The Role of Hospitals in Medical Malpractice Cases
While medical malpractice claims are financially costly to the healthcare industry and image damaging, it is not nearly the same harm endured by medical malpractice victims who can suffer irreparable injury or die.
One hospital consultant says hospitals in the Bergen-Passaic region of New Jersey and nationwide can play a big role in preventing injury to its patients while limiting their own costs and potential exposure to liability. While part of a hospital's mission is patient safety and quality care, this is not always met due to a wide range of factors.
Generally disorganized leadership and poor oversight of staff are to blame, according to the hospital consultant. Hospitals sometimes overlook required policies and procedures and do not take privileging matters and physician credentialing seriously. That lack of caution can get hospitals into trouble during medical malpractice litigation.
Hospitals are responsible for their employees and ensuring they actually follow proper policies and standards. Effective hospitals are those that do the following:
- Conduct annual reviews to evaluate the efficacy of rules and regulations in-place
- Manage risk management programs for their physicians
- Hire a capable and experienced hospital administrator who can internally review and address how the hospital is doing
- Take an interest in every medical malpractice case
- Comply with credentialing procedures for physicians and other licensed independent practitioners
- Pay attention to and approve new equipment for use
Increasingly, hospitals are included in medical malpractice lawsuits because courts are finding corporate negligence to be a factor in many claims. If hospitals take more involvement in the day-to-day happenings of its employees, it may help to improve the care that patients receive and limit the amount of malpractice cases.