September 29, 2017

Hiring a consulting firm or a referral service for expert witnesses?

by Samantha

When it comes time to secure an expert witness, lawyers may access three main sources: a consulting firm, an expert witness referral service, or independent professionals.  These options are not interchangeable.  Consulting firms are comprised of experts who consistently collaborate and follow established processes.  This promotes consistent quality, internal staff synergies, and development of valuable internal resources used for each case.  Alternatively, witness referral services create a repository of expert witnesses and charge a fee for establishing the connection between a law firm and the expert.  That expert may have expected subject matter knowledge, however lacks the process knowledge and team support to drive optimal results.

Plural Consulting Group, Inc. is a consulting firm.  When you partner with Plural, you get more than an expert witness.  You partner with a team with all the aforesaid benefits to solve the most complex of questions or cases.

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September 1, 2017

Evidence discovery and the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005

by Bryan

In the years leading up to the establishment of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (PSQIA), it was understood that physician fear of consequence related to reporting of human error and process failures in healthcare largely contributed to the lack of progress in patient safety improvement efforts.  Medical malpractice claims paralleled relatively easy access to internal physician peer review processes and root cause analyses following significant patient harm.

The PSQIA created Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs), which are entities with strict criteria for certification established by the Agency for Health for Healthcare Research and Quality.   PSOs are composed of experts that analyze provider entity submitted “patient safety work product” to make recommendations on effective methods to improve patient safety.   Perhaps more importantly, the PSQIA provided language that “patient safety work product” submitted to a PSO becomes both privileged and confidential, establishing it shall not be “subject to a Federal, State, or local civil, criminal, or administrative subpoena or order, including in a Federal, State, or local civil or administrative disciplinary proceeding against a provider.”

“Patient safety work product” includes information critical to the medical malpractice case such as medication event reports, previous related near misses, and performed root cause analyses of the harm.  However, it becomes privileged and confidential only if created and handled appropriately by the provider entity contracted with the PSO.  Despite the clarity of the PSQIA, Illinois state laws and regulations promote complex navigation of what case evidence is admissible.

  • Is the provider entity contracted with a PSO?
  • Was the “patient safety work product” created with sole intent to submit to the PSO, dual intent to submit to the PSO and a government-mandated system, or sole intent to submit to a government mandated system?
  • What are the provider entity policies and procedures surrounding “patient safety work product”?
  • Was the “patient safety work product” submitted to the PSO?

Plural Consulting Group, Inc. will help you understand if and how the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 applies to your case, and what case evidence is privileged and confidential vs. admissible.

Sources:

  1. PATIENT SAFETY AND QUALITY IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2005, 109 P.L. 41, 119 Stat. 424
  2. https://www.pso.ahrq.gov/
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The contents of the Plural Consulting Group, Inc. Site, including but not limited to all text, graphics, images, information, user interfaces, visual interfaces, photographs, trademarks, logos, sounds, music, design, structure, “look and feel” and other material (“Content”) contained on the Site are for informational and educational purposes only.  The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal or medical advice.The copyright in all material on this Site, including without limitation the Content, is held by Plural Consulting Group, Inc. or by the original creator of the material and is protected by U.S. and International copyright laws and treaties.<br />