Experience Monopoly

Risky Behavior and Healthcare Businesses

January 4, 2016

When we think of risky behavior, we usually think of personal acts. Like the definition used in connection with a children’s services workers training course in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames: “Risky behaviours are those that potentially expose people to harm, or significant risk of harm which will prevent them reaching their potential.”

Risky behavior impacts medical groups and healthcare businesses, too. Sometimes this is a result of the personal acts or omissions of an employee, as in medical malpractice. Other times it’s the result of the acts or omissions of the business itself, perhaps at the level of its board of directors.

Risk can’t be eliminated. It’s inherent in any business venture. In fact, in business, there’s no reward without risk. But risk can be managed and reduced.

Consider insurance, for example. You pay premiums which are not “for nothing” even if you never have a claim. That’s because the risk of a claim was reduced to the extent of coverage.

In like manner, there are many other actions that can be taken to otherwise reduce risk within the organization. These actions have a multiplier effect because they both reduce the potential for loss and they increase the value of the entity itself.

Take, for example, the situation in which a medical group’s organizational documents have unwittingly created a ticking time bomb by couching notions of compensation in terms usually reserved for concepts of ownership. An event sparks the situation and the next thing you know, the employees claim they are owners and demand their share of profits or, even worse, of proceeds from the sale of the group.

Other examples are as numerous as there are instances of business organization and business operations, from the structure of a deal that raises the specter of violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute to seemingly innocuous representations and warranties contained in an employment agreement.

Left to the vagaries of fate, those and other risks can come back to destroy both current profit (i.e., create staggering losses) and the value of your business.

Call it “insurance” or call it preventive medicine, but call for it all the same, starting with a comprehensive audit of your current situation. Otherwise, you’re wittingly exposing your business to harm that will prevent you from reaching your full potential.

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