Challenge of Compliance in Psychiatric Cases

• How to Handle Litigation-Related Requests for Patient Information Under HIPAA’s Privacy Rule

• Brain Lesions v. Psychiatric Disorders: Malpractice Implications

• Termination of the Psychiatrist-Patient Relationship

• Keeping Risk Management Current With Electronic Devices

• Stolen Medical Records and the Threat of Identify Theft

• Supervision of Nurse Practitioners

• Supervision of Medical and Nonmedical Mental Health Care Professionals

• Office Staff, Risk Management, and You

• What Allegations in Post-Suicide Malpractice Lawsuits Can Teach About Risk Management Strategies

If you are not a participant in the Program and would like a subscription to Rx for Risk, please call (800) 245-3333, ext. 347, or send an e-mail to editor@prms.com. Annual subscriptions (four issues) are available for $79. A subscription form can be mailed or faxed to you.

Q. I am forming a group practice with two other psychiatrists, several psychologists and social workers, and two nurse practitioners. Do you offer insurance coverage for such a group?

A. Yes. The Program offers professional liability insurance to behavioral health care professionals practicing in a group setting. The many benefits of the individual program, including risk management services, are extended to the corporate entity and everyone associated with it.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and independent contractors practicing in a group can be covered under one policy with separate limits and still maintain a single defense under one claim if the situation ever arises. For more information on obtaining group liability coverage, contact Jacqueline Palumbo at (800) 245-3333, ext. 314, or visit www.psychprogram.com.

Q. As a participant in the Program, I have found the Risk Management Consultation Service (RMCS) to be an excellent resource. Is there a limit to how many times I can call the RMCS to receive risk management advice and guidance?

A. The RMCS is a value-added service for Program participants. You are encouraged to contact us whenever a request or situation is troubling you or is raising questions or concerns. No question is insignificant or frivolous, but there are significant questions that are not asked. These unasked questions may increase your risk. In fact, the greatest risk may lie in not asking.

Program risk managers routinely respond to a broad range of questions, such as

• I am seeing a patient who is a minor. One of his parents is requesting information that I am uncomfortable releasing. What can I do?

• How do I properly document a patient’s informed consent?

• What should be included in an information-release authorization?

• How long do I have to keep my records?

• I have just received a subpoena for patient records in a lawsuit that does not involve me. Do I have to comply? If so, how do I comply without breaching confidentiality?

• How do I end a physician-patient relationship when the patient doesn’t want to end treatment with me?

• I share office space with others. Should I be doing anything more to reduce my risk of being sued by my office mate’s patient?

You may call the RMCS toll free Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time, or you may submit a risk management question through the RMCS page in the "For Participants Only" section at the Web site www.psychprogram.com.

Q. I have heard about the importance of investigating the ratings for insurance carriers when making an insurance purchase decision. What are the ratings for the Psychiatrists’ Program’s carrier?

A. Coverage is issued through National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh ("National Union") and Lexington Insurance Company, two member companies of American International Group Inc. (AIG). AIG companies consistently earn high rankings from the insurance industry’s principal rating agencies: A++ by A.M. Best and AAA by Standard and Poor’s.

This column is provided by PRMS, manager of the Psychiatrists’ Program, for the benefit of members. More information about the Program is available by visiting its Web site at www.psychprogram.com; calling (800) 245-3333, ext. 389; or sending an e-mail to TheProgram@prms.com.

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