While developing, implementing and updating a loss-control program involves time, energy, and even money, executing the strategies within the program effectively will not only protect an organization’s bottom line, it will also help a business run more smoothly. A robust loss-control program is central in addressing exposures and mitigating the potential for claims.
When emphasizing the need for a strong loss-control/prevention program with clients in the Home Health Care, Allied Health Care, and Human/Social Services industries, we suggest revisiting some of its key benefits:
- Keeps employees properly informed of the various hazards inherent in the work they perform and provides training on how to avoid or mitigate potential hazards, which will help minimize losses, increase worker productivity and add to a facility’s profits.
- Provides an opportunity to uncover blind spots and hazards through regular inspections, quality control programs and ongoing training, further reducing the potential for losses. In addition, management can learn from near misses and accidents (with or without actual losses) to enhance or develop new loss-prevention strategies.
- Improves patient care, employee safety, and helps to minimize the risks associated with this type of important work.
- Enables management to proactively respond in the event of a natural catastrophe (hurricane, tornado, wildfire, flooding, etc.), cyber incident, or other occurrence when a business continuity plan is an integral component of a loss-control program. Having a documented plan can often make the difference between a total loss and a swift recovery.
- Ensures compliance with federal (OSHA) and state safety legislations, guidelines and other regulations such as HIPAA compliance, for example.
Where to Begin in Setting Up a Loss-Control Program
The first step in establishing a loss-control program involves having the right personnel in place to execute the best practices and measures outlined in the plan. Choose an individual to coordinate the development and execution of the plan or to manage the team responsible for the program. The loss control team will be responsible for development, implementation and maintenance of the program; planning and conducting safety awareness activities (with the use of brochures, flyers, videos) and ongoing employee training; performing accident prevention and safety inspection duties (i.e. the proper use of equipment); investigating workplace-related accidents and injuries; employing good documentation, reporting, and recordkeeping of loss-control efforts; and updating the program as needed. In addition, be sure management is totally supportive of the program, conveying its commitment to safety to all employees and stakeholders. Let’s take a brief look at two of the numerous areas where loss control for health care organizations is essential:
Professional Liability Loss Control
Home health care agencies and hospice organizations are exposed to professional liability claims as a result of the accepted standard of care that they adhere to on a daily basis. Professional Liability insurance protects the business itself if it is sued for the errors, oversights or negligence of their employees, contractors or volunteers while carrying out their services. In addition to carrying this must-have (and in most instances required) coverage, it’s also imperative that an organization has measures in place to mitigate its professional liability risks. This includes employing best practices in hiring/screening, as well as employee training in patient handling – i.e. lifting, positioning, assisting and transferring patients; wound care; medication dispensing; management of protected health information (PHI); and much more.
In addition to including loss-prevention measures (covering physical, psychological, biological and chemical hazards) to help mitigate on-the-job accidents and illnesses, it’s important to also have a Return-to-Work (RTW) plan as part of an organization’s loss-control program. This will help injured or sick employees get back on the job as quickly as possible, and benefits both the employer and employee. For example, a shorter well-managed recovery period helps employees to feel more productive and maintain a positive attitude. Employees are also able to maintain their daily habits and routines where permissible. In addition, a RTW program can help minimize workplace disruption by shortening the length of disability due to injury, and returning employees to full activity once they have transitioned from light or modified duty work. The employer will benefit from potential cost savings in replacement training, claims expenses and Workers’ Comp premiums.
Manchester Specialty Programs provides agents and brokers with the ability to offer a totally integrated business insurance solution around the specific needs of Home Care, Allied Health and Human/Social Services organizations fundamental to communities. Our partner insurance carriers and agents/brokers offer risk management and loss control services to our program insureds. For more information about our products, please contact us at 855.972.9399.