Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.
Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD, Professional Risk Management Services, presents as part of the 2023 Suicide-Focused Assessment and Treatment: An Update for Professionals course.
Vanderpool is the director of risk management at Professional Risk Management Services, a professional liability insurance program for psychiatrists. She has particular expertise in the areas of policy, forensics, and treating patients with suicidal behaviors. In her talk, she provides examples and guidelines based on her experience in the field.
Watch now to learn more about:
- Which situations and behaviors place clinicians at risk for litigation
- How providers can ensure they are following best practices for risk management
- What risk management looks like in various clinical settings
According to data compiled by Professional Risk Management Services, 9.5% of reported deaths by suicide result in a claim. In her talk, Vanderpool gives an overview of what her firm sees in terms of insurance liability for patient death by suicide. She also provides risk management advice to increase patient safety and reduce clinician liability.
As part of her presentation, Vanderpool discusses the risks of suicide in various health care settings, including inpatient, private practice, and telehealth. She emphasizes that providers are not expected by courts to predict suicide, but that they are expected to identify risk and treat it appropriately.
If there is a lawsuit resulting from a patient suicide, the actions of the health care professional will be evaluated. Vanderpool shares five standards of care that will be reviewed, including, but not limited to:
- Whether there was adequate identification and evaluation of suicide risk indicators and protective factors for the patient
- Whether a reasonable treatment plan was developed based on the assessment of the patient’s clinical needs
- Whether a treatment plan was appropriately implemented and modified based on an ongoing assessment of the patient’s clinical status
- Whether the provider was professionally current regarding the assessment and treatment of patients with suicidal behaviors
- Whether there was adequate documentation to support that appropriate care was provided in terms of the assessment, treatment, and ongoing monitoring of the patient
Vanderpool also reviews the “three C’s” of providing good clinical care—collecting information, communicating, and carefully documenting. She elaborates on these points and places them within the specific framework of risk management for suicidal patients.
Vanderpool also shares important information for clinicians who provide services via telehealth. For example, she recommends that providers ask for the physical address of patients at the start of each telehealth session in case a crisis occurs during the session.
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About Donna Vanderpool
Donna Vanderpool is the director of risk management at Professional Risk Management Services, a professional liability insurance program for psychiatrists. She has particular expertise in the areas of telepsychiatry, HIPAA, forensics, and treating patients with suicidal behaviors. She has consulted, written, and spoken nationally on these and other health care law and risk management topics and contributed chapters to several psychiatric textbooks.