Physicians Practice: JJ Maskowitz Discusses Pandemic Litigation for Skilled Care & Assisted Living Facilities
In an article published in Physicians Practice on March 22, 2021 Partner James “JJ” Maskowitz discusses pandemic litigation for skilled care and assisted living facilities in 2021 and tips to mitigate risk.
“Physicians have had to become more agile and nimble than ever in providing care to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Maskowitz writes. “As we look to a post-COVID era, now is a good time to step back and bring this fresh mindset to reassessing policies and procedures.”
From expanding telehealth capabilities to instituting new policies for in-person patient visits, the COVID-19 pandemic presented a wealth of learning opportunities for physicians and underscored the importance of proper documentation.
“Despite the PREP Act’s immunity protections for health care providers, countless COVID-19 lawsuits have already been filed, and new ones are emerging daily,” Maskowitz explains. “Plaintiff attorneys are getting creative in their attempts to allege liability for things such as misdiagnosis, wrongful diagnosis, or negligent care. These tactics underscore the necessity for health care providers to be incredibly diligent in how their practice is run.”
To avoid litigation, practices should conduct an internal audit to assess current policies and protocols and then implement proactive measures to mitigate risk.
“Should a practice be sued, it’s important to be able to show that the entire staff was acting in accordance with (or above) the standard of care,” Maskowitz concludes. “In the field of medical negligence, it is inevitable that the PREP Act is going to be challenged and tested extensively in the coming months, and it is paramount that providers can demonstrate that there was no willful misconduct. Sound policies, procedures, training, documentation and communication will help ensure that practices can continue providing the very best patient care for many years to come.”
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