Do you really need legal representation shortly after a patient death or hospitalization? While it’s a scenario that no dentist ever wants to face over the course of their career you need to have a plan in place. Here to help you understand what you can expect and how to prepare for dealing with a patient death or hospitalization is Laura Diamond.
Laura is an administrative and healthcare law attorney with experience representing healthcare providers in administrative proceedings. She is a partner in the firm of Dalrymple, Shellhorse, Ellis & Diamond, LLP. Laura’s practice focuses on assisting individuals and businesses in defending their occupational licenses.
She represents clients at the agency level (complaint, investigation, and informal settlement conference) as well as before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). Ms. Diamond advises dentists, nurses (RN, LVN), physicians, respiratory therapists, radiologic technicians, psychologists, and mental health providers including social workers and counselors (LPC, LCDC, LMFT, LSOTP).
In our conversation, Laura explains how the self-reporting process works when a patient death or hospitalization occurs, the best way to protect yourself when that happens, why you need legal representation when you appear before a regulatory body, and much more. Don’t miss a minute of this valuable episode featuring Laura’s expert perspective!
When to report a patient death or hospitalization.
It may sound like an obvious answer, but there can be challenges when deciding when to report a patient death or hospitalization to a regulatory body. Of course, you need to report a patient's death to law enforcement right away when it happens in your office, but you do have time before you need to report it to an organization like the State Board of Dental Examiners.
When a death occurs as a direct result of a dental procedure or if they are admitted to the hospital due to that procedure, you are required to report it to your state regulatory body. To get the full discussion on this critical topic with Laura, make sure to listen to this episode!
Why you need legal representation.
Many dentists are so eager to comply with state or federal law when a patient's death or hospital admittance occurs that they fail to protect themselves with legal representation. The point of securing legal representation at this crucial time is not to hide the facts or hinder the investigation it’s to make sure you are telling the full story.
Too often dentists and their staff will volunteer information to state investigators without consulting with legal representation and unnecessarily open themselves up to liability. Don’t let that happen to your office! Have a plan in place, so your practice is covered and prepared.
Use the timeframe requirements to prepare your documents.
On a similar note, you need to make sure that as you prepare to submit a self-report to your state’s regulatory board that you do so only when you’ve got all your documents ready. This doesn’t mean you should file a report past the required deadline; it just means that you should use the full 72 hours or whatever time your state requires to your full advantage.
Remember, you’ll need to submit copies of your patient’s chart, emergency protocols, electronic images, and a whole host of additional documents. Once you’ve self-reported, you’ll need to provide that information right away, that is why using the full timeframe is in your best interest. To learn more about this complicated process, make sure to listen to this episode!
Make sure you have your bases covered.
If it has been some time since you last reviewed your office’s procedure for a patient death or hospitalization, let this episode serve as your reminder. Take the time today to schedule your procedure review and put it on the calendar for the next review too.
You can never be too careful when it comes to patient safety, legal representation, and dental compliance. If you’d like to follow up with Laura about specific questions or to get connected to legal representation for your practice, make sure to check out the links in the resources section at the end of this post.
Outline of This Episode
- [0:22] I welcome my guest, Laura Diamond.
- [3:00] Laura and I talk about self-reporting patient deaths and hospitalizations.
- [5:30] How do you know when you should self-report a death or hospitalization?
- [8:30] Why you need legal representation when you appear before a regulatory body.
- [13:00] I share a story about a dentist that self-reported a patient's death.
- [16:00] What you’ll need to provide when you self-report a patient death or hospitalization.
- [21:00] Understanding how the timeframe requirements work.
- [24:00] Closing thoughts.
Resources & People Mentioned
- Dalrymple, Shellhorse, Ellis & Diamond, LLP
- Laura on LinkedIn
- Laura’s email address – LDIAMOND@DSEDLAW.COM
- Texas State Board of Dental Examiners – Texas.gov