Message From the President and CEO

Mary-Lou A. Misrahy, ARM

Leading the Way: Responding to the Changing Face of Medicine

Mary-Lou A. Misrahy, ARM
President and CEO

As health care issues continue to evolve, Physicians Insurance is anticipating the needs of our members in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. At this time, we are engaged in a governor’s task force, a national study, two federal grants, and more to respond to the needs of Northwest physicians and clinics. In more ways than ever, we are engaged in the debate, providing a voice at local and national levels so that we can influence decisions that affect local physicians and clinics.

Governor Gregoire’s Task Force
Physicians Insurance was invited to participate in an exciting task force, Health Care Reform the Washington Way. Along with the Washington State Medical Association and executives from health plans, purchasers, hospitals, and other organizations, Physicians Insurance is participating in a plan that aims to lower the rate of growth of health care spending to no more than four percent per year, by 2014, while maintaining or bettering health care outcomes. In a recent meeting, task force members voted to pursue the following issues: care coordination, payment reform, prevention and wellness, and transparency.

RAND Institute for Civil Justice Study
Physicians Insurance recently agreed to participate in a significant RAND study titled “Investigating the Medical Liability and Patient Safety Relationship Beyond California.” With our participation and the participation of a Denver-based physician-owned professional liability insurance company, COPIC Insurance Company, the Rand analysts will determine whether states with different malpractice laws result in a different relationship between safety outcomes and claims. A final publication of their studies is expected in 2013.

The Obstetrics Clinical Outcomes Assessment Program (OB COAP)
Because of the success of two of the Foundation for Health Care Quality’s past programs, the Clinical Outcomes Assessment Program (COAP) and the Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program (SCOAP), Physicians Insurance has agreed to participate in the full-scale launch of the Obstetrics Clinical Outcomes Assessment Program (OB COAP) following completion of the 2010 pilot. The goal of the new program is to create a database describing the care given to pregnant women during labor and delivery, and the results that occur from different treatments. A physician committee will then interpret the results and determine future activities. The goal is to develop best practice guidelines for labor and delivery and to improve the care of pregnant women in Washington.

Patient Safety Advisory Committee
In an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality planning grant, a new committee—the Patient Safety Advisory Committee—was created, and Physicians Insurance was asked to participate. Committee members have recently asked health care facilities to send them existing patient safety tools. The committee will then analyze these tools to determine if some of them are superior and should be more widely used throughout Washington. If they determine that the tools are not adequate to achieve optimum care for patients, then they will create a pilot program to develop new tools.

Defense Counsel Seminar
This fall Physicians Insurance will present a conference for our defense counsel. The goal is to enhance trial advocacy by promoting a healthy exchange of ideas on how to best defend our members in professional liability cases. Our claims staff and the defense counsel that we retain are looking forward to a productive meeting that will enable us to continue our very strong track record at trial.

More Ways We Are Leading the Way
Throughout this issue of the Physicians Report, you will read about other ways that the company continues to lead the way for our physician members. On page two, Dr. Campbell introduces three new Board members who will keep the company at the forefront of health care changes affecting the practice of medicine. On page five, Celia Smith, our director of continuing medical education, describes the success of the Physicians Insurance-sponsored obstetrical simulation drills and discusses the ways we are building on that success. On page six, Mark Troutman, president of Summit Reinsurance Services, Inc., analyzes the issues that are motivating health care providers to consider stop-loss services. On page eight, we describe the progress occurring on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality demonstration grant. On page nine, Anne Bryant, our senior director of government relations, summarizes the company’s activities at the national level.

At Physicians Insurance, we encourage Northwest health care providers, clinics, and hospitals to stay engaged in the process so that the future remains bright for Northwest health care. Even as we are working at the local and national level to improve health care outcomes, we continue to look for new ways to make a difference. In our work with physicians, clinic managers, attorneys, and other leaders who have a say in the future of health care, we are determined to be part of the solution as new health care issues continue to emerge.