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  • Increasing financial literacy is critical now more than ever - MIPS is concerned that even healthcare practitioners with high financial literacy may have fallen victim to the misconduct of financial institutions. It is a good time to reassess investments and the quality of financial advice received. MIPS has several online financial literacy units available for members to complete for CPD.
  • 42% of specialists report drop in income - Concerns were raised if patients were getting quality and continuity of care without video consultations and it was noted that these telehealth consultations were more likely to be used in wealthier areas or within larger practices.
  • 7 good reasons to have your own indemnity - As an employed doctor in a public hospital you are generally covered by your employer for claims arising from alleged acts or omissions by you when acting in accordance with your employment role. Many employed practitioners also obtain their own indemnity cover for matters that may arise from professional practice that falls outside the cover provided by the hospital. In simple terms, most hospitals purchase an insurance policy that covers the vicarious liability of staff including doctors and other healthcare professionals employed by the hospital. Knowing this, what are the benefits of having your own cover and the benefits of MIPS membership?
  • A better way to practice: Wellness - With R U OK Day (8 September 2016) around the corner, we thought it would be timely to remind all our members about the importance of managing stress in their personal and professional lives. As we know stress is an integral part of the life of healthcare students and practitioners. Challenges that we can rise to meet are usually good for us while stress without resolution can be corrosive to our health. There are many ways of approaching the problem however ‘mindfulness’ is a widely practiced and practical approach to improve wellness and wellbeing.
  • A touchy subject - The MIPS clinico-legal adviser’s line receives calls daily regarding intimate examinations that have gone wrong. At a minimum, the result is the breakdown of the patient - doctor relationship. At worst the consequences are much more serious and can result in criminal accusations, the involvement of local law enforcement and immediate action by the Board, that (in order to protect the public) frequently place severe conditions on a practitioner regarding chaperones.
  • A young doctor's advice - Life as a junior doctor can be tough. Especially as an intern. Indeed, it’s often the intern or resident (RMO) who has the closest patient contact under a team and acts as the first port of call when things go awry.
  • Advice from the Coroner - MIPS held a professional development event covering this topic. Phillip Byrne an experienced coroner headlined the event with Barrister Paul Halley and Solicitor Bronwyn Francis-Martin joining the panel.
  • After hours GP follow up - Recent implications by some GP after hours providers that the patient's usual GP bears the responsibility for the follow up and communication of any investigation results to the patient, arising from tests ordered by that after hours provider is incorrect and dangerous.
  • AHPRA chaperone recommendations - The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency released a status report on 4 August 2017, on the implementation of the recommendations from the Independent review of the use of chaperones.
  • AHPRA self-reporting requirements - MIPS Matters article on MDOs perspective on mental health of healthcare practitioners
  • AHPRA survey results - 76% of Australian doctors in training are working more than 40 hours on average per week, and one in eight of them are working at least 60 hours on average a week. AHPRA’s Medical Training Survey 2019 surveyed 9,378 doctors and is the first comprehensive national survey of medical training in Australia.
  • AHPRA takes immediate action as notifications increase - AHPRA took immediate action 178 times against medical and dental practitioners in 2018/19 and mandatory notifications increased by almost 40% to 395. Immediate action such as suspension of registration is only taken by AHPRA where they perceive a serious and imminent danger to people such as drug/alcohol abuse or inappropriate sexual behaviour.
  • AHPRA: Do I need to self-report? - It is likely that an individual who self-reports early will be looked upon more favourably so in most cases MIPS recommends assistance is sought before a patient or colleague makes a notification about you
  • All aboard - medical ship in New Guinea - Dr Ivan Parise was fortunate enough to be part of about 100 people aboard a medical ship that the organisation YWAM takes from Townsville to Papua New Guinea every year.
  • All dreams are valid - Born in Rwanda, East Africa, Emmanuel and his family resettled in Adelaide under the humanitarian refugee program. He learnt English and joined the university of Adelaide to study medical science and Public Health. Currently at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney he chose to complete his clinical school in rural Wagga Wagga.
  • Always learning - volunteering in Papua New Guinea - After 15 years of medical training, Rob Mitchell, Senior Registrar tells of his time volunteering in Papua New Guinea with Australian Volunteers International.
  • Always question - tests, treatments and procedures - The following are recommendations when prescribing to patients from the National Prescribing Service (NPS) MedicineWise developed in partnership with Australia’s health professional colleges, societies and associations. It enables clinicians to start important conversations with patients about tests, treatments and procedures where evidence shows they provide no benefit, or in some cases, lead to harm.
  • Anaesthetist Good Samaritan - MIPS member Dr Dan Holmes shares his rewarding experiences of delivering anaesthetic care in developing countries
  • Are you being recorded? - Steps to take when a patient requests to record a consultation
  • Are you eligible for PSS subsidy? - The Premium Support Scheme (PSS) is an Australian government initiative designed to help medical practitioners with the cost of their medical indemnity insurance. MIPS administers the scheme on behalf of the government for eligible members.
  • Are you meeting AHPRA's indemnity requirements? - What happens if I don't have adequate indemnity cover? Healthcare practitioners in Australia are not allowed to be 'under-insured' as this contravenes the AHPRA registration requirement for practitioners to have appropriate indemnity cover for their current and past practice.
  • Are you sufficiently indemnified? - Members should ensure that their practice classification accurately reflects the practice they undertake. Undertaking practice not covered under your membership classification (for example level of ‘private’ billings is understated) may prejudice your rights to insurance cover in the event you require assistance.
