Engage Boards in Addressing Disruptive Provider Behavior

May 30, 2012 | Risk Management News

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Healthcare organizations’ approaches to disruptive behavior must involve their C-suites and boards of trustees, says Larry Veltman, M.D., former chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center (Portland, Oregon). “A lot of boards don’t know this is a problem” that can jeopardize patient safety, said Veltman, speaking at a May 24, 2012, Lexington Insurance seminar, “Behavior Challenges That Affect Patient Safety: Disruptive Providers and Sexual Misconduct,” held at ECRI Institute (Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania). Physicians who are reprimanded for disruptive behavior “learn to go to the CEO chief executive officer and board and make noise,” said Veltman, further describing this situation as “economic terrorism” if the problem physician is known for generating significant revenue for an organization. “You need training for your C-suite and board,” he said. Veltman recommended the following seven steps for eliminating disruptive behavior: 1) announcing administration’s and medical staff leadership’s zero tolerance for such behavior; 2) implementing a disruptive behavior policy and medical bylaws statement about “getting along”; 3) establishing a hierarchy of responsibility—from department directors to board members—for addressing disruptive behavior; 4) training leadership on effective interventions;

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