The basic definition of disruptive practice is any behavior that is disrespectful or harmful to another person. In our healthcare facilities, this type of behavior can be dangerous and lead to harmful or deadly mistakes. Facilities treating patients have been mandated to have policies in place to prevent these disruptive behaviors from affecting the prime goal: caring for those who need it.
Healthcare facilities are required to set up guidelines about disruptive practice to include the following:
- Definition of appropriate and inappropriate behaviors.
- Process for executing and handling disruptive behaviors.
- System for reporting disruptive behavior that keeps the reporter from experiencing vengeance or abuse as a result.
- Guidelines and measures for patients and their family members witnessing or involved in the disruptive practice.
- Strategies for addressing the person with the disruptive behavior.
- Education on professional conduct for doctors and staff.
Some states offer more stringent policies dealing with freedom from the following situations:
- Sexual harassment
- Working in a dangerous environment
- Bullying and mistreatment
- Conflict of interest policy
Past disruptive practices that have caused loss
There have been many cases where either patients or employee have felt the sting of disruptive behavior.
Nieto vs. Kapoor
Dr. Kapoor was a consulting physician under contract to work in a hospital where he interacted with the staff of Latino descent. These staff members sued Dr. Kapoor for racially charged language against them such as calling Latinos “lazy” and “stupid.” These types of comments were made to the plaintiffs and about the plaintiffs. Another one of his abuses was to prevent Mexican employees from treating white patients. He also threw things at his staff and handled them physically. For his disdainful behavior, he was mandated to pay $3.750.000 to the five plaintiffs.
Mitchel & Galle vs. Winkler County, TX
Two nurses, Anne Mitchell and Vickilyn Galle sued the county when they were fired and prosecuted for reporting unethical behavior by a doctor to the medical board. Dr. Rolando Arafiles fell under the suspicion of the two nurses for inappropriate behavior when he first arrived at the hospital. Feeling that their concerns about the doctor was not given consideration, they decided to report Dr. Arafiles’ unprofessional conduct to the medical board anonymously. A patient and friend of Dr. Arafiles, the sheriff, investigated who filed the complaints by scouring computer files. When Ms. Mitchell was brought to trial, a jury decided she was not guilty of breaking the law.
The nurses were awarded $750,000 by the county. The doctor, who had many reports against him in reference to overcharging and making poor medical decisions among other things, had his license limited for three years. Furthermore, the Winkler County Memorial Hospital was fined $15, 850 by the Department of State Health Services.
Recent changes in the law to protect disruptive practices
In an effort to be proactive in preventing disruptive behavior, the Joint Commission, which accredits healthcare facilities, proposed the following additions to their prior mandate: taking an approach to reporting that doesn’t punish the reporter during an investigation, administering surveys to gauge how safe employees feel at work, and using the results of the study to plan trainings to deal with the disruptive behavior.
Ensuring that safe work practices are creating a respectful work environment isn’t just good for employees but also for the patients.
Skillacquire is a learning platform for Healthcare Professionals and we are committed towards providing Quality education to Healthcare Professionals and in the process assisting them in gaining Continuing Educational Units.
You can join our upcoming webinar on Disruptive Practitioner to learn how to to deal with such behavior. For more details, click below.