Case Study 3: To suspend or Not to Suspend
August 11, 2012
Case Study Approaches to Ethical Dilemmas
Case Study 3: To Suspend or Not to Suspend?
Maya works at Community Medical Center as Assistant Director of the Health Information Department. She has worked in Health Information Management for the past 15 years, although she is new to Community Medical Center, within the past two weeks. Maya is aware of many statistics that are maintained for the joint commission, and for licensing purposes. Maya has previous work experiences as an Physician Record Assistant at a 250- bed acute care hospital, also Director of Health Information Services at a large joint Commission-accredited acute care facility with an associated skilled nursing facility a level I trauma center (Ethics case studies for health information management, 2009). Suspension of physicians for incomplete records is done every Wednesday at the Community Medical Center. The first week observing D’Shondra, the Physicians Record Assistant, that compiles the statistics, also puts together the list of physicians who are to be suspended. Maya looks over the information, and notices that six physicians are not on the list that have incomplete records and should be suspended and on the list. She alerts D’Shondra of the fact she has neglected to include these six physicians on the suspension list, the statistical data for suspension, and delinquency rates. D’Shondra, the Physician Record Assistant replies to Maya that there is an unwritten rule that the six physicians are not to be suspended under any circumstances. Maya then questions the rational for failure to suspend this select group of physicians. D’Shondra responds by letting Maya know, “it’s been this organization unwritten policy ever since she’s been there, following the rules, directions giving to her, she is sure it’s good reason for it”(Ethics case studies for health information management, 2009). Maya is very concerned about the fairness to the rest of the physicians on staff, but also regarding the accuracy of statistics that are complied every week, and integrity of documentation. She talks with Barbara, the director of Health Information Services about her concerns with the six physicians, and the suspension issues. Barbara explains to her that there are several reasons behind the apparent noncompliant suspension process. The first reason, being that one of the physicians brings a significant number of patients to the facility, and has threatened to take his patients to competing hospital across town if ever suspended due to incomplete records. Also two physicians are cardiac surgeons who have stated to administration if ever suspended due to delinquent records, they will no longer utilize the facility for their surgical cases Community Medical Center needs them aboard (Ethics case studies for health information management, 2009). Barbara continues to let Maya know about the six physicians. The fourth physician is the brother-in-law of the Community Medical Center’s Chief Executive Officer. He simply takes advantage of his family ties with the Chief Executive officer to gain a grace period for completing his records for the sake of convince. The last two physicians, who had been left from the list Barbara explained, are simply handled with kid gloves because they tend to be general nuisances to the organization if things are not done their own way. After talking with Barbara, Maya felt it would be appropriate to share the issue to administration, assuming the senior administrators of the facility was equally as dedicated to calculating and reporting accurate statistics. Unfortunately, the Chief Executive officer says keeping the physicians happy should be priority, because without these six physicians being able to admit patients or schedule surgical procedures, the organization revenue would decrease. He also reminded her of the importance of the...
References: Ethics Case Studies for Health Information Management Grebner L.A. (2009) Mason, OH: Cengage.
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