It’s All About Content

Sleeker. Bolder. More responsive. In a word - immersive.

A more immersive reading experience? We’re glad you asked. A cleaner layout and typographic design keeps your focus on the content. The “infinite scroll,” simplified navigation and Google search make finding interesting articles easier. And no matter your screen size – PC, tablet or phone – the site is optimized to ensure the same great experience.

The benefits of the site are mostly self-evident. But a few features are worth highlighting to help get you started:

Article Pages

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Current Section: Displays the issue, topic, author or section you are currently viewing.

Content Ribbon: Lists all of the articles in the current section. Easily browse the articles and click on any tile to load that article into the infinite scroll.

Infinite Scroll: Read each article from top to bottom without having to click to continue. The next article loads automatically so you can continuously read/browse an entire issue or section – similar to how you read a print magazine.

Full Screen: Click the arrow to hide the content ribbon and create a clutter-free article reading experience. Also handy for smaller screens or tablets.

More Ways to Explore

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Nav Bar: Click the gray bar to reveal several filters, sections and topics that tailor articles to your interests. 

Authors/Topics: Reading an article you like? Click on the author’s name to see all of their content or click on one of the topics to load that section.

Google Search: Still not finding what you want? The search bar slides out to help you find it.

Responsive Design (Mobile Optimized) 

The site utilizes a responsive design. That means the layout automatically adjusts to different screen sizes. You can see the technology in action by adjusting the size of your browser window. It’s pretty cool.

But responsive design is more than just a neat trick. It ensures that our new site looks great and works well on all screen sizes. Call us a website or, if you like, a web app – the site combines the benefits of the free and open web with the elegance of an application.

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More to Come

But we are not done yet. The site enables us to integrate new content types into our stories. Over the next year, you will see more charts, graphs, infographics, videos, photos, etc.

Be sure to sign-up for one of our newsletters to stay abreast of all these developments as well as the latest articles and content we publish.

In the meantime, we would love to hear your feedback about the new site or anything else we do. Write to us at riskletters@lrp.com.

Risk Scenario

The Plague of Baltimore

A hospital group grows by acquiring medical talent. But growth comes with unanticipated risks.
By: | January 7, 2014 • 8 min read
Risk Scenarios are created by Risk & Insurance editors along with leading industry partners. The hypothetical, yet realistic stories, showcase emerging risks that can result in significant losses if not properly addressed.

Disclaimer: The events depicted in this scenario are fictitious. Any similarity to any corporation or person, living or dead, is merely coincidental.

A Disturbing Email

Carley Fitzpatrick flipped the line and the blueberry-colored, 7-inch, Texas-rigged rubber worm sank, almost motionless, next to the sunken tree that projected from the near bank of Lake Rita.

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She inhaled and exhaled deeply, balancing herself on the wooden seat of the canoe. Must be calm, she reminded herself, must be very calm and settled to do this right.

Carley looked away from her target, to where the sun was banking down below the green crest of trees on the ridge above the lake.

She twitched her rod tip once; paused for several seconds and then twitched it again. Then came the long, strong pull that signified a largemouth bass had sucked in the artificial worm.

She hooked him, netted him, took a brief admiring glance and put him back in the water unharmed.

Paddling back to her SUV, Carley remembered that she wanted to check back in with the office before going home. As the COO of Blue Mountain Regional Medical Center in York County, she was a key player in the hospital group’s expansion plans, putting in extra hours as it built itself into a larger system.

With the outdoorsy Central Pennsylvania lifestyle as a draw, Blue Mountain was successful in drawing talent from Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore and Harrisburg. Making the switch from freeways and subways to the countryside dotted with horse farms and wineries was not that hard a sell.

With health care reform on the march, there were a number of smaller, more urban practices that were more than willing to have their assets and liabilities acquired by a hospital system. Health care reform just created too many uncertainties.

Back at the office, Carley opened a disturbing email from the office of Blue Mountain’s general counsel.

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Scenario Partner

The email said that 12 hospitalists in a Baltimore practice that Blue Mountain had acquired six months ago were now defendants in a class-action lawsuit stemming from a hospital-acquired infection outbreak at a Baltimore teaching hospital.

The outbreak had been dubbed “The Plague of Baltimore” by the local press.

