For alcohol and drug treatment centers, the sudden influx of patients leaves them even more vulnerable to malpractice and negligence insurance claims. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to help mitigate your risk.
#1 Have Proper Insurance Protocols in Place
If you've worked in the treatment industry long enough, you know complications may occur during the detox process, no matter how careful you are. Is your staff prepared to handle these complications? Do they know what to do in the event complications do arise?
Having a written protocol in place and training all your employees and volunteers on these protocols can help them feel more confident when complications occur and may reduce your risk for malpractice or negligence claims.
Detox complication protocols aren't the only protocols your treatment center may benefit from. Implementing an intake or admissions procedure can also help. For example, creating a policy dictating what patient demographic you serve can help ensure all your employees feel qualified to help.
You could also make a list of questions to ask prospective patients to ensure they are a good fit for your services. Some questions you may consider asking potential patients can include:
- What types of substances do you use?
- How long have you been using substances?
- What do you hope to get out of treatment?
- Are you, or have you ever been, suicidal?
- Tell us about your support system — do you feel supported by friends or family?
Other protocols you may find helpful include a code of conduct that outlines how you expect volunteers and employees to act while on your center's property.
#2 Require Documentation From Healthcare Professionals
For mental health, medical practices, and treatment centers, thorough documentation is essential. Not only does documentation help track and monitor patients during the treatment process, but it also helps prove or disprove medical negligence or malpractice if a patient or their family files a claim.
Proper documentation may include:
- A record of your patient's answers during the intake process
- Therapy notes or medications administered during treatment
- Any threats or concerning comments made towards other liatients, employees, or volunteers
You may also want to request documents from your patients' primary care physicians or therapists. These documents may be helpful to monitor progress or keep your staff informed about your patient's medical and mental health history.
#3 Employ a Crisis Response Team
Even with proper protocols in place, emergencies may still occur during treatment. For example, a patient may become emotionally and mentally overwhelmed during the process and threaten suicide. Medical complications may also arise.
Some of the side effects or complications of detox your facility should be aware of include the following:
- Trembling or tremors
- Increased depression and anxiety
- Nausea and vomiting
Employing a trained crisis response team may help resolve emergencies sooner and lower adverse effects. You may find it helpful to have two different crisis response teams in your center. One could be trained in mental health emergencies, while the other could be a team of medical professionals for medical emergencies.
These crisis teams should follow the protocols you put in place. In addition, they should thoroughly document what happened and how they responded.
#4 Be Insured
You can't eliminate malpractice or negligence claims even if you implement all the risk mitigation strategies outlined above. Just as you try to put your patient's best interests at heart, your patients and their loved ones put their best interests first. In addition, accidents may happen. Patients may slip and fall, or your center could experience water or fire damage.
One of the best ways to lessen your risk and protect your drug or alcohol treatment center is by insuring your facility. While there are many commercial insurance options, most treatment centers benefit from a mixture of the following:
The risk reduction process may seem complicated. However, it doesn't have to be. Even if the four steps outlined above are new to your treatment center, you can quickly implement them. By starting the risk mitigation process now, you can save your employees and yourself a lot of stress or possible financial difficulties later.
People are unpredictable and accidents happen. If you run a drug or alcohol treatment center, lowering your risk for malpractice and negligence insurance claims is essential to protect your employees and care for your patients.
Leavitt Coastal Valley offers commercial insurance plans and risk management solutions for drug and alcohol treatment centers. Our professional insurance brokers know the mental health industry and work hard to provide a coverage plan that meets your needs and protects the areas in which you are vulnerable. We'll work with you to help mitigate your risk, create a personalized insurance plan that evolves to reflect your changing priorities, and operate with integrity to win your trust and develop a lasting relationship.
To learn more about how we can help lower your risk or to schedule a complete risk assessment, contact our experienced team at (805) 925-8607.