Blog | February 25, 2021 ACI hosts 2nd National Forum on COVID-19 Liability for Long-Term Care & Senior Care Providers COVID19 Demands Collaboration COVID19 Medical Record Review COVID19 Guidance Database Click here for more articles Our commitment to serving our clients in aging services includes staying abreast of current trends in claims and litigation by attending conferences such as the ACI, DRI, and Risk Legal Forum. Even during this pivotal time, conference attendance and sponsorship continue to be an integral part of our business strategy. For many industries, including ours, the traditional conference platform was upended initially with the pandemic; however, thanks to the innovative nature of our industry, we have been able to continue to disseminate relevant information in a virtual platform. This February, our Founder and President, Jean Bourgeois, attended the ACI’s 2nd National Forum on COVID-19 for Long-Term Care and Senior Care Providers. With outstanding and diverse panels, this one day event covered the many challenging issues relating to best practices for COVID claims and litigation defense, federal and state immunity protections, the threat of class actions, and current challenges in the long-term care insurance industry. Experiences at the Heart of the Pandemic Glenn Fox, Dr. Frank Illuzzii, and John Snader brought us into the heart of their organizations, describing the stark reality of the challenges they faced, the commitment of their colleagues, and the decisions they made to protect their patients, residents, and caregivers. Caroline Berdzik and Max Beach told the compelling stories of bravery by individuals working in aging services. With live video from the roaring wildfires of California to the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the analogies were profound and moving. The Shifting Landscape: Immunity and Defense Best Practices The complex issues surrounding the shifting landscape of federal and state immunity statutes were clearly explained by Olga Kats-Chalfant, Tara Clayton, Drew Graham, and Lori Semlies. Exceptional strategies to avoid the costly and intrusive defense of COVID-19 cases were shared by Dylan Braverman, Rob Marshall, and Michael Brendel. Preparing the Defense: Documentation & Communication Highlighted during the presentations were three best practices for the defense of the potential surge of COVID claims and litigation: documentation, timeline development, and collaboration with counsel. The essential first step in COVID defense preparation is collecting and memorializing the actions and response plan of an organization. Experts throughout each session recommended the following strategies: Continue to interview staff and capture stories of front-line caregivers Maintain complete and accurate medical records Capture resident / patient and family communication Log staff training and revision to company policies Document infection control policies and updates Monitor and record supply chain activities and actual experience with PPE acquisition Detail COVID testing and isolation measures The second aspect of defense preparation is the development of timelines of federal, state, and local guidance, layered on the organization’s response: what you knew, when you knew it, and what you did. [To learn more about how Excelas’ timelines are supporting our clients click here.] The final step is selecting defense representatives that are able to guide and assist in the first two recommendations of documentation and timeline development. Skilled and experienced partners with the tools to perform these best practices, capture and organize the most impactful information once, and make that information available for all cases if and when the onslaught of litigation occurs. The Benefits of Working Together Our leadership has been providing best-in-class solutions for the aging services industry for decades. The industry’s ability to pivot, communicate, and unite has never been as profound as it has been over the past 11 months. The collaboration of defense and regulatory attorneys, the insurance industry, aging services providers, and consultants continues to inspire us. This is a time that we are proud and grateful to be an active participant in the development of meaningful, timely, and cost-saving solutions for those we serve and support. As the conversation continues around the most critical issues, we are confident that our willingness to educate, align, and share will enable us to successfully navigate the storm of pandemic implications that lie ahead.