“Sending this to you as an FYI, we’re not too concerned about it at this point,” Blue Mountain’s youngish general counsel had typed to Carley in the email.

“I’m not so sure that we shouldn’t be worried about it,” Carley said to herself under her breath as the sky outside her office window darkened into nightfall.

“Can you follow up with me on this or direct me to a copy of the lawsuit?” she wrote back to the general counsel.

Carley had been around long enough to know that Baltimore, along with some other East Coast cities like Philadelphia, fell into the category of  legal venue where judge and jury verdicts in personal injury cases could balloon far beyond what might be considered reasonable reparation.

The general counsel may have been good on paper at Dickinson Law, but he just might have a lot left to learn here in the real world.

Carley made a mental note to keep the “Baltimore 12” on her radar.

Poll Question

With the health care practices that you have acquired, how well versed are you on the prior acts exposures these physicians may carry with them?

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Look Back in Anguish

With the fate of the “Baltimore 12” never leaving her consciousness for long, Carley called a meeting with Blue Mountain’s director of risk management and insurance, Nathan Haines.

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“I just want to be sure,” she said, explaining why she was asking Nate to review with her, yet again, the hospital’s professional liability coverage.

“No problem,” Nate said.

“We’ve got a $5 million self-insured retention and a $10 million excess tower on top of that,” Nate said.

“Which means what again?” Carley said.

“Let’s just say one of our doctors gets sued for medical malpractice and the jury finds against him for $1 million,” Nate said. “We’re self-insured for $5 million, we pay that $1 million out of our pockets.”

“Okay,” Carley said. “But what if …”

Nate knew where she was going.

“If we saw a loss of $6 million,” he said, finishing her thought, “which would be highly unusual, we’d pay $5 million out of pocket and the insurance company would pay $1 million,” Nate said.

“Why so much retention?” said Carley.

“Eh, it’s kind of a balancing act,” said Nate. “You’re trying to offset premium costs by taking some of the risk on.”

“I’d hate to be a risk manager,” Carley said to herself as she left the meeting with Nate.

———

When the “Baltimore 12” case went to trial, the full brunt of what Blue Mountain was facing became more evident.

It turned out that two deaths were linked to the hospital infection outbreak in Baltimore. One of the fatalities was David Brandt, the COO of a well-capitalized, up-and-coming tech firm with naval engineering connections based in Annapolis. Brandt had gone into the Baltimore hospital for knee surgery and hadn’t come out.

The other victim was Anna French, a striking attorney and mother of three who underwent an emergency appendectomy, acquired an infection and died a lingering, painful death.

The framed photographic portrait of a smiling Anna with her equally photogenic husband and children taken on the oak-leaf-speckled lawn of their family home in October was all the jury needs to see.

Three jury members, two of them male, wept openly. The pain and suffering amount decided on was in the tens of millions.

The lifetime income loss of the deceased COO came in at the very high end as well. Aggregate pain and suffering and loss of income determination from the juries in those two cases alone totaled $45 million.

Poll Question

Does your insurance program cover prior acts of the physician practices acquired by your group?

View Results

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Woulda’, Coulda’, Shoulda’

When Blue Mountain acquired the assets and liabilities of the Baltimore 12, trout fishing and sipping Cabernet Franc next to the fields it was grown in weren’t the only draws.

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To lure that talent, Blue Mountain had agreed to cover the physicians’ prior acts as part of their employment benefits.

Talking to Nathan Haines, Carley got yet another insurance lesson.

“We’ve got $20 million in liability in connection with these 12 hospitalists from Baltimore,” Nathan told Carley and the CFO, Fred Rutter, in a closed door meeting on a cold January morning.

“That’s pain and suffering, loss of income and attorneys’ fees,” Nathan said.

The room was silent for a minute.

“What about an appeal?” Fred said just to say something.

“From what the attorneys for the carrier tell us, that would be throwing good money after bad,” Nathan replied.

“Should I go on?”

“Sure,” Fred said.

“The physicians are covered under our limits,” Nathan said. “When we hired them, we didn’t negotiate the option that they have individual limits, so their liabilities hit our entire program,” Nathan said.

“Which means?” said Carley.

