The role of risk managers is simply to investigate claims, right? Not so fast. There is a lot more to this job than that. I was a member of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Managers for quite a few years and attended the New Jersey chapter meetings. I thought of risk managers as people who primarily investigated potential claims. I’ve discovered there are all other aspects associated with the job.
Role of Risk Managers Varies
The dynamic role of risk managers varies with the setting. Risk managers may look at risk financing, event and incident management, legal and general business aspects, psychological and human factors of healthcare, statistical analysis, insurance, and claims management, according to ASHRM. They may be involved in notifying regulatory agencies of an incident, and investigating the events that caused the incident.
I discovered through going to ASHRM meetings and reading ASHRM publications that there is no single way to become a risk manager. Some risk managers were nurses, but others came from law, insurance, medicine and business. There are certification programs available. Many facilities prefer to hire certified risk managers.
Who Hires Risk Managers
You may find risk managers in acute and long term care, ambulatory care, hospice, physician practices, governmental agencies, outpatient surgery, and urgent care. Some LNCs consult with facilities that have gotten into trouble and help them correct the environment which led to an incident. I worked with LNCs within LNCAcademy.com who provided that service.
Combining Independent LNC Work and Facility Risk Management
Is it possible to start an independent LNC business and then become a facility risk manager? I have been asked this question. Sure, you could do that but don’t expect to be able to keep your business. There is a high likelihood the LNC would need to choose one or the other. Imagine the potential conflicts of interest if the LNC worked with plaintiff attorneys and had cases involving the employer.
You need to choose one path. The risk manager role is appealing to many people – the investigative part of the job is important, as well as a steady paycheck and benefits. You use people and educational skills and have the opportunity to make changes that improve care. In my experience, successful risk managers know how to navigate the system and influence others. These jobs are usually scarce. It can take years for one to open up.
Listen to Valerie Lane give you an insider’s look at corporate risk management by checking out her podcast interview. Valerie was an independent LNC who joined corporate risk management for a healthcare chain.