  • Around Good People – Nepal Dental Outreach - Article from MIPS dental member about their volunteer job in Nepal
  • Ask the adviser - insurance companies - Nichola discusses some of the frequently asked questions from MIPS members about dealing with insurance companies. Q. Can I ignore correspondence from an insurance company? A. No. Ignoring these requests in certain situations may lead to a complaint to the regulatory bodies or may be to the detriment of your patient. Ensure you read all correspondence from insurance companies. Here are a couple of examples of the types of requests you might receive: A travel insurance company requesting a patient’s medical history prior to evacuation from an overseas destination An insurance company seeking notes of a deceased patient in order to pay out life insurance.
  • Assisting at sporting events - Right across Australia, MIPS members can often be called upon to assist at sporting events either in a paid capacity or as a volunteer. The onus is on members to ensure they have appropriate indemnity cover in place in the event their provision of healthcare is questioned.
  • Avoiding common employee contract disputes - A written agreement is easier to defend than a handshake. However, before signing an employment contract, you should be very clear on the key clauses relating to indemnity, insurance or restraints. It is essential that you carefully read your contract noting; the key clauses are often in the fine print.
  • Be micro-ambitious - Tim Minchin, in his graduation address to University of Western Australia, said “Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you… you never know where you might end up”. I think this is the privilege of education, especially medical school, is that it provides so many opportunities. Chances to say ‘yes’ and to seize a moment that might lead you to a new interest, a different friendship or to make a change. It eventually led me to apply for a Rhodes Scholarship.
  • Being a doctor - a sport of endurance - Triathlon is an endurance sport that involves a combination of swimming, cycling and running over a range of distances. It can be a daunting concept at first, but with the right amount of training and perseverance, can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of your life. Ok, I know many of you don’t completely believe that last part, but you can take my word for it for now…
  • Being a Good Samaritan - The provision of healthcare to people in need of urgent medical attention in instances following motor vehicle accidents, at sporting events or during air travel can all be classified as Good Samaritan acts. These occurrences can take place both within and outside Australia.
  • Blood borne viruses guidelines - By following these updated guidelines, registered health practitioners and students comply with the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) Guidelines Australian National Guidelines for the management of healthcare workers (HCWs) living with BBVs and HCWs who perform EPP at risk of exposure to BBVs.
  • Botox - risks not just for patients - Botox - risks not just for patients
  • Breathe easier - One of the easiest and most effective ways to ease stress at work is to simply take a deep breath. By focusing on your breath, from slowing it down and breathing from your diaphragm to visualisation and meditation, you can relax your mind and body. This reduces stress and helps you to perform better at work.
  • How to: Budgeting and cash flow - Through cycles of income and expense, we develop an equilibrium that allows for the enjoyment of a lifestyle that encompasses required expenses and desired activities. However, what many everyday Australians don’t have is an awareness of their financial position relevant to their long-term goals, or an appropriate strategy to deal with periods of low-income.
  • Bullying endemic in medical workforce - The Fair Work Commission recently published the first quarterly report in relation to the new anti-bullying jurisdiction. The report shows that from 1 January 2014 to 31 March 2014, the Commission received 151 anti-bullying applications, including 11 in the health and welfare services industry. Prior to the new laws coming into force, bullying matters have mostly been dealt with by way of time consuming and costly common law claims, or under work health and safety laws. Workers’ compensation claims have also been an indirect by-product of bullying matters.
  • Can age become an issue? - As mature practitioners approach later life, their physical and cognitive capabilities may be called into question whilst practising. Practitioners have a legal duty of care to their patients and can be held liable for damage and injuries caused to patients where there is negligence in their treatment.
  • Car finance options - Buying a car, especially a brand new one, can be an exciting experience. The likelihood is that you probably won’t buy it outright - what's more likely is that it will be financed. Whether it’s your first ever vehicle, or you’re upgrading to a more luxurious car, it is vital you have a good understanding of the different finance options available to you
  • Career moves - How much does moving cost? - Whether it’s moving out of your parent’s place or moving to a new house, moving to pursue career opportunities can be stressful, time consuming and expensive. Although the aim is to keep costs low there may be a need to or benefit in obtaining a small loan to cover relocation expenses.
  • Ceasing practice in Australia - Ceasing practice in Australia? Here's what you need to do
  • Changes to prescribing opioids - Commencing 1 June 2020, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listings for opioid medicines changed, in an effort to: improve pain management strategies, and to reduce the current number of deaths and hospitalisations due to opioid abuse.
  • Changes to privacy means more obligations for practitioners - MIPS GP members should be aware of some valuable policies and guidelines produced by the RACGP over 2014 (in conjunction with stakeholders including MIPS) to assist with your practice. The managing external requests for patient information guide recommends which data elements should be extracted from a patient’s electronic medical record when responding to an external request for their record.
  • Cheap health cover can cost you - On the surface paying less certainly appears more attractive, especially if you find a health cover that seems to meet your needs. But when offered a cheaper option, always check what’s been excluded to make it cheaper, and what you’ll be forfeiting.
  • Check in with your mates - Watching a friend, family member or colleague suffer is tough. Learn how to start the conversation around mental health when the person affected isn’t a patient. Start a conversation Have you noticed someone around you acting a little differently? Maybe they seem withdrawn or frequently agitated. Perhaps they can’t concentrate, or seem on edge. We all struggle sometimes and may need a little support from our mates.
  • Clinical photos, what are your responsibilities? - In a study of Australian healthcare practitioners use of mobile devices it was discovered that What’s App was the most common app for sharing messages and photos.* Its use is widespread in Australian hospitals from students through to consultants.
  • Clinico-legal issue: Concussion in sport - Diagnosis, treatment and management of concussion type injury in sport is challenging for GPs with considerable debate about when patients should return to the field or other activities such as employment or study. Case studies and litigation from overseas are causing concern.
