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Self-insuring means taking on more responsibility for managing claims and minimizing losses, and the risk manager plays a key role, says Eileen F. Conlon, managing director for Beecher Carlson in Miami.
The risk manager will be intimately involved with the captive’s claims management, and the importance of patient safety and managing risk will become clearer to senior management. "If the risk manager starts seeing an increase in emergency department claims, for instance, it will be obvious to everyone in management that fixing the problems there will save money for the hospital," she says. "Whereas you might have had to fight for what you knew was right for patient safety, now the tie to lost dollars will be obvious to everyone. It’s a straight line from the patient safety issue to the captive writing a check, rather than the idea of letting the insurance company handle it."
Risk managers also will be instrumental in the decision-making progress when considering this option. Senior managers will look to the risk manager as the person best able to assess the claims record and areas of risk, Conlon says. The risk manager’s stature within the facility will improve, especially if it goes ahead with the self-insurance plan.
"It helps garner the risk manager an audience with their senior management, which might mean obtaining additional resources to improve patient safety," Conlon says. "Self-insuring tends to create much more recognition of the importance of the risk manager’s job."