Managing Outpatient Behavioral Health Risks

Understanding the risks associated with practicing in an outpatient behavioral health care environment can go a long way toward avoiding a medical malpractice lawsuit or licensing board complaint. While psychiatry is one of the least sued medical specialties, the risk is not zero.

Below are some points that psychiatrists should consider while treating their patients.

Determine decision-making authority prior to treating a minor or releasing records.

While these questions are just some of the areas of vulnerability to consider, addressing these types of questions can go a long way to avoiding risk and assisting in one’s own defense if a malpractice claim or licensing board complaint is brought. ■

This information is provided as a risk management resource for Allied World policyholders and should not be construed as legal or clinical advice. This material may not be reproduced or distributed without the express, written permission of Allied World Assurance Company Holdings Ltd, a Fairfax company (“Allied World”). Risk management services are provided by or arranged through AWAC Services Company, a member company of Allied World. © 2021 Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Allison M. Funicelli, MPA, CCLA, ARM, is a risk management consultant in the Risk Management Group of AWAC Services Company, a member company of Allied World. Risk management services are provided as an exclusive benefit to insureds of the APA-endorsed American Professional Agency Inc. liability insurance program.

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