  • Colleagues in difficulty - Healthcare practitioners are not immune to the mental health issues that face many Australians. A cocktail of long working hours and high-pressure situations means healthcare practitioners can potentially be more at risk of experiencing mental health issues. So how would you handle the challenge of dealing with a colleague in difficulty?
  • Communication - It doesn't have to be so clincial - Only secondary to patient injury, the legal consequences of ineffective communication in healthcare settings can be calamitous. Medical claims and complaints can also be attributed to non-technical skills such as communication, leading to misunderstandings, negligent care and inappropriate interventions. In 2019, Walton et al1 reported a profile of the most common complaints received for a group of healthcare professions in Australia. The study revealed that communication was the second most common source of patient dissatisfaction in medicine, third in dentistry and fourth across all health professions included in the research.
  • Conflicting studies on health checks - Regular health checks do make a difference. It can lead to a reduction in high blood pressure, weight and cholesterol.
  • Could I be held liable if I prescribe opiods? - In Australia, opioids accounted for just over three deaths per day in 2018. Pharmaceutical opioids are present in over 70% of opioid-induced deaths and deaths were most common among middle aged men.
  • Countering bullying and harassment - MIPS Matters article on countering the negative impact on bullying and harassment
  • COVID-19 practice impact survey - We'd like to hear from you how your practice has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic so we can provide better information and support to all our members.
  • COVID-19 resources - Links to MIPS' FAQS and other information about the Novel coronavirus (2019-nCOV) and COVID-19
  • COVID-19 update for practitioners - Information about the Novel coronavirus (2019-nCOV) is fluid and regularly updated. MIPS advises practitioners to check state and federal health department websites for regular updates and instructions for health practitioners.
  • Cyber risk Essentials of online security - IT and online security is essential to ensure that you, your staff, your practice and most importantly, your patients are protected from loss or theft of data and information.
  • Cyber security - Are you prepared? - Australian Healthcare practices storage of health records means mandatory obligations apply and there is a heightened risk from cyber-attack. Regardless of whether you use electronic or hard-copy records, the code of conduct for both dental and medical practitioners requires “medical records are held securely and are not subject to unauthorised access.”
  • Cyber: Legacy system letdown - A ransomware attack on a firm sparks the collapse of a vital accounting system. Healthcare businesses have generally been slow to purchase cyber insurance policies. Even though healthcare businesses tend to hold larger amounts of sensitive data compared to say a restaurant or electrical company, because they don't rely on their computer systems to carry out their day-to-day work (eg treating patients), businesses of this nature often don’t believe they are overly exposed to cyber risk.
  • Dealing with bad online reviews - At some point, we have all 'Googled' our names, right? Imagine finding your name along with a star rating on a website accompanied with comments about your professional conduct? Websites such as RateMD, Whitecoat, Facebook and Yellow Pages all offer patients or any member of the public the chance to rate and comment on healthcare practitioners in a very public way.
  • Dentists: Be present - At the recent Australian Dental Students Association Convention attending dental students were asked prior to the event to put forward a number of questions to the MIPS presenters. This proved to be a very engaging exercise and gave us the opportunity to find out what was on the minds of dental students from all year levels. The questions put forward prior to the session, demonstrated that students were thinking about both their life as students presently and looking forward to the future as clinicians.
  • Diagnostics A Team Sport - It is imperative to remember that diagnostics is a collaborative and patient-centred process that can be most effective through conversation and dialogue. It is a complex area as there could be a number of differentials on a particular diagnosis with a number of tests for individual diseases that need to be performed with the involvement of a number of departments making decisions.
  • Does MIPS cover medical repatriation? - MIPS is aware that the work of some members includes repatriating patients from outside Australia back to Australia. This typically means a doctor is working in at least two jurisdictions and there is a risk, however small, that a claim or complaint could be brought against the doctor in either jurisdiction.
  • Don't become the meat in the sandwich - Article by MIPS clinico-legal adviser Dr Nichola Davis on handling separated parents and their children
  • Emergency care in PNG - Australian volunteer Dr Rob Mitchell is an Emergency Medicine Registrar at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. In 2014, he worked in a hospital in Madang, Papua New Guinea aiming to improve the delivery of emergency care in rural PNG. Below, he details some of his learnings.
  • Employee or contractor – be clear on your status - Clarifying and understanding your employment status has a huge bearing on your indemnity requirements, the cost of indemnity, and appropriate membership category. MIPS regularly receives enquiries from members regarding their employment status and the benefits of MIPS membership. When queried, in some cases, members are uncertain as to whether they are an employee or whether they are a contractor.
  • Employee Relations - How to mitigate risk - Clarification surrounding MIPS’ position on assistance and provision of some key risk management messages and strategies
  • Experienced a medico-legal claim, complaint or disciplinary process? - The University of Melbourne is looking for doctors with a physical or mental illness for a research study into the psychological and emotional impact of medico-legal claims, complaints or disciplinary processes.
  • Express yourself clearly - The importance of a thorough history must be strongly stressed, especially with regard to the history of that particular tooth and also the need for accurate clinical notes with all details and radiographs recorded including tests performed, and local anaesthetics used etc. These requirements are comprehensively listed at dentalboard.gov.au.
  • Extras vs no extras - If you wear glasses, love massage or find yourself at the osteopath, physio or chiropractor on a regular basis, having extras cover as part of your private health insurance can save you quite a few dollars. For some of us, it’s simply a peace of mind solution that if we need healthcare then it won’t cost us a fortune.
  • Financial literacy of healthcare professionals - Traditionally healthcare practitioners have earned above average incomes and this can lead to a false sense of financial security as higher cash flow masks vulnerabilities.
