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Inside Medical Liability

First Quarter 2021

 

 

PERSPECTIVE

Moving Forward in the Shadow of COVID-19

“This pandemic will have some lasting impacts on the practice of medicine, delivery of healthcare, and business of medical professional liability."

BY PRESIDENT, BRIAN ATCHINSON

 

Each person reacts differently to change. The past 12 months have brought about more change in our lives than we could have ever imagined. Each of us has adapted in his or her own way. I have moved a number of times throughout my life and have generally found that after any dramatic change—moving, new school, new job—the first year is always difficult and stressful with uncertainties and even some self-doubt. When the second year begins, things start to make more sense as you learn about the new world in which you find yourself. .

As we consider the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 crisis around the world, we acknowledge and applaud the tremendous progress in treatments and vaccines that have been developed in record time and are currently being distributed. However, even with these remarkable scientific achievements, there is still a long way to go before we can put the pandemic behind us—if ever. Perhaps the most important lesson we have learned is that our world will increasingly present many ongoing health challenges that will span the globe, ignore national boundaries, and test our individual and societal abilities to adapt to change.

For many of us, we may never again return to a time when people will casually shake hands, travel without a face mask, or think nothing of that nice person in the hotel elevator or rental car shuttle with the persistent cough.

So, the good news is that the first year is behind us; the bad news is that we will be dealing with COVID-19 much longer than we could have imagined back in March 2020. This pandemic will have some lasting impacts on the practice of medicine, delivery of healthcare, and business of medical professional liability.

Like all organizations, the MPL Association has been adapting, at first in a reactive manner as we moved to remote work and hosting online meetings and workshops. The past year has been an intense mix of learning while concomitantly providing platforms and forums for our members—some new, some reimagined—to share experiences and information. Like most organizations, we evolved so that we could operate in a more informed and deliberate manner with a greater knowledge about what our members and affiliate partners need and how they are adapting.

The Board of Directors of the Association has commenced the significant work of developing a new strategic plan for 2021-2024. With all the change in the air, there is no time better than the present to carefully consider how the Association can enhance its value proposition for all its members. As part of this process, the Association has received a tremendous amount of feedback from online surveys and one-on-one interviews. If you provided your input, thank you. This information will be critically important for the Board as they craft the plan that will serve as the Association’s roadmap into the future. We look forward to presenting the new strategic plan in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of Members hosted online on May 25, 2021.

As the Association moves forward, we remain focused on the needs and priorities of our members. There remains great uncertainty for every MPL organization about the ultimate impact of the pandemic on insureds as well as on underwriting, claims, risk management, patient safety, reinsurance, and business operations. We are now entering this second year of living with this deadly virus. We know much more than we knew a year ago—but not as much as we will know about the pandemic and its lessons at the end of 2021. We look forward to working together in this new world to face the challenges ahead.