CMSA Today - Issue 1, 2012 - (Page 8)

Telehealth Case Managers and Telehealth Avoiding Potential Liabilities BY ELIZABETH E. HOGUE, ESQ. R ecent health care reform legislation is likely to support continued expansion of the use of telehealth in the health care industry. Specifically, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) contains many provisions that are likely to result in an increased use of telehealth. In addition, new technologies and obvious efficiencies of the use of telehealth are likely to result in increased usage. As case managers consider the increased use of telehealth by themselves or by providers with whom they work, they must remain cognizant of possible risks associated with the use of these devices. They must also take practical steps to avoid potential liabilities. A key type of liability that case managers must avoid in the use of telehealth is liability for negligence. Case managers run the risk of liability for negligence whenever they provide services to patients/clients. In order to prove this type of liability, patients must prove all of the following: 1. Case managers owed patients a duty of reasonable care. 2. Case managers breached their duty of reasonable care to patients. Case managers can breach their duties to patients in either of the following ways: – Case managers do something they should not do. – Case managers fail to do something they should have done. 3. Case managers’ breach(es) of duty caused injury or damage to patients. The best way to define “cause” is in terms of “but for.” But for case managers’ breach of duty, patients would not have been injured or damaged. In order to prove injury or damage, patients must show physical injury or damage or extreme and outrageous conduct on the part of case managers. Extreme and outrageous conduct is behavior that is barbaric, shocking, cannot be tolerated in civilized society, and causes one to gasp. Patients must prove all three of these requirements. If they fail to prove even one of them, case managers will defeat patients’ lawsuits based on negligence. The use of telehealth devices includes the potential for instances of negligence, in addition to potential liabilities associated with “hands on” or “in person” services. Equipment malfunction or failures are an example of types of negligence specifically associated with the use of telehealth. 8 CMSA TODAY ISSUE 1 • 2012 • DIGITAL

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CMSA Today - Issue 1, 2012

Technology U se Transforming the System
President’s Letter
Case Managers and Telehealth – Avoiding Potential Liabilities
Information Technology Takes on “Meaningful Use” for Case Managers
Case Managers – The Biocomputers that Make the Biggest Difference
The Evolving Role of Care Coordination in an Acute Care Environment – An Introduction (Part 1 of 3)

CMSA Today - Issue 1, 2012