On Demand Webinar | Intermediate | Accounting and Financial Reporting

Physician performance, both in terms of clinical quality and financial profitability, continues to be a key component of operational success in healthcare. Considering their work is often not only clinical, but also includes academic, resea...

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Course | Intermediate | Accounting and Financial Reporting

This course explains the different categories of healthcare enterprises and the process to record revenues from varying sources. It discusses reporting requirements for restricted and unrestricted net assets, and explains how cash and cash ...

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Course | Intermediate | Accounting and Financial Reporting

This course explains the impact on financial reporting of various relationships between a reporting healthcare organization and other entities in which it has control and/or economic interest. It also explains how equity transfers between r...

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Course | Intermediate | Accounting and Financial Reporting

This course defines strategic and operational planning, lists different types of budgets, and lists the steps of the budgeting procedure. In addition, this module presents an example of cash receipts, and introduces favorable and unfavorabl...

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Course | Intermediate | Accounting and Financial Reporting

This course describes how healthcare organizations should account for current liabilities and rules relating to tax exemption for healthcare organizations. It describes how long-term debt can be handled by healthcare organizations, includin...

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Trend | Accounting and Financial Reporting

Malpractice cost analysis shows declines in premiums, paid losses and self-insurance

Trend | Accounting and Financial Reporting

Malpractice cost analysis shows declines in premiums, paid losses and self-insurance

To shield against potential legal damages from malpractice claims, hospitals carry malpractice insurance, sometimes as a self-funded vehicle. As with any cost of doing business, this area should not be overlooked for changes over time. An analysis of data reported by U.S. acute-care hospitals in Medicare cost reports — looking at malpractice premiums, paid losses and self-insurance costs for all reporting hospitals with a filing available ending between 2013 and 2017 — found a decline in the combined cost for all three categories over the five-year period.1 Although the changes appear slight, they do also seem to represent a consistent trend.

It is possible that the hospital industry’s heavy investment in recent years toward quality initiatives, documentation improvement and new technologies to improve patient care is behind this decline. Many of these efforts were undertaken to ensure the hospitals received maximum appropriate payment from CMS programs focused on improving quality of care, encouraging electronic health record adoption and generating measures the public can use to examine the value of care offered in their own communities. However, this decline also may be an unanticipated benefit from better documentation aimed at assisting in defense of claims and from quality initiatives that have eliminated some mistakes.

Hospital operators may benefit from reviewing their own coverage and claims history to assess their own changes over recent years and ensure coverage levels are still appropriate. 

Footnotes

1 Only partial data were available for 2018 at the time of publication, and these data therefore were not included.

About the Authors

William Shoemaker

American Hospital Directory, Louisville, Ky (wshoemaker@ahd.com).

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