Return-to-Work Essentials Webinar

In this webinar, we will provide a road map for you to understand the intent of a “return-to-work” (RTW) program. An effective RTW program should be designed to help injured employees return quickly and safely to their work environment.

Webinar attendees will learn:

  • Essential components of an effective RTW program
  • Best practices for implementing and maintaining an effective RTW program
  • How to interpret your workers compensation claims data and identify claim cost drivers

Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2020 at 11:00 AM ET

Register today

Satisfaction or Suit: Are Your Patients Content?

Author: Mary Stoll

Patient satisfaction is an important issue related to risk management. Medical literature suggests that satisfied patients are less likely to sue in the event of a poor outcome.1 Additionally, studies have revealed that improving the patient healthcare experience is associated with increased patient satisfaction, and better adherence to treatment and clinical outcomes.2

Enter the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused clinician-patient interaction to be significantly altered. Your medical obligations have increased, along with staff shortages and procedural pressures. Your patients’ feelings of fear and uncertainty coupled with lack of personalization is likely affecting the patient healthcare experience. Restrictions such as masking, social distancing, lack of human contact and lack of direct family support both in- and out-patient contribute to a confusing and isolating experience.

Consider the following recommendations:

Physician Communication
Patients will continue to look to you for respite from the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Establish rapport with your patients beginning with the initial patient interview.
  • Continue to foster a caring relationship with your patients by providing the necessary advice and reassurance.
  • Address the patients’ concerns.
  • Encourage your patients to discuss what is significant to them and then listen attentively. Try conversation with open-ended questions such as “Tell me...” 
  • Avoid criticizing other physicians and their management of your patients. 
  • Facilitating clear communication where the patients are engaged builds trust and may result in patient retention.

Role of Healthcare Staff
The physician-patient relationship may be affected by actions of your healthcare staff.

  • Patients need to feel compassion and respect from the time of that first encounter with front line staff.
  • Ask yourself “What impression does my office and hospital team make on our patients?”
  • Train healthcare staff in effective communication—greet patients with a smile and an introduction. Remain calm and professional to defuse situations with unpleasant patients.
  • Telephone calls—efficient access to the healthcare provider via telephone contributes to patient satisfaction. Create a policy for telephone triage, so staff know how to prioritize and route calls.
  • Utilize regular staff meetings to educate on patient satisfaction issues—either specific to your practice, in the hospital or in general.

Customer Service

  • Every interaction matters to help keep your patients’ content.
  • Keep your patients informed. You want patients to be assured that your practice is at the ready to assist them during these uncertain times. All of the technology tools available can be your best method to reach your patients with the information they need.
  • Follow up on test results. Delay or failure in reporting of test results are some of the most common patient complaints. Keep lines of communication open with diligence.
  • Appointment reminders - Utilize technology for timely reminders and ask patients their preferred delivery method. If you give your patients a response time frame, create an efficient tracking system to make this happen.
  • Wait times can be a source of dissatisfaction in settings such as the emergency department or physician office. Keep patients informed about any delays. Apologize and offer to reschedule.
  • Provide prompt and appropriate response to any patient complaint. You want patients to be assured that your healthcare practice is at the ready to assist them during these times.
  • Virtual appointments have been invaluable to help patients receive necessary healthcare while feeling less isolated.

Patient Feedback Benefits 

Surveys and online review sites demonstrate to the patient that you care about them and what they think. They feel “listened to.” Patient feedback about various aspects of your practice or department can be the catalyst needed to implement modifications. Keeping a log of common complaints helps identify necessary changes needed in office policies and billing practices.

These tips may help your relationship with your patients to be built on mutual trust and open communication which in turn could decrease the risk of malpractice claims.

Water Damage Mitigation & Response

Author: Gallagher National Risk Control

Liquid damage is the leading cause of healthcare property losses, with an average cost nearly three times the cost of other losses. Water damage can originate from many sources, such as domestic water lines; storm drain and sewage lines; HVAC piping and radiators; sprinkler systems; roofs, windows, walls and doors; and surface water. Successfully handling water incidents requires advance preparation and planning, along with prompt execution of the plan.

