Case Management

Sneak Peek: Four areas that break down physician relationships

Case Management Weekly, January 18, 2012

Most case managers have had a spat with a physician at one time or another.

Maybe a physician discharged a patient who may not have been clinically ready for discharge, or perhaps a physician disagreed with a case manager about the proper level of care for a particular patient.

According to Karen Zander, RN, MS, CMAC, FAAN, principal and co-owner of The Center for Case Management, Inc., in Wellesley, MA, when conflicts arise, they're generally related to one of four hot-button issues:

  • Level of care determinations
  • Readiness for discharge
  • Disagreements related to patient/family circumstances
  • Issues related to physician coverage and consistency

But other times it's a larger organizational issue at work. "Some hospitals are still using case management to work around physicians instead of physicians really governing themselves, and a lot of problems come up because of that," says Zander.

Whatever the source of the problem, help smooth over prickly issues with physicians by making sure the physicians have adequate resources to help resolve conflicts. Case managers should also establish positive relationships with physicians from the outset.

This article is adapted from an article which originally appeared in the January, 2012 issue of eight-page, HCPro, Inc. newsletter, Case Management Monthly.

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