RISK MANAGEMENT MINUTE – Navigating Chiropractic Professional Risks: A Case Study on Managing Practice Transitions

ChiroFutures Malpractice Program
RISK MANAGEMENT MINUTE – Navigating Chiropractic Professional Risks: A Case Study on Managing Practice Transitions

Leveraging ChiroFutures Malpractice Insurance Program for Guidance and Protection

In the unpredictable landscape of chiropractic practice, professionals often encounter complex situations that test their ability to manage risks effectively. A recent case involving a young chiropractor, Dr. Jill, highlights the critical role of having a robust support system, such as the ChiroFutures Malpractice Insurance Program, to navigate these challenges. This blog post will explore the key issues faced by Dr. Jill and how ChiroFutures provided essential guidance to mitigate risks and ensure legal compliance during a tumultuous practice transition.

The Situation

Dr. Jill was employed at a chiropractic office under a dual arrangement; she worked as an independent contractor (1099) and part-time under an employee arrangement (W2) for marketing tasks. Without a formal contract, her roles and responsibilities became muddled, leading to confusion and eventual dismissal from the practice.

The Complication

The situation escalated when Dr. Jill was abruptly dismissed without proper procedure, including the deactivation of her office access and instructions to return her keys. Concerns about patient care continuity, particularly regarding patient abandonment and incomplete patient notes, added layers of complexity to her sudden termination.

ChiroFutures' Response and Risk Management Guidance

Dr. Jill sought advice from ChiroFutures Malpractice Insurance Program, emphasizing the need for a malpractice provider that not only insures but also guides through risk management complexities. Here’s how ChiroFutures assisted:

1. Clarifying Contractual and Employment Status: It was determined that Dr. Jill's role did not align with that of an independent contractor, impacting her rights and obligations. ChiroFutures emphasized the importance of clear contracts to delineate roles and responsibilities.

2. Handling Patient Records and Notes: Given the lack of access to the electronic health records (EHR) post-dismissal, ChiroFutures advised Dr. Jill to complete and retain office notes for all patient interactions she had before her dismissal. Proper documentation of the creation and addendum of these notes were discussed. This is crucial for maintaining a continuity of care and could potentially mitigate risks associated with incomplete patient documentation on her part.

3. Addressing Patient Abandonment Concerns: While the abrupt termination posed significant ethical concerns, ChiroFutures clarified that this did not constitute legal patient abandonment, as the patients could still receive care at the original office or transfer their records as needed.

4. Legal and Ethical Compliance: ChiroFutures stressed the importance of adhering to legal standards when transitioning out of a practice setting, especially in terms of patient communication and handling of medical records.

5. Setting Up a New Practice: Practical advice was provided on establishing a new practice, including securing a malpractice policy, obtaining a tax ID, and other logistical aspects of setting up an independent practice.

Conclusion: The Role of Malpractice Insurance in Chiropractic Risk Management

This case underlines the invaluable support that a dedicated malpractice insurance provider like ChiroFutures can offer. Not only do they provide financial coverage, but they also serve as an indispensable resource for navigating the legal, ethical, and practical challenges that arise during critical transitions in a chiropractic career.

For any chiropractor, particularly those in transitional phases of their career, the backing of a knowledgeable and supportive malpractice insurance program is crucial. It ensures not just protection against claims, but also provides a roadmap through the complex legal landscape of healthcare practice, safeguarding the practitioner's career and the well-being of their patients.

Advice for Chiropractic Professionals

Always ensure clear and documented agreements are in place regarding your role and responsibilities. In times of uncertainty or dispute, having a reliable malpractice insurance provider like ChiroFutures can make a significant difference in effectively managing your risks and protecting your professional interests.

ChiroFutures Malpractice Program