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By Diane Doherty
Senior Vice President, Healthcare Risk Management

Healthcare risk managers are in the business of anticipating future events and crafting response measures to mitigate potential loss. While no amount of advance planning could have predicted the full impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, risk managers were born for the moment and the challenges it presented.

Through a learned ability to distill the complex, communicate imperatives, and negotiate impasses, risk managers have been an integral part in assisting healthcare facilities swiftly adjust their clinical and operational processes throughout the pandemic. This Healthcare Risk Management Week, we want to take a moment to thank risk managers for the essential ways they proved invaluable during the pandemic.

Leading from the Front
In times of crisis, healthcare workers crave compassionate leadership. At the height of surge conditions, risk managers could often be found standing next to front-line providers, helping to locate and dispense high-demand PPE supplies, simplifying infection control directives for inundated and fatigued staff, and reinforcing safe testing parameters at the point of patient intake. Through these and numerous other demonstrations of hands-on support, risk mangers kept vigil at the front line, underscoring the importance of humble leadership and the power of communal activities during extraordinary times.

Innovating Solutions
The COVID-19 pandemic has been marked by the near-constant issuance of new and updated federal, state, and local regulatory requirements. Risk managers were called upon to redesign protocols and processes at breakneck speed to ensure compliance with the mandate tsunami. By prioritizing objectives, articulating clear expectations, and focusing on lean directives, they created efficient solutions to everyday hurdles – solutions that could be easily comprehended and quickly assimilated into clinical practice. 

Collaborating in Rapid Fashion
The ability to solve problems in the moment is a core leadership skill. In fact, few risk managers – if any – had the luxury of responding to emerging pandemic exposures through standard risk assessment channels. Instead, it became imperative for them to pull together agile response teams comprising key stakeholders who could quickly collaborate and resolve the latest dilemma – often within a timeframe of 30 minutes or less. Such rapid-cycle improvements succeeded in no small part because of the risk manager’s ability to articulate a problem, convene the necessary decision-makers, delegate the required actions, and convey confidence in the outcome potential.

Advocating for Safety
Despite long and arduous work conditions that were often punctuated by chaos and fear, risk managers never lost sight of the staff and patients they serve to protect. When unprecedented demands were met with skepticism and doubt, they remained unwaveringly committed to the principle that safety is never worth compromising.

Join us at Chubb in saluting healthcare risk managers for a job well done!

Chubb is the marketing name used to refer to subsidiaries of Chubb Limited providing insurance and related services. For a list of these subsidiaries, please visit our website at Insurance provided by ACE American Insurance Company and its U.S. based Chubb underwriting company affiliates.  This document is advisory in nature and is offered as a resource to be used together with your professional insurance advisors in maintaining a loss prevention program. No liabilities or warranties are assumed or provided by the information contained in this document.