Water damage planning checklist

  • Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers, readily available to management and facilities support staff. Include numbers for Gallagher Claims Center (855-348-0425); contracted clean up and restoration companies; service and restoration companies for critical and valuable equipment; and sources for rental equipment, if not owned.
  • Establish written contracts with key vendors and contractors able to provide critical backup equipment, emergency power, or cleanup services during or after a water damage event.
  • Provide staff with predefined spending authority and a list of approved emergency contractors.
  • Have blanket order contracts for critical suppliers and contractors to ensure priority response during times of increased demand. Consider their response time, geography, and staffing. Include contractors for water removal, building repairs, equipment restoration and repairs, emergency snow removal, and emergency flood barriers and equipment to deploy them.
  • Know the location and purpose of control valves. Clearly label all valves, especially concealed valves. Include main building valves, floor control valves, and valves for critical areas. Post diagrams showing what valves control which systems. Label “Normally Closed” valves accordingly to avoid accidental opening. Consider a binder with a property map showing all valve locations and corresponding photo and operating instructions for each valve.
  • Lock all fire protection valves in the open position to prevent unauthorized use. Allow only authorized and trained personnel to impair fire protection in case of a leak. Always utilize the insurance carrier’s Impairment Program when closing fire protection valves.
  • Label all pressurized liquid supply lines, indicating the direction of water flow.
  • Obtain or develop a valve list and one-line diagrams or P&IDs of all domestic, drainage, HVAC, and fire protection systems that show layout of the pipes, pumps, and control valves. Keep copies of these drawings in the engineering, maintenance, management, and/or security office.
  • Facilities in earthquake-prone areas should be evaluated for earthquake bracing and retrofitted if needed. After an earthquake, systems should be tested to locate any hidden damage.
  • Maintain Spill Response kits or carts near critical areas or common points of use. Inspect on a quarterly basis and replenished missing supplies.
  • Review, practice, and update the emergency response plan annually, or when information changes. Update the plan after an event with any improvements noted

Responding to water damage incidents 

Quick and effective action when infiltration or leaks occur can reduce the size of losses and the disruption to operations. Professional cleaners have the equipment necessary to quickly remove large volumes of water and properly clean and treat buildings and furnishings. Equipment restoration contractors can effectively clean and repair machinery and electronic equipment, maintain original warranties, and have it recertified if necessary. Consider a service agreement with a regional or national restoration contractor such as BMS CAT, ACT, or ServiceMaster Restore. These firms are paid directly by the carrier and will not seek additional funds from the client. Service contracts ensure priority service should a regional event occur (i.e. tornado, hurricane or major flood).

  • If a water flow alarm on a fire protection system activates, immediately contact the fire service and then investigate the area. If there is no fire and the fire protection system is damaged, close the control valve for the damaged system, open the 2-inch drain, and follow the insurance carrier’s Impairment Program to manage the shut valve.
  • If a water flow or leak detection alarm activates on a domestic water system, close the control valve to the leaking or damaged pipe or equipment and open an adjacent tap to relieve pressure.
  • For leaks involving the building structure (e.g., roof drains, windows), take immediate steps to divert the water, contain the liquids, and block additional water from entering the building. Make temporary repairs to minimize water damage to the affected area. Once the leak has been stopped, initiate cleanup and restoration activities.
  • Cover up equipment, furnishings and fixtures exposed to liquid damage from above.
  • Begin removing liquid as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Contact the Gallagher Claims Center (855-348-0425) and the contractors needed for cleanup and restoration of the building and equipment.

Checklist for equipment check following a water incident

  • Turn off power immediately at switch or breaker if safe to do so. Unplug all equipment.
  • Do not re-energize equipment until inspected and restored by qualified restoration personnel or manufacturer’s technical representatives.
  • Quickly open equipment cabinet doors, side panels, covers, chassis drawers; drain and wipe down as much moisture as possible.
  • Blow water out with compressed air, liquid nitrogen, or a cool hair dryer.
  • Apply water-displacing solvents to equipment as directed by manufacturer or restoration contractor, if safe to do so.
  • Remove equipment to a cool, dry area; set up fans to circulate air through equipment.

Author Information:


1 Fullam F, Garman AN, Johnson TJ, et al. “The use of patient satisfaction surveys and alternate coding procedures to predict malpractice risk.” Med Care 2009 May; 47(5):1-7.
2 Doyle C, Lennox L, Bell D. “A systematic review of evidence on the links between patient experience and clinical safety and effectiveness.” BMJ Open. 2013; 3 (1).


Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and consultation services for our clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/ or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance/risk management perspective, and offer broad information about risk mitigation, loss control strategy and potential claim exposures. We have prepared this commentary and other news alerts for general informational purposes only and the material is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal or client-specific risk management advice. General insurance descriptions contained herein do not include complete insurance policy definitions, terms and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for coverage interpretation. The information may not include current governmental or insurance developments, is provided without knowledge of the individual recipient’s industry or specific business or coverage circumstances, and in no way reflects or promises to provide insurance coverage outcomes that only insurance carriers control.

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