Published 6/1/2010
Murray J. Goodman, MD

Get CME and a medical liability premium discount

ProMutual joins NORCAL in offering discounts

The AAOS has long been involved in efforts to help lower medical liability premiums for members—from campaigns to institute tort reforms to studies designed to identify and reduce risk. Now, the AAOS is partnering with medical liability insurance companies to enable members to obtain rate reductions based on risk management and communication education. These arrangements can result in a 5 percent reduction in member premiums for medical liability insurance.

Risk management discounts
The AAOS Medical Liability Committee conceived the concept of online risk management continuing medical education (CME) credits in response to requests by fellows who realized that many state licensing boards were making this type of CME a requirement for license renewal. Although many generic risk management programs exist, the committee thought that orthopaedic-specific content would be more beneficial. AAOS fellows should check with their individual state licensing boards before claiming risk management credit for these courses.

For several years, California-based NORCAL Mutual Insurance Company has offered a 1-year, 5 percent premium discount to policyholders who take any AAOS risk management-based CME activity (or combination of activities) worth a minimum of two credits or more. NORCAL policyholders can choose from 8.5 credit hours of online learning programs found on Orthopaedic Knowledge Online (OKO). NORCAL policyholders should check with policyholder services at (877) 443-7232 to verify individual eligibility.

Now, ProMutual Group, a leading provider of medical liability insurance in several states, is offering a 3-year, 5 percent premium credit to orthopaedic surgeons who complete an online Risk Management CME program offered on OKO.

The online program consists of the following four modules:

  • Communication in Patient Safety
  • Medication Errors and Patient Safety
  • The Basic Science of Patient Safety
  • Surgical Site Infection

Each module consists of a slide-based lecture followed by a short quiz completed online. Each module also earns between 0.5 and 2.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ of risk management CME. For nonmembers of AAOS, when three of the modules are completed, an online certificate is generated and must be forwarded to the insurance agent 90 days in advance of the policy renewal date. Members can access this certification through their transcript. Most programs are free to AAOS fellows, and ProMutual Group insureds should check with their insurance agent in advance to ensure eligibility for the discount.

The 5 percent premium reduction equates to a savings of $1,500 on a policy premium of $30,000.

A joint effort
The online risk management program was jointly developed by the AAOS Medical Liability Committee and OKO. The AAOS Patient Safety Committee developed the content for the courses. Maureen Mondor, RN, former vice president of risk management at ProMutual, and Joe Zorola, vice president of underwriting, were instrumental in making this discount possible. Jane Baque, senior manager of AAOS online publications, was largely responsible for implementing the Web-based program.

“Over the years, ProMutual Group has developed initiatives in risk management to help orthopaedic surgeons in their practices, and we are committed to doing so in the future,” said Anne Huben-Kearney, vice president of risk management for ProMutual Group.

“Orthopaedic surgeons are especially attuned to patient safety and risk management and are eager to seek out new resources and information. We offer a variety of resources and information to orthopaedic surgeons including quarterly publications, white papers, and office appraisals with benchmarking capability. We are proud to work with the AAOS to offer these additional CME activities.”

“We believe in offering premium credits that are tied to physician education and risk management because we’ve seen the positive impact it can have not only for physicians, but for their patients as well,” added Mr. Zorola.

“The response we’ve received from orthopaedic surgeons who have completed the AAOS risk management CME and other educational programs is very encouraging,” he said. “We’re happy to support orthopaedic surgeons in this way and will continue to do so.”

Murray J. Goodman, MD, is former chair of the AAOS Medical Liability Committee and now serves as chair of the AAOS Committee on Professionalism.

Communication skills discount
The AAOS was one of the first national specialty societies to recognize the importance of communication skills in improving outcomes for patients and reducing risk for physicians. For the past 10 years, the AAOS and the Massachusetts Orthopaedic Association (MOA) have jointly offered the Communications Skills Mentoring Program, which was developed by the Bayer Institute and introduced to the AAOS by John R. Tongue, MD.

The course was the first of its kind to provide a resource for practicing orthopaedic surgeons to develop communications skills. The on-site course, offered annually both by MOA (locally) and the AAOS (at its Annual Meeting) also provides a 5 percent premium credit for a 3-year period to policyholders of ProMutual Group, a leading provider of medical liability insurance in several states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont).

For more information, visit www.aaos.org/communicationskills