  • Fluvax and children - The Fluvax vaccine is not approved for use in children under 5 years of age: a reminder to GPs
  • Getting hired and getting noticed at work - All healthcare practitioners should be employees of substance. How can you be recognised as a high performer and avoid red flags that could dent your prospects of that dream registrar position or senior dentist role you’ve set your sights on?
  • Give your relationships a boost - Humans are a social bunch. Even if you’re a classic introvert, you probably have several relationships that add extra value or meaning to your life. It is important to ensure that your relationships at work and at home, are healthy and supportive.
  • Hackers love health data - IT and online security is essential to ensure that you, your staff, your practice and most importantly, your patients are protected from loss or theft of data and information. Inadequate IT security may lead to significant loss including practice interruptions, financial costs and reputational impact.
  • Handling complaints - the Dos and Don'ts - The most common query MIPS receives is how to deal with patient complaints. Regrettably good doctors are not immune from complaints and they can happen at anytime. Whilst many clinico-legal presentations deal with how to avoid complaints, there is less information about what steps to take when a complaint is made. This is unfortunate as MIPS’ experience is that the manner in which a health practitioner handles a complaint when it is first made, greatly affects both the outcome and the health practitioner’s experience of the process.
  • Health records 101 - MIPS Matters article - Health records 101
  • How to future proof your business - Healthcare professionals have largely been shielded from the disruption visited upon those working in many other industries. But Mahesh Roy, National Segment Head of Healthcare at Macquarie Business Banking, says the disruption that’s agitated so many other sectors will soon impact the healthcare industry.
  • How to handle negative comments online - Seeing online negative feedback relating to you as a professional or your practice can cause significant stress and frustration, but think twice before you make any rash decisions to edit or delete. This will not be looked upon favourably.
  • How to identify a financially stable insurer - Insurer security is something that healthcare practitioners ought to consider when choosing their indemnity insurer. Some practitioners will recall the ‘calls’ that were made on members by medical defence organisations during the medical indemnity crisis of 2002.
  • How to pay less interest by consolidating two or more debts - Australia’s appetite for debt is huge. Currently, household debt is 187% of household disposable income and about 20% of middle income Australians have no room in their budget for unexpected expenses.*
  • How to: Compiling a CV - A well-presented CV creates a good first impression which is important as your potential employers will read a great number of CVs and may likely only pick a selected few to consider due to their presentation. It is possible that a template or online form will be employed, so some of these tips are redundant. That said, nowadays most hospitals or state health departments may force you to use a template or online form.
  • How to: Handle a job interview - If you’ve been asked to an interview, it is because they liked your application to some extent, so take some confidence in this fact. The first question will likely be something along the lines of “what brings you here today?” or “tell us about yourself”. Since you know this, you can prepare for it. Your answer could be one to three minutes. This is not the time to give them a long history but rather an opportunity to tell your potential employer succinctly about your relevant professional experience and the reason you’ve applied for the job.
  • How to: Retiring from healthcare practice - Preparing for retirement and knowing what steps to take in order to fulfil all your obligations to patients and colleagues can be stressful, but it can be made easier if you are well prepared. For example, in line with regulatory requirements MIPS offers run-off cover options to retiring healthcare practitioners. Run off cover helps protect you when a claim, complaint or investigation arising from your period of practise is made in your retirement.
  • How to: Surviving internships - MIPS member and MBBS DPhil Medical Officer, Gold Coast Hospital No one cares if you know the Krebs cycle. No one cares if you’ve memorised Harrison’s or can do a lap appy by yourself, although those skills will eventually prove useful. (Except for the Krebs cycle. No one in the history of the world except Krebs himself has ever been glad that they knew the Krebs cycle).
  • How we're assisting members during COVID-19 - Membership fee freeze and other assistance for members during COVID-19
  • If it's not in the notes, it didn't happen - This should be the motto by which you run your practice and as healthcare practitioners, we should be mindful of this at all times when creating patient records. If required, it will form the basis for explaining your management and it is of course much easier to refer to your contemporaneous notes than attempting to answer challenging questions in court with the words, "from my recollection". AHPRA and the coroner will not look favourably on poor quality medical records. It is an interesting exercise for each of us to refer to the most recent entries in the notes for some of our patients for example, those who have significant mental illness or who are taking long term opiates or benzodiazepines, to see if weare happy with how they would appear to the coroner.
  • Implants and informed consent - The issue of informed consent arises repetitively in dental cases, especially with implants. Frequently the key factor is not the consent process and what was or was not communicated, but what was documented in the contemporaneous clinical notes.
  • Improving your dental karma in Cambodia - Member article on working in a dental clinic in Cambodia
  • Indemnity 101 - We have outlined some of the key reasons why healthcare students may need indemnity cover. Healthcare students may be subject to a complaint, investigation or legal action as a result of their involvement in the healthcare they provide. Indemnity insurance aka malpractice insurance, medical indemnity or professional indemnity provides cover you for your acts or omissions when providing healthcare. MIPS exists to provide its members with the security and support they need through their career development. Students undertaking clinical placements are more than likely covered by their education provider, but you may still be exposed to additional risks.
  • Medevac Bill - The Bill will allow for medical evacuations from Manus Island and Nauru where doctors are of the opinion that it is necessary to evacuate a detainee from either of those islands in order to provide appropriate treatment in Australia, which the person may not other receive if he/she remains on either of those islands.
  • Indemnity pop quiz answer - Your form has been successfully submitted
  • Informed consent - The issue of informed consent arises repeatedly in dental cases. More often, the key factor is not the consent process and what was or was not communicated, but rather what was documented in the contemporaneous clinical notes.