“Which means that we are looking at $10 million in uncovered liability, with the carrier picking up the other $10 million,” Nathan said.

———

In the months after that conversation, Blue Mountain Regional Medical Center went from an organization that was expanding and pervaded by a sense of optimism to an organization in retreat.

The aftermath of the “Baltimore 12” jury verdict was that Blue Mountain was going to have to scrap to find a professional liability insurance carrier for the coming year. It was also going to have to take an even higher retention than it had previously.

It was also looking at its additional newly acquired practices with a jaundiced eye.

Attempts to renegotiate professional liability indemnity arrangements after the fact were, to say the least, a point of contention with the doctors’ groups.

As she drove to work one morning the following May, Carley cast a doleful eye out the window to Lake Rita.

She would have liked to be jigging for crappies on the lake, instead of putting in her seventh straight 11-hour day.

The future of Blue Mountain Regional was highly uncertain, having looked so bright just a year or so ago.

“Maybe I should start looking for a job in Baltimore,” Carley said to herself as she drove into the parking lot at work.

Poll Question

Are you aware that you can establish individual liability limits for the physicians in your organization?

View Results

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Summary

A hospital group seeks to grow by attracting medical practices from around the Middle Atlantic region. But its plans backfire when its insurance coverage is misaligned with the professional liability exposures that some of the acquired physicians bring into the company.

1. Know what you are buying: The Blue Mountain Regional Medical Center erred by not fully understanding the professional liability risks carried by the physicians in the practices it was acquiring.

2. Tailor your coverage: As a hospital group looking to expand by acquiring regional practices, Blue Mountain needed to tailor its coverage to better mitigate potential professional liability risks that were being brought on board. Covering all prior acts with no individual limits was clearly not the way to go here.

3. Risk management needs to drive the bus: Blue Mountain clearly did not have risk management integrated into its acquisition and growth strategies. Risk management should have had more of a voice in what coverage physicians were being offered as a part of their benefits packages.

4. Know your legal venues: The risk to the hospital group in this scenario was compounded by the legal venue the professional liability was being adjudicated in. Professionals being brought in from a legal venue that has a reputation for outsized settlements should be examined with extra care.

5. Beware of the unknowns: The Affordable Care Act has placed health care risk management in flux like never before. Any growth or profit strategy that does not take this vast uncertainty into account is in all likelihood a flawed strategy.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at dreynolds@lrp.com.
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Sponsored: Healthcare Solutions

Diversifying Top Management in Workers’ Comp

Inaugural Women in Workers’ Compensation (WiWC) Forum focuses on advancing more women into top leadership roles.
By: | January 7, 2015 • 5 min read

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The panel at the inaugural Women in Workers’ Compensation (WiWC) Forum. From left to right: Eileen Ramallo, Elaine Vega, Nina Smith-Garmon, Nancy Hamlet, Michelle Weatherson, Nanette de la Torre, Danielle Lisenbey.

Across the country, the business community is engaged in a robust conversation about women being under-represented among c-level positions.

Why aren’t more women breaking into upper management roles? Does gender bias still exist? And, perhaps more importantly, what can women and men do to add more diversity to top leadership ranks?

Elaine Vega and Nancy Hamlet, of Healthcare Solutions, the Duluth, Ga.-based health services provider to the workers’ compensation and auto liability/PIP markets, have discussed the issue between themselves many times over the years.

The duo agreed that starting an industry-wide conversation would be an effective start to addressing the challenge. After three years of internal discussions, the inaugural Women in Workers’ Compensation (WiWC) Forum became reality. Judging by the attendance, content and feedback, it was an auspicious, very successful, debut.

Nancy Hamlet, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Healthcare Solutions

Nancy Hamlet, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Healthcare Solutions

Specifically, Healthcare Solutions and LRP Publications teamed up at the National Workers’ compensation and Disability Conference (NWCDC), held Nov. 18-21, 2014 in Las Vegas, to present the first WiWC event focused on the development of women as leaders within the industry. The WiWC debut featured a keynote speaker, a panel discussion and a networking cocktail hour.

“We believe this is just the beginning for the WiWC organization,” said Hamlet, senior vice president of marketing, adding that the event’s main theme was the conversation regarding challenges that still exist for women in the workplace is “current, real … and relevant.”

