Updated: Aug 15
Is your Medical Practice Protected?
The fundamental notion behind whistleblowing is pretty straightforward — to reward the people who step up to say or do the needful against unethical or fraudulent individuals, entities, or organizations.
There are two ways to look at whistleblowers:
Either with appreciation and awe of their actions
or disgust at their lack of loyalty
In any case, today nobody is immune from whistleblowers
Whistleblowing : The Trend
It isn’t wrong to call whistleblowing a trend as more and more such camouflaged entities are infiltrating organizations to “right the wrongs” and “justify the unjust,” so to speak. There have been several dramatic and often amusing theatrical cases where governmental bodies have been exposed, thanks to these unknown & “masked” individuals. In most states and countries, whistleblowing is legally protected. It is intended to prevent fraud and improve compliance with the law to ensure the public's safety.
Let’s study the Statistics of this Trend!
Let’s have a sneak peek at some of the most astonishing statistics apropos whistleblowers.
➔ Whistleblowers in the US are $4 billion richer since 1986, thanks to the US Government.
➔ A single whistleblower earned $104 million in 2012 under the IRS program.
➔ 2015 saw 1.3 internal reports for every 100 employees that complained of wrongful acts to the corporation.
With these staggering stats on display, whistleblowing is not just a trend but a phenomenon today!
Can Whistleblowing be Abused despite just intentions?
Retaliation against whistleblowers is not uncommon. It’s witnessed in all kinds of corporations and workplaces. Someone can abuse this power for self-gain. However, regardless of what the intentions are, no one wants to be the subject of whistleblowing. Once you’re under the radar, there’s no turning back. No one is immune to whistleblowing, and with the government backing their operations, there is a need to protect your back while you still have the chance!
Healthcare and Whistleblowing — A dangerous Blend
Whistleblowing is very popular in the healthcare arena, given the possibility of nasty frauds and corruption cases in this system. Healthcare is a very structured and complex system indeed. It requires all the stakeholders for the completion of teamwork. After all, it takes a village to take care of any disease. Moreover, the interaction between these stakeholders or village members is very defined and equally easy to cross.
At the same time, they are exposed to conflicts of interest and differences of opinion. Professional demeanor is vital but is oft jeopardized in such cases of heated discussions. It is also understandable that we would like to keep our community safe and provide the patients with the best care they deserve and keep bad professionals out of the game. This is where whistleblowers come into the picture!
For Government organizations, it is too expensive to monitor small entities, and obviously, they either have to promote whistleblowing or profiling, which is again a costly affair! This is why corporates are even more likely to be subjected to whistleblowing in the coming years.
Physicians are not immune to Whistleblowing!
Physicians, too, are not immune, incredibly independent physicians. Physicians have always been at the center of the liability risk. It is engraved in their job description! As mentioned above, anyone can be subjected to whistleblowing in any shape and form. Being a good doctor today is not enough!
Having amicable terms and relationships with everyone isn’t enough either! Ignorance about whistleblowing and its possible side effects can potentially ruin you in the long run. Your standing or goodwill as a physician isn’t sufficient anymore. It’s more about how the people and community surrounding you perceive you and your actions. More often than not, they might see something done by you as something of a grave error that might be hidden from you.
Whatever be the case, no one is protected from the damage whistleblowing can cause to one’s career and life, in general. Where there is big money at stake, as seen in the statistics, the Government spends a mountain of money to witness more ethical practices all around. Most people are under the wrongful impression that whistleblowing is only limited to taxes and the IRS and but the truth is, independent physicians aren’t exactly immune. Since whistleblowing has been a common practice in medical practices and healthcare alike without any discrimination, this becomes an even more challenging task for physicians to stay out of the radar. Whether it is the FDA, medical board, department of justice, or health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, no one is protected.
If you think you are Safe from Whistleblowing, think again!
How to stay out of the radar?
Most people are under the mistaken impression that they are safe from whistleblowing, but this is where they go wrong. Once you’re under the radar, it can have an astonishing effect on your career.
So how to stay Protected?
●. If you can’t beat them, join them! That’s the best way to keep your back safe.
●. You, as an independent physician, must always obey the law like everyone else. This is the safest way to keep yourself protected from unwanted attention. It is pretty easy to take shortcuts when you’re in the medical profession but before resorting to them, remember that once under the radar, you can run, but you cannot hide!
●. Be professional in your workplace and career!
●. Practice transparency in all your actions and dealings. Moreover, keep a structured practice system and keep the blinders on for anything that can be considered even borderline unethical.