  • Informed consent - Your obligation, your patient's right - Inadequate consent to clinical intervention has been regarded as the basis of a significant number of medical negligence claims. Are you meeting all requirements?
  • Internship: What to expect - Sally Wark graduated from Adelaide Medical School in 2017 and completed her internship at the Royal Adelaide Hospital this year, where she will commence her Basic Physician Training in 2019. As an intern working in South Australia I've learned a number of invaluable lessons this year.
  • Is it time to rethink your business structure? - Over the last three decades, corporatised practices have gained a small share of the market, but many medical professionals have preferred to keep their traditional approach to running their practices.
  • Is your cover letter sufficiently selling your skills? - A cover letter for your CV serves as a prospective employer’s first impression of you and your abilities. In the healthcare industry, your potential employer could be at a healthcare practice or at a hospital. They have busy schedules; and hiring people is just a small part of their long work day. In most cases, their time is limited, and a cover letter can make a material impression. It will also determine whether the employer continues to view your resume/CV.
  • Is your membership classification correct? - Undertaking practice not covered under your membership classification (for example level of ‘private’ billings stated) may prejudice your rights to the benefits of membership including insurance cover in the event you require assistance. To ensure that you are appropriately covered, your membership classification should accurately reflect the healthcare practice you provide.
  • Island time - An elective in Vanuatu - Student elective article to Vanuatu in Fiji.
  • It's nothing like Grey's Anatomy! - You are about to say goodbye to university and are almost ready to be an intern. But before you are eligible for general registration in Australia and New Zealand, all medical school graduates must undertake a period of approved intern training.
  • Keeping it private - The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has published a series of documents to assist private healthcare practices, such as GP clinics and dental surgeries, with specific information about how to manage their obligations under the Privacy Act.
  • Kenya - my other home - The last time I left Kenya was December 2010, when my family was being resettled in Adelaide as refugees. We had been living there for 14 years. All this time, we lacked the most basic human rights, we could not pursue higher education or get a working permit. Above all, we were never going to become Kenyan citizens. So, when I left, I was not expecting to miss it or desire to ever go back. Returning after 6 years of living a wonderful life in Australia, which was now my home, was daring.
  • Legal and privacy issues with PIP QI Incentive - MIPS is aware that many of our GP members are working in healthcare practices that participate in the Australian Government’s Practice Incentives Program (PIP). The PIP Quality Improvement (QI) Incentive commenced on 1 August 2019.
  • Legal issues arising from parents refusing to immunise children - MIPS Matters article on Strategies and skills – explaining management when treatment is refused
  • Legal tips for juniors - While you are statistically unlikely to find yourself the subject of a serious clinico-legal matter as a junior health practitioner, taking stock of a few tips can hopefully minimise the chance of such events even further. Mistakes can occur, but it’s how we react to them that can make all the difference.
  • Lessons from a final year - MIPS member and final year student Masad loves every specialty in medicine. However, she loves children and wants a career that will have a tangible impact on the world, so she’s currently choosing between paediatrics and child psychiatry. She is passionate about mental health, vaccinations and refugee health. As a student, MIPS assisted her with volunteering in Uganda through providing medical indemnity insurance and elective advice.
  • Locum indemnity - The advice MIPS provides in the first instance is straightforward: You should confirm with the hospital or agency if the position is employer indemnified. If the locum work is not employer indemnified, then you will need to obtain your own independent cover. MIPS membership includes indemnity cover that exceeds AHPRA requirements and many doctors performing locum work have MIPS membership for this reason.
  • Managing your cash flow with asset finance - Asset finance can be an efficient way to manage your cash flow by either leasing or borrowing to fund vehicles and other equipment, including the latest technology.
  • Mandatory reporting 101 - All practitioners have a professional and ethical obligation to protect and promote public health and safe healthcare and under the National Law. Health practitioners, employers and education providers have mandatory reporting responsibilities. The intention is to prevent the public being harmed or placed at risk.
  • Mandatory reporting for healthcare practitioners - The Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 has been passed by both houses of Parliament and will soon become law. This places further obligations on healthcare practitioners to report data breaches causing ‘serious harm’ to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
  • Massive fines for data breaches - As of 22 February 2018, new legislative requirements under the Federal Government’s Notifiable Breaches scheme came into effect. The aim of this was to outline new standards of accountability and transparency to protect individuals’ personal information. As a practice you have access to patient records and private information and this information must be protected.
  • Medical students working roles to assist with COVID-19 pandemic - I’m a medical student performing a role to assist with COVID-19, what insurance do I need? MIPS' free student membership classification is appropriate if you are performing a role to assist with COVID-19.
  • Medicare auditing increase and the PSR - The Department of Health has increased its random auditing process and government resources to ensure Medicare is not misused by patients or providers. Sophisticated methods for detecting inappropriate practice or incorrect claims have been developed including monitoring and comparing claim profiles and/or habits of healthcare professionals to identify inconsistencies.
  • Medicare keeping tabs on your billings - Medicare keeping tabs on your billings
  • Medicare recovers debts and issues penalties - Doctors and their employers will both be required to pay Medicare for debts from 1 July 2020. As part of significant amendments to the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth) to improve Medicare compliance, the Health Legislation Amendment (Improved Medicare Compliance and Other Measures) Bill 2018 (Cth) inserts a new section 129ACA, introducing the Shared Debt Recovery Scheme (Scheme). The Scheme commenced on 1 July 2019 but applies to Medicare benefits paid on or after 1 July 2018.
  • Medicare refuses bills of professional sportspeople's non practice - Medicare remind practitioners of professional sportspeople's non practice
  • Moderating mandatory reporting - Mandatory reporting – the focus needs to be on removing barriers to healthcare practitioners seeking help. Recent media has highlighted the high rates of suicide, depression, anxiety, substance use and self-medication throughout the healthcare profession. This is a serious ongoing concern for the profession, patients and the community and particularly the health practitioners concerned.
