5 Ways to Avoid Liability For Your Partner’s Unnecessary Procedure

Have you ever considered whether your practice could have liability for questionable medical procedures performed by a doctor in your practice?  The answer is “yes.”  Lawyers regularly seek liability against  both the doctor and his/her employer.  If procedures are being performed that are inappropriate, your practice may be in the uncomfortable position of trying to distance the practice from the doctor.

Recently, in Baltimore both the hospital and a doctor are being sued because the doctor was allegedly performing too many stents on patients.  The hospital who employed the doctor is claiming it had no control over the doctor’s medical judgment.  The Maryland hospital states:

“[it] did not have authority over the medical decisions cardiologist Mark Midei made for his stent patients, attorneys for the hospital’s former owners said in court Monday as they attempted to separate the institution from the doctor accused of performing unnecessary procedures.

[The doctor’s] former patient …said he lost at least $50 million because the doctor misled him to believe that he had severe coronary artery disease, is suing the doctor and the hospital, the doctor’s former employer.

[The] hospital didn’t control or direct” any medical decisions regarding Weinberg’s treatment, Thomas Monahan, an attorney for the hospital…  [The hospital] merely provided the space for the physician to perform procedures.”

The Baltimore Sun, October 7, 2013

We will have to wait and see what the jury decides in this case, however, this case presents a good reminder of how important it is to have some quality controls in place in your practice.

Does your practice have:

  • standards for performing certain medical procedures
  • internal reviews to determine whether there are physicians who are outliers compared to peers
  • audits to evaluate billings for all physicians
  • established quality measures
  • review of patient satisfaction data

Every practice should be evaluating issues before it has liability for one its provider’s actions.  Attempting to distance your practice after the fact is always too late.

Do you have questions about health care issues? Suggestions? Tips to help your colleagues? We love to hear from you. Simply press the comment button below.

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