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Introduction to Second Edition

Risk Management and Medical Liability

A Manual for Indian Health Service and Tribal Health Care Professionals
(Second Edition)

Introduction to Second Edition

An initiative began in 1986 at the Indian Health Service (IHS) Headquarters level to more thoroughly review and assess each medical malpractice tort claim that involved care within the IHS or Tribal network of hospitals and clinics. A database was developed to track these claims through the system and provide summary reports and feedback to the service units. The first edition of this Manual in 1996 reported the IHS experience with medical malpractice tort claims over a ten year period, and gave recommendations on risk management practices.

Now, ten years later, many things have changed. The number of claims filed against IHS and Tribal facilities has increased and the processes by which claims are reviewed have also evolved. More recently, the IHS has become a reporting entity to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), which has brought a whole new dimension to the Agency’s Risk Management Program. This revision of the Manual delineates the process changes that have taken place, updates data on tort claims, describes the IHS role in NPDB reporting, and provides additional risk management guidance for local programs and health care professionals.