  • My elective placement in Tanzania - Student member Asbah Kazi tells of her experience with doing an elective placement with Work the World in Tanzania
  • Navigating asset finance - Choosing the right type of asset finance can help save you time and money to invest in growing your business. You can also reduce the risk of owning obsolete equipment and there can be various tax outcomes too.
  • New fit to fly rules for pilots - All GPs will be able to provide the certification in contrast to previous practice. Previously, doctors who certified medical fitness for pilots were required to be appointed as a Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME) by CASA.
  • No ED Registrars in Iceland - Final year medical student at the University of Tasmania (Launceston Clinical School) Just south of the Arctic Circle, Reykjavik is the most northern capital city in the world. I did my elective at the biggest hospital in Iceland, the Landspitali University Hospital, in the Department of Emergency Medicine during December 2017 between my penultimate and final years of medicine.
  • Non obstetricians conducting emergency obstetrics - Members in Emergency Medicine may be required to undertake emergency obstetric services. Members who work and have been trained in Emergency Medicine are expected to do what they can where emergency situations apply (for example obstetric emergencies). MIPS assistance in such circumstances would be considered.
  • Online or offline you are still a healthcare practitioner - Regardless of our interactions with and stance on social media, from compulsive over sharers to social media ghosts, you will be hard pressed to find yourself leading an anonymous life online as we can all be somehow inter-connected via people we may know and even through our jobs. But whatever the case may be, we can’t allow ourselves to become complacent when it comes to our professional profiles and how we may be judged online
  • Panels hearings and investigations - MIPS Matters article by Dr Margaret Daley on attending panels, hearings and investigation matters
  • Personal loan vs credit card - As most people have a credit card, this comparison helps to promote the personal loans advantages over a credit card. Importantly, this should provide an example of interest rate payment differences between a personal loan and a credit card, clearly demonstrating the superiority of a personal loan for large purchases. It is also worthwhile to point of the usefulness of a credit card for small purchases.
  • Pill testing at festivals - Practitioners considering involvement in any aspect of pill testing need to ensure the work they are doing is legal and covered by professional indemnity. Although there is some community support including from the Australian Medical Association for the introduction of pill testing on the grounds of harm reduction with calls for more testing, state governments and the federal government have resisted the introduction of pill-testing at events with only one trial to date at music festival ‘Groovin the Moo’ in Canberra in April 2018.
  • Pitfalls to avoid when buying health insurance - If you’ve done a cursory glance of health insurance in Australia then you’ll see some common options. Almost all the providers offer both hospital and hospital + extras cover as standard options. Most range from budget through to premium cover and then there are further options for single, couples and families. You’ll often be guided on websites to a limited number of products based on a few questions, then required to make a decision – so what should you look out for at this stage?
  • Potential exposure to complaints - Are you inadvertently at risk from treating patients located overseas? All members should understand their potential exposure to complaints, claims and regulatory action and their indemnity cover when either deliberately or inadvertently treating patients outside of Australia.
  • Premium Support Scheme facts - Get the basic facts regarding the government’s Premium Support Scheme
  • Premium vs budget hospital cover - Private health insurance is almost always offered in varying levels of cover which translates to cost. There are merits and risks in purchasing a product that has less cover as well as good arguments for purchasing premium cover.
  • Prescribing medicinal cannabis - MIPS has been made aware that practitioners may be prescribing, are considering prescribing or have been approached for prescriptions of medicinal cannabis. The Therapeutic Goods Administration has tightened regulations around the prescribing of medicinal cannabis, which means there are greater potential legal hazards for healthcare practitioners.
  • Prevention is better than cure - We all know the internet has revolutionised the way in which we all operate and that includes businesses and healthcare practices. From its humble beginnings in the 1980s, today the internet is used by more than 3.5 billion people worldwide, and pundits predict there will be over 20 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020. However, any revolution of this magnitude comes with its own Pandora’s box of risks and the plethora of cyber related risks are something we all know exists, but don’t fully understand how that affects us personally.
  • Privacy Principles 2014 - Article for MIPS Matters on recently released privacy principles
  • Professionalism promotes patient care - An interesting case study to show that maintaining professionalism protects both the doctor and the patient
  • Protecting your assets - personal and financial wellbeing - In times of adversity and uncertainty the things that matter to us can be greatly directly or indirectly impacted. It is important as healthcare professionals you manage your wellbeing and obligations to family and friends while protecting the community and minimising loss through these assets.
  • Providing healthcare in bushfire affected areas - Any natural disaster be it fire or flood doesn't change your indemnity cover for the healthcare you provide. All MIPS members have indemnity cover for Good Samaritan Acts and the normal requirements of healthcare and healthcare records apply for any practice you undertake.
  • Are your billings up for review? - In the last two years the Government agency that protects the Australian taxpayer from footing the bill for ‘inappropriate practice’, the Professional Servicers Review (PSR), has increased recoveries by 180%. The Government recognised the significant workload for PSR staff and increased resources allowing the PSR to focus more on fraud.
  • Raising standards of care and decision making - There is a global paucity of scientific data in relation to patient outcomes from appearance altering procedures. Validated clinical assessment and decision support tools are not available. This creates risks for both patients and surgeons
  • Reflecting on dealing with legal stuff after forty years - Associate Professor of Paediatrics UNSW, David McDonald tells of his career in the medical field and how some of the things he has learned along the way may help MIPS members .
