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Editorial

August 1, 2002
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By Richard L. Peck, Editor Your Greatest Liablity
Your Greatest Liability BY RICHARD L. PECK, EDITOR Just what you needed.

Just as reimbursement heads for a cliff (Medicare) or starts to crumble (Medicaid); just as state survey teams turn the screws still tighter; just as the federal alphabet agencies devise still more new hoops to jump through; just as staffing resources continue to dwindle (with airline security now joining fast-food companies as your competition)-now you get hit with the liability insurance bombshell. Only slightly scarier than the thought of paying thousands of dollars a bed for insurance is the thought of going uninsured and being held personally responsible for a large damages award. But that's the dilemma you face.

So, what's with these liability insurers-have they gone crazy? According to insurance agent Linda Boyle, such is not the case; the insurers are simply responding to market forces and, in fact, would prefer not to abandon their best customers, if there were any way to avoid it. In the April 2002 issue of Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Management (p. 40), Boyle told us about her National Council of HealthCare Agents and its dedication to helping its customers upgrade risk management and maintain their insurability. Now, for this issue, she has rounded up several key insurers to address the crisis from various angles and offer suggestions on what long-term care providers might do. Several of their contributions are included here, and several more will appear in subsequent issues.

As Boyle says, "Some of this information is not what you want to hear-but you need to deal with the facts as they exist." Here is some very well-informed advice on how to do just that. You will find that there are no simple answers. The good news is, though, that there are answers-perhaps just enough to help you weather this crisis and get back to the more familiar catastrophes. NH

P.S. As an administrator or DON, how do you feel about your job? The American College of Health Care Administrators is sponsoring a survey (for members and nonmembers) focusing on that question. The survey can be accessed and responded to at www.vitelresearch.com. User name: achca. Password: survey. For further information, contact V. Tellis-Nayak, PhD, at vtn1@aol.com.
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