Funding a patient safety program can be challenging, especially when the return on investment is constantly under scrutiny. While the ultimate goal of your program is safer care of patients, there are also measurable financial benefits that result from reduction in claims and malpractice litigation. Professional liability carriers, whether commercial or self-insured, also have a vested interest in your patient safety measures.
Depending upon how your organization insures its HPL/MPL coverage, there are several options for funding your patient safety program.
Commercial or Self-insured Professional Liability Insurance?
- Commercial Carrier Organizations insured in the traditional market may secure coverage from carriers like The Doctors Company or the Michigan Professional Insurance Exchange (MPIE). In some cases, insurers will provide premium credits to organizations or groups whose providers take a specified curriculum of patient safety courses. For example, The Doctors Company offers a 5% to 10% premium credit to Emergency Medicine physicians and Obstetricians who complete a set of TSG courses. MPIE offers a similar program to the physicians they underwrite by offering up to 15% premium credit upon completion of certain risk management activities. Whether you are a physician group, individual practitioner or acute care facility, exploring all funding avenues with your carrier can help offset or completely subsidize your patient safety program.
- If your organization is self-insured, you may want to consider ways to write a grant from the captive or RRG. Using this method, many of TSG’s clients have been very successful in funding their patient safety programs and structuring incentive programs for the facilities and clinicians to participate more readily.
- If grant funding is not an option for your captive or RRG, you may want to explore the excess and/or reinsurance carrier market. It has become more common for this market to assist with funding of patient safety programs for its captive clients.
Organizations that successfully find and retain funding through their carriers also track the financial impact of their patient safety programs. Two measures to follow are reduction in claims and lowering of reserves. We recommend starting your patient safety measures in those clinical areas of highest risk, specifically emergency medicine and obstetrics, and then expand to other areas of risk.
However your insurance is funded, you will be able to show a positive return on investment in your patient safety program using metrics that show safer care, fewer claims, reduced reserves and lower premiums.