  • Relative analgesia, sedation, general analgesia - does it matter? - dental article by Dr Gerry Clausen
  • Reset and recover - your wellbeing - Summer’s here! You've been locked away studying for your exams and now they are all over, how do you unwind? #treatyourself We all need to be reminded about what we can do to make our lives easier even if those things might sometimes seem obvious. Developing good work/life balance habits will help keep you healthy and help prevent burnout.
  • Real Time Prescription Monitoring in your state - “Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) is a computer system that aims to reduce misuse of controlled medicines in Australia. It will alert prescribers and pharmacists to a patient’s medication history before they write or dispense prescriptions for a controlled medicine.” According to health.gov.au the system was introduced to limit levels of overdose and accidental death from overprescribing.
  • SafeScript provides patient history in real time - Before issuing a prescription for a high risk medicine, a prescriber must take ‘all reasonable steps’ to check the SafeScript information for the patient for whom the high risk medicine may be prescribed or supplied.
  • Saving lives - an open letter to junior doctors - Dear junior doctors, You are only a few weeks on the wards, young and full of equal amounts of enthusiasm and trepidation. I remember clearly the mix of excitement and fear and the huge sense of pride at having completed medical school, but also a sense of embarrassment in not knowing how to do the job despite all the previous years studying. The first year really is a period of contradictions, intensity but most of all of growth and transformation.
  • Securing your ideal internship - As it gets more difficult for medical graduates to secure an internship, we want to make sure our MIPS members are adequately informed so that you have the best chance of securing a place in 2018.
  • Selecting private health hospital cover - The first thing you need to consider when choosing the right cover is to ensure it is tailored to your needs. Many health insurers now make it easier by compartmentalising their policies to help guide their customers – some funds separate policies into single, couple, family or single parent or into levels, eg bronze, silver and gold that have escalating levels of cover.
  • Self-prescribing - illegal in Victoria - In Victoria it is now illegal for a registered medical practitioner to self-prescribe any S4 or S8 medication. If you are prosecuted and found guilty, not only can you (currently) be fined up to $15,857, you may now also have a criminal conviction recorded against your name.
  • Should you trust data from fitness wearable devices? - With the increased reliance on smartphones and new technologies, people are increasingly trusting data from health and fitness wearable devices such as the FitBit and the Apple Watch. Individuals are also taking a more empowered role in their health and wellbeing and managing their fitness and health more autonomously by measuring, tracking and storing data with these non-invasive and compact devices despite the privacy risks from data collected on insecure devices. But how does this impact the healthcare professional in their practice and are you ready for the wearable revolution?
  • Sleep on it - Smart phones, iPads, laptops and all things that bleep, ping and flash for our attention are the culprits now impeding our sleep.
  • Smart time management for healthcare practitioners - Poor time management means patients are kept waiting. You get stressed. Work becomes less enjoyable. Stress builds, you lose your sense of humour and you can’t seem to find the time for family, exercise and sleep.
  • Social media dos and don'ts - It’s easy to assume that getting caught out on social media and social networking sites won’t happen to you. We have heard people say, “I’m hardly ever on Facebook”, “I only share information with friends” etc., but there are hundreds of social media sites and it’s likely you are active on a number of sites if not just one. Apart from Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, there is YouTube, Reddit, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Whatsapp and WeChat; the list goes on!
  • Sorry is not a dirty word - It takes insight to accept that we make mistakes and that we learn from them. This is something we learn as children, struggle with in adolescence and still fail to do as adults. For healthcare practitioners, accepting that we make mistakes is easy enough but it's more important to accept that you will do some harm. It takes insight to accept that we make mistakes and that we learn from them. This is something we learn as children, struggle with in adolescence and still fail to do as adults. For healthcare practitioners, accepting that we make mistakes is easy enough but it's more important to accept that you will do some harm. For healthcare practitioners, accepting that we make mistakes is easy enough but it's more important to accept that you will do some harm. It's an unpleasant reality but it's the most likely.
  • Subpoenas - a Q&A with Barry Nilsson Lawyers - When an individual is subpoenaed, they are deemed to have access or be privy to information or documents that are crucial to the judicial outcome of a case. A party to a case can request a subpoena if a person refuses or is unable of their own free will to give evidence.
  • Taking out a personal loan - The most basic question you should ask yourself before taking out a personal loan is “Do I need one?”. In general, we need to weigh up the benefits of taking on any new debt and make an informed decision before considering entering into any debt arrangement.
  • Telehealth - Beware the risks - COVID-19 has accelerated the need for telehealth services in the community and with its increased usage has exposed the risks associated with ‘distanced’ healthcare delivery. Despite the ease of access and convenience telehealth provides, the onus is still on the healthcare practitioner to deliver high quality healthcare.
  • Telehealth and the effective delivery of healthcare - With the increasing need for telehealth services in primary care, hospitals and within many specialties, some healthcare practitioners are navigating through unknown territory. This type of provision of distance care is used to ensure improved healthcare availability, cost savings and a boost to the wellbeing of the patient.
  • Test your indemnity fitness - Indemnity doesn’t have to be complex, but if you find yourself in any of these scenarios, make sure you contact MIPS before taking any action. Access to our 24/7 Clinico-Legal Support and Advice is free and an included part of a benefit of your MIPS membership.
  • TGA regulated Autologous human cell and tissue products - In December 2017, the Australian Government decided that regulation of autologous human cell and tissue products including stem cell treatments must be implemented. Stem cells have been safely and effectively used to treat disorders of the blood and immune systems but some practitioners offer unproven treatments. As a consequence, the level of regulation is being determined by risk posed to patient safety.
