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  • March 21, 2017

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  • The State Agency that Licenses Illinois Physicians Also Handles Consumer Complaints and Investigations Against You - Do You Have a Response Plan?
    Legislative building

    The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) provides a diverse range of state services, not the least of which is the medical licensing process for more than 40,000 Illinois physicians every three years

    However, IDFPR also handles consumer complaints and medical liability investigations against physicians. If it’s your first time hearing from the agency on such matters, it can be a bit chilling.

    For example, following payment on a medical liability settlement or claim, a report is made to IDFPR at the same time notification is made with the National Practitioner Data Bank.

    It’s a good idea to have a response plan just in case you need it. ISMIE suggests these general steps:

    • Start with a conversation with your practice attorney. You and your legal advisor should be aware of regulatory requirements that affect your Illinois or multistate practice. Discuss various complaint or investigation scenarios that could surface at each state level and make sure your physicians and staff are in compliance with Illinois law.

    • Never ignore a notification from the state. If a letter, phone call or email from IDFPR or another relevant state agency arrives, get appropriate advice and address it quickly.

    Talk to ISMIE. Review our approach to state reporting requirements and call us at 800-782-4767 if you have questions related to potential complaint or claim-related issues with the state. We’ll help point you in the right direction.  

  • Reminder: Is Your Email Current with IDFPR?

    The state plans to open its medical license renewal period next month and for the first time, your renewal reminder will arrive only by email. So make sure your email and other contact information at IDFPR is current. Check here.

  • Want All the Details on the 2017 ISMIE Practice Assessment? Don’t Miss Tomorrow’s Free Webinar!

    There’s still time to sign up for Preparing for Your Office-Based Practice Assessment, a free ISMIE seminar running from noon – 1 p.m. tomorrow, March 22. It’s filled with important information about this year’s ISMIE practice assessment, which can help your practice limit litigation risk and help you qualify for a potential 5% premium discount.

    Register now!

    One more thing – ISMIE Mutual assesses more than 2,500 clinicians every year. That’s why we encourage interested policyholders to request a practice assessment by our priority deadline of April 1.

  • Free ISMIE Webinar March 30 - Become a High-Value Practice Under New Medicare Payment Models

    Think your practice is too small to compete under new Medicare payment models, or that you don’t have enough resources to coordinate care effectively?

    You or someone from your practice management team should join ISMIE and our partners at the Illinois State Medical Society for a free webinar at noon on March 30. You’ll learn how support from peer organizations can help your team improve quality and value – and proactively manage your patients’ health – without breaking the bank.

    Register today!

  • HHS OIG Says Its Fraud Hotline Number is Being Used to Steal Personal, Medical and Payment Information

    Scam AlertIf you get a call from 800-447-8477 with the words “HHS OIG Hotline” on your caller ID, be suspicious.

    That’s the number of the very legitimate fraud hotline run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General.

    However, you’re not actually hearing from the OIG. The agency recently announced that their hotline number had been spoofed and scammers have been using it to steal personal, bank and credit card information from unsuspecting call targets.

    Spoofing is the practice of using software to falsify information shown on a recipient’s caller ID screen.

    Here’s why the scam has been so effective – a physician or staff member who sees “HHS OIG” or “HHS OIG Hotline” on a phone screen might know to pick up immediately.  

    According to an OIG spokesperson, the agency “would never reach out to a healthcare institution on an official matter via our hotline phone number.”

    So don’t let this happen to your team. If you get one of these calls, hang up and call the same number – 800-447-8477 – to report possible fraud. The number is still live for that purpose.

    And if you get a call from HHS OIG from any another number or location? Take the call, make notes and consider alerting your legal advisor before you fulfill any specific agency request. 

  • Physicians, Take a Bow. Doctor’s Day is March 30.
    Physicians hands

    Time to grab those red carnations and party!

    March 30 is National Doctors’ Day. Founded in 1933 and made official in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, it’s a chance to recognize your physician team with something special – a small gift, a special lunch or the traditional red carnation.

    A pat on the back for every member of the physician team wouldn’t hurt either. 

  • Are You Following ISMIE on Twitter?

    You can depend on ISMIE’s publications for in-depth information to help you manage your practice safely, but each day, ISMIE’s Twitter feed offers medical liability updates and real-time guidance on how your coverage works. Follow us at @ISMIEMutual today!

  • They’re At It Again: Spuds vs. Suds

    The last time we saw Spuds MacKenzie, he was on a celestial mission in a recent Super Bowl ad marking his 30th anniversary as the “Official Party Animal” on behalf of AB InBev’s Bud Light beer.

    Indeed, the original Spuds is long gone – female bull terrier Honey Tree Evil Eye went to her reward back in 1993 and Anheuser-Busch officially ended the ad campaign back in 1989.

    But the canine character’s ghostly resurrection proves one thing – no trademark has ever been dead long enough to avoid a lawsuit.

    In a federal civil suit filed last week in New York, a Delaware company called Spuds Ventures – part of a Chicago-based firm that acquires and attempts to resuscitate old brands – alleged that the global beermaker’s widely televised ad Feb. 5 infringed on its Spuds trademarks “…for pubs and restaurant services as well as pet products, apparel and other items."

    AB InBev declared that argument flat, saying the plaintiff’s “only trademark registration for ‘Spuds MacKenzie’ covers pet dietary supplements and grooming supplies,” not the profitable bar and restaurant categories. The suit notes that AB InBev has already sought extra time to oppose transfer of those particular valuable rights.

    Stay tuned as this dogfight continues.