Originally the forum was allocated a room to hold 150 people. Vega and Hamlet worried about the room being too large, so they asked LRP what the contingency would be to make the room smaller if they couldn’t fill it. They needn’t have worried, as more than 400 women, and some men as well, registered and attended, requiring an even larger room.

“Clearly, the topic is relevant and there was plenty to discuss,” said Vega, senior vice president of account management.

Hamlet explained that WiWC was formed to create an open forum to promote a strong sense of community and support for current and future female leaders in the workers’ compensation industry. Going forward, the WiWC forum will provide insight and ideas with opportunities for members to:

  • Engage … with accomplished industry professionals and build lasting relationships.
  • Enrich … their knowledge base with tactical insights from speakers and panelists.
  • Explore … opportunities and challenges facing women leaders today.
  • Encounter … senior executives’ perspectives on leadership.
  • Examine … leadership strategies and how to effectively apply the strategies.
  • Empower … themselves and others to achieve success and groundbreaking results.

At the inaugural event, keynote speaker Peggy Holtman, co-author of “Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition,” discussed how a seemingly unconnected historical event can offer critical lessons on leadership in the workplace, especially for women looking to move into top executive spots.

Elaine Vega, Senior Vice President of Account Management, Healthcare Solutions

Elaine Vega, Senior Vice President of Account Management, Healthcare Solutions

After Holtman’s talk, a panel discussion, moderated by Vega, offered the perspectives of five workers’ compensation industry executives on ways in which women can navigate past the glass ceiling. Panelists included Eileen Ramallo , EVP Healthcare Solutions; Danielle Lisenbey, CEO Broadspire; Nanette de la Torre, VP Zenith; Nina Smith-Garmon, EVP Mitchell International; and Michelle Weatherson, Director, Claims Medical and Regulatory Division, State Fund of Calif.

The panelists discussed a wide range of topics related to women in workers’ compensation. For example, one topic focused on the need to take the big risks when it comes to moving past workplace barriers. Other topics included the importance of women in higher positions serving as sponsors and advocates for younger, less experienced women; and the impact of industry consolidation on women’s careers and how to best manage that change. Another topic was how women could best master conflict and emotions in the workplace.

“What’s clear is conflict has to be managed; it will not go away. It will only get worse,” said Healthcare Solutions’ Ramallo. “It then can create other rifts that won’t necessarily be visible immediately, but can have a very large impact. You have to be able to understand what it is early on from another’s perspective, why the situation exists, and then encourage and try to resolve a conflict situation, whatever may be driving it.”

In the wake of the first WiWC Forum, Hamlet noted that while there are countless general reports showing that women have not yet achieved equal representation in top leadership positions in the workplace, studies deal with averages rather than individual stories. And while women must continue to look at the data and work toward closing the gap, hearing from accomplished women in the workers’ compensation industry at NWCDC drove home critical messages on a person level.

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Today, Vega and Hamlet are looking to expand WiWC to make it “truly owned” by the industry. For example, they expect to recruit companies interested in becoming sponsors, forming an advisory council, creating a charter and discussing future possibilities for the organization on both the national and regional levels.

“Much remains to be done, but I have confidence that we will come together and make the organization stronger so that it prospers for years to come,” Hamlet said. “After all, it’s clear that our industry is filled with talented women who can make things happen!”

Vega added that WiWC has already received requests to live stream the event in the future, so it will examine the feasibility of that option in an effort to be even more inclusive.

“We have a shared vision for improving opportunities for current and future women leaders in workers’ compensation,” Vega said. “It doesn’t matter our gender or our title, it’s all about supporting the greater vision. As was said several times at the event, this is just the beginning. We hope more women and men will join us in this continued dialogue.”

For more information about the WiWC, send email to wiwcleadership@healthcaresolutions.com or join our WiWC group on LinkedIn.

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This article was produced by the R&I Brand Studio, a unit of the advertising department of Risk & Insurance, in collaboration with Healthcare Solutions. The editorial staff of Risk & Insurance had no role in its preparation.




Healthcare Solutions serves as a health services company delivering integrated solutions to the property and casualty markets, specializing in workers’ compensation and auto liability/PIP.
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