Part II: 2012 PIAA Medical Liability Conference Focuses on MPL's Role in Changing Healthcare

Editor’s note: Today’s blogpost is the second in a two-part series reporting on the 2012 Physician Insurer Association of America (PIAA) Medical Liability Conference, which was held May 9 – 12 at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. The article it originates from was initially published in the June 2012 issue of Medical Liability Monitor, the industry’s premier source for consistent, reliable coverage and fresh perspectives on medical professional liability insurance and risk management issues. Click on the preceding hyperlink to visit the Monitor’s website, where subscription information is available.

Position Yourself for Future Success

Most attendees at the PIAA Medical Liability Conference agreed that the delivery of healthcare will continue to change as the nation struggles to deflate the cost of medical services. The hard question is regarding the role physician insurers will play in tomorrow’s model. How will a medical liability insurance company that has catered to insuring individual, small-practice physicians transform to meet the needs of future doctors who choose to work within a large healthcare network?

“I thought I would have to convince you that a change to the delivery system was inevitable, but I’m glad to see you already understand,” admitted James Saxton, Esq., chair of Healthcare Litigation & Risk Management Group as well as co-chair of the Healthcare Group at Stevens & Lee. “You know this, but some of your doctors don’t. Some of your doctors think that the Supreme Court or the political powers are going to step in and wipe all this out, and you need to do some educating that that’s not going to happen.

“All of the big commercial payors, all the large employers have been waiting for this, preparing for this for years, and they are not for a minute turning back. If anything, it will be far more aggressive, far more expansive than managed care ever was. The key is, can our physicians take a leadership position? That’s really what all your physicians want. They may not all want to be employed by hospitals, but they all want to thrive in what is a dramatically changing environment. They need help doing that.”

How can physician insurers position themselves to be an advocate for their current insureds as well as be a key player in the future healthcare model?

“Many of you have demonstrated tremendous flexibility in trying to face this new era we are in with new coverages, excess and surplus lines capability as well as willingness to work with captives and RRGs,” Greve said. “I think there are further opportunities out there for collaborating on strategies with hospital systems, partnering with captives and RRGs, and partnering with commercial hospital professional liability carriers.”

Greve shared how certain aspects of physician liability have been intimidating to hospital systems as they work out employment contracts with their new physician hires.

“Last year I spoke at a conference, and my co-presenters represented two of the largest healthcare systems in the country. Without any prompting from me—and to my amazement—they each said that they are not comfortable with physician risk and are being besieged by these waves of doctors they are employing. They don’t have the staff to deal with a lot of the issues. In effect, they both were saying, ‘I am looking to partner with a local PIAA company.’ I think that was pretty telling.”

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