  • TGA regulation of HCT products has changed - The Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) updated regulations for autologous human cells and tissue (HCT) products, such as adipose-derived stem cells, came into effect on 1 July 2019. This was the culmination of a yearlong transition period to allow healthcare practitioners to implement any necessary changes to comply with the new regulatory requirements. The content of the article below is provided courtesy of the TGA and reproduced with permission.
  • The coroner and you - The role of the coroner in relation to suicide is to confirm the identity of the deceased; how the death occurred and the cause of death. In some cases the coroner may comment and make recommendations aimed at helping to prevent similar deaths from happening in the future. It is usual for the coroner to appoint a police officer to gather information on their behalf. You may receive a letter from the police requesting medical records. The coroner has a legal right to full access to medical records. If you provided care to the patient you might then receive a formal request for a legal statement. The police may be seeking statements from others involved in the care. The coroner may also seek expert medical opinion on the care as part of the investigation and the process may take several months. It is advisable a doctor requests to be listed as an ‘interested party’ as they will then be informed when conclusions are finalised.
  • The cost of repaying the PSR - The Professional Services Review Scheme is a daunting and difficult process for any healthcare practitioner. In its administration of the Scheme, PSR is responsible for reviewing and examining possible inappropriate practice by practitioners when they provide Medicare services or prescribe Government subsidised medicines under the PBS. In many cases it involves a financial recovery from the practitioner and a process that appears to be heavily weighted in favour of this outcome. This is a very real perception and not one to be ignored
  • The healthcare business’s guide to growth - Australian healthcare businesses are missing out on valuable opportunities due to a lack of capital. 646 Australian businesses surveyed via East & Partners confirmed it statistically.
  • The limits to patient confidentiality - While likely to be a rare occurrence for most medical practitioners, a question arises around your obligation to disclose information provided to you by a patient. When a patient discloses to you or you suspect they have engaged in illegal activity what can you do?
  • The mind matters - Tomorrow’s future healthcare practitioners represent a subgroup of the medical profession who are increasingly facing greater risk of poor mental health.
  • The unknown unknowns - Sheng Zhang - a MIPS dental member outlines the dilemma for new dental graduates
  • Tips on how to ask for helpful feedback - Feedback can be difficult to give and to receive. By understanding a little more about it, we can maximise the actionable and meaningful information we receive.
  • To swab or not to swab - Doctors will already be familiar with the single gene tests for inherited disorders such as BRCA mutations, however, tests sequencing far more of a person’s DNA or in fact the entire genome are becoming more common and are available to the general public. GPs are being asked to either order tests or interpret tests.
  • Top 10 IT security tips for healthcare practices - All healthcare practices deal with sensitive information and almost all store information electronically. Local GP and dental practices face similar risks as other small businesses, the repercussions may be more severe given the amount of sensitive information they hold.
  • Towards safer diagnosis - a team effort - “Diagnosis is one of the most complex and challenging tasks facing physicians. Despite our best intentions and efforts, the rate of diagnostic error in medicine is in the range of 10–15%.” The definition of a diagnostic error from a patient’s perspective is the failure to: a) establish an accurate and timely explanation of the patient’s health problem(s) or b) communicate that explanation to the patient.
  • Treating friends, family and yourself - The practice of treating friends and family is not recommended and there have been cases where it has led to disciplinary actions by the regulators including conditions placed on practitioner’s registration.
  • Understanding your credit file: Credit where credit’s due - A credit assessment refers to all the information used by a lending institution to make a credit decision. When applying for any type of loan, the lender will compile information to undertake a credit assessment.
  • Using the new MBS telehealth item numbers - Using the new MBS telehealth item numbers to care for patients from home? Here are some of the risks and limitations for medical practitioners
  • Vicarious Liability - Are you insured to work overtime? - Vicarious Liability - Are you playing by the rules?
  • Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation - The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) (the Act) comes into operation on 19 June 2019, making Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD)[1] legal in Victoria. When the legislation comes into effect in June, Victorian registered medical practitioners need to be aware of their role in the application of the Act.
  • Volunteering in Mongolia - Dr Douthwaite is a MIPS member and NSW State Leader for Scouts Australia and with MIPS' support recently accompanied scouts to the World Jamboree in Mongolia as Team Doctor.
  • Want to see change? Make it a habit - Helping people establish healthy behaviours is a practice GPs are familiar with. Habits are incredibly powerful, but can be challenging for individuals to establish – how often do you see good intentions fall down by a lack of consistent action? Whether you consider your own health behaviours or your patients’, you’ll find the same rings true: motivation will get you started, but habit is what will keep you going. As the primary point of contact for health and wellbeing for your patients, establishing your own healthy habits may help you be the best doctor that you can be.
  • What do I need to know about choosing indemnity? - An informed decision about individual indemnity needs, ensures MIPS members and prospective members understand what works best for them.
  • What to do when the Coroner calls - The threshold for making a reportable death is very high. Each coroner’s court has its own state/territory jurisdiction so what qualifies as a reportable death varies slightly in each state and territory. If you are unsure if a death is reportable, you can contact MIPS for advice.
  • Why does your Credit Score matter - Credit scores allow companies to make a quick informed decision about the likelihood of a potential customer repaying a loan or meeting monthly repayments such as on a phone or utility contract. It is not just about whether they will offer you finance, but also how much and on what terms.
  • Working in Nepal - Join Yi Wei (University of Queensland) on her elective journey through Nepal
  • Working under pressure - a legal hazard - Practicing in the public sector compared to private practice presents different stresses and challenges. For junior practitioners, in particular the former can be very stressful and they may be more vulnerable having little control over their practice.
  • Working under pressure and avoiding legal hazards - Working under pressure and avoiding legal hazards
  • Year in the life - MIPS Matters article by Stefan Vidimce on what to expect as a final year dental student