MLMIC – MUCH MORE THAN JUST UNDERWRITING & CLAIMS
Gary P. Andelora, Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company
After speaking to many Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company (MLMIC) insureds and their staffs throughout the State, it became apparent to me that most policyholders do understand the basic services MLMIC provides in the areas of Underwriting and Claims Management. Having been in the professional liability insurance business since 1975, MLMIC is known for having the most knowledgeable and experienced underwriting and claims staffs of all the professional liability insurers in the country. However, there are other valuable services MLMIC provides which may be overlooked by some policyholders. These additional services include those offered by the attorneys at Fager & Amsler (F&A), counsel to MLMIC, and the comprehensive risk management education offered by MLMIC’s Risk Management Department. This article will explore some of these services.
Fager & Amsler attorneys are available during normal business hours to assist policyholders with a wide range of legal services, including, but not limited to, advisory opinions concerning liability issues, liability litigation activities, lecture programs, consulting services, and legal audits and assessments. Below are some of the frequently discussed issues the attorneys address:
- Dealing with angry, threatening, or noncompliant patients and their families;
- Discharging patients from a practice;
- Discontinuing a medical practice;
- Release and retention of medical records;
- Peer review protection and concerns;
- Release of records due to unusual situations – divorce, custody, deceased patients;
- HIPPA, HIV, mental health issues, and alcohol and drug treatment confidentiality;
- Law enforcement and confidentiality issues;
- How to respond to patient complaints;
- OPMC issues and the need to have an attorney present;
- Patients who are seeking and/or abusing drugs.
While this list is certainly not all inclusive, it should give MLMIC insureds an idea of some of the legal information to which they have access. In addition, F&A’s attorneys regularly review and update all risk management forms and legal templates, such as H1N1 consent forms and other informed consent forms. They also routinely review subpoenas, authorizations, and other legal documents seeking medical information from MLMIC insureds.
Policyholders who have legal issues and questions are encouraged to call Fager & Amsler to speak with one of the attorneys. They can be reached at: (212) 889-2498 (Manhattan); (877) 426-9555 (Syracuse); (516) 794-7340 (Long Island); and, (518) 786-2880 (Albany area).
Risk Management Services & Continuing Medical Education
MLMIC’S risk management professionals also provide many services about which policyholders may be unaware. For example, the Risk Management Department offers educational programs that help improve patient care and, ultimately, reduce the frequency and severity of claims. MLMIC is accredited by the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) to provide continuing medical education (CME) for physicians. MLMIC’s Risk Management Department utilizes conventional formats and new technologies, including an Internet-based format, to provide and deliver its CME programs. Physicians who satisfactorily complete these programs are able to earn CME credits, the applicable premium credit, and also qualify for participation in the medical malpractice excess insurance program.
MLMIC’s Risk Management personnel also offer policyholders a number of additional services, including advisory opinions, a resource lending library, a speakers’ bureau, educational lectures and seminars. Like those lectures provided by F&A attorneys, the educational lectures and seminars presented by the risk management staff are frequently presented at MLMIC-insured facilities and office practices. The programs are individually tailored to meet the needs of the target audience. Frequently addressed topics include basic risk management procedures and malpractice prevention measures.
MLMIC’s Risk Management Department also offers Regional Network Meetings which are held twice a year at convenient times and locations for MLMIC insureds. The topics presented at these regional meetings are based on feedback received by policyholders, as well as timely subject matter that needs to be addressed.
Working closely with F&A attorneys, the Risk Management Department will provide to policyholders, upon request, consent forms, form letters, legal memos, bulletins, and guidelines, all of which cover a wide variety of issues, such as Authorization for Release of Information and Informed Consent Forms. It has also published and distributed collateral materials pertaining to current healthcare, legal, risk management, and insurance issues, in an effort to keep policyholders apprised of current news and updated information. MLMIC’s biannual newsletter, Dateline, is one such publication. A complete list of materials appears on MLMIC’s Web site. To contact the Risk Management Department by telephone regarding any of the services it provides, please call (800) 275-6564 (Manhattan); (877) 777-3560 (Long Island); (800) 356-4056 (Syracuse); or (800) 635-0666 (Albany)
Resource Lending Library
MLMIC’s Lending Library is available to all policyholders at no charge and may be accessed via MLMIC’s Web site at www.mlmic.com/portal/lib_home.aspx. To date, thousands of policyholders have borrowed materials from the Library, which consists of over 2,000 books and audiovisual materials, on topics such as risk management, patient safety, and quality improvement. Policyholders may also submit library and research requests (library searches, literature services, and cyber-searches) by contacting Judi Kroft, Library Services Administrator, at (800) 635-0666, ext. 2786, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Providing excellent service to its policyholders has always been one of MLMIC’s major goals. MLMIC is not just about underwriting and claims. Hopefully, the information presented in this article will help policyholders understand the magnitude of the many services MLMIC provides.