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    SPRING 2017

  • Illinois Practice Managers, Make Sure Your Physicians' Email Addresses Are Current with IDFPR

    time to renew noteIt's a license renewal year — starting next month, all Illinois physicians can begin to renew their medical and controlled substance licenses to meet the July 31 deadline.

    But there's a big change this year, and practice managers need to be on top of it.

    The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has stopped sending notices of renewal through the U.S. mail entirely. Your physician team will receive their reminder by email only, and only if their email is current in the IDFPR database .

    Now would be a good time to remind your doctors to visit the site to review and update all their information so their renewal period goes smoothly. IDFPR is opening renewal in April instead of May to give physicians extra time during this first year of a paperless renewal process.

    If you have questions about using the IDFPR site, call the department at 800-560-6420.

      For any other questions on the physician license renewal process, contact Audrey Vanagunas at 312-580-2465 or email her at  audreyvanagunas@ismie.com.



  • Free Webinar March 30 - Becoming 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?

    Join ISMIE and our partners at the Illinois State Medical Society for a free webinar at noon on March 30 to 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!



  • SCAM ALERT: HHS OIG Says Its Fraud Hotline Number is Being Used in Phone Scam

    whistleIf 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, it's not the OIG calling.

    The agency recently announced that some very cheeky scammers spoofed their hotline number and began 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.

    A physician or staff member who sees "HHS OIG" or "HHS OIG Hotline" on a phone screen might know to pick up immediately — which is exactly what these data thieves want.

    According to OIG, these scammers call and try to convince the recipient to surrender personal or patient birth dates, Social Security numbers, or credit card, bank account or driver's license numbers. It's data that can be used either to steal funds or capture valuable data that can be resold.

    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 what should you do 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. 



  • Don't Miss the April 1 Priority Deadline to Schedule an ISMIE Practice Assessment

    National  Patient Safety Awareness Week runs through March 18, which makes it a good time to focus on one of the most important aspects of your ISMIE coverage — your opportunity for an onsite practice assessment.

    An onsite practice assessment makes it possible for policyholders to limit potential litigation risk and qualify for a 5% premium discount if found to be in substantial compliance with ISMIE's guiding risk management principles.

    Want to get a jump on the 2017 practice assessment so you and your team can prepare?

    Sign up for our March 22 webinar,  Preparing for Your Office-Based Practice Assessment, from noon-1 p.m. CT.



  • A Patient Misses a Screening - Could One of Your Physicians Be Sued?

    doctor speaking to a patientAn attention-getting study in January pointed to higher-than-estimated death rates from cervical cancer among all U.S. women, noting poor access to screenings and lack of follow-through as significant factors.

    For ISMIE policyholders, such troubling data offers a lesson in patient safety. Cervical cancer is one disease that's largely preventable when screening guidelines and patient monitoring procedures are followed. Yet for a variety of reasons, there will always be patients who won't — or can't — follow through with preventative recommendations no matter what the health issue.

    And with changes likely coming to the Affordable Care Act, coupled with steadily rising deductibles, your physician team could be dealing with more patients who don't heed their recommendations.

    So, how can you assist your physicians? Support their efforts to keep careful, thorough documentation during patient visits. Their notes should include: 

    • Efforts to explain the screening and the specific risks of forgoing it 
    • An indication that the patient understood this discussion
    • Any information the patient communicates about when or where they'll have the tests done
    • Any attempts to follow up with the patient
    • If applicable, the patient's refusal — including his or her reasons for doing so

    Effective documentation practices can help defend a failure-to-diagnose lawsuit if one of those patients who refused care becomes ill.



  • National Doctors' Day is March 30

    doctors on national doctor dayDon't forget to recognize your physician team March 30 — National Doctors' Day. Founded in 1933 and made official in 1990 by former President George H.W. Bush, it's good practice to acknowledge your doctors with something special on March 30. It could be a small gift, a special lunch or the traditional red carnation for everything they do for patients — and staff!



  • 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!




  • Animals in the waiting room infographic