The PRMS Blog

Guest Blog: New York County Psychiatric Society Meet & Greet

As a part of PRMS’ partnership with NYCPS, Executive Director Meagan O’Toole is a featured author on the PRMS Blog this month!

Do you know which of your colleagues went to medical school out-of-state? Who plays an instrument?  Or who speaks multiple languages? Could you spot the World Record holder in the room? You can learn the answers to all of the “important” questions while earning a chance to win a new iPad mini and other fun prizes!

The 2016 New York County Psychiatric Society Meet & Greet is back September 8th at the Boat Basin Café in Manhattan. The annual event has become a staple of the New York City psychiatry scene, with over 100 psychiatrists attending last year to meet new colleagues and socialize with old friends while admiring the beautiful views of the Hudson River.

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Attendees enjoying the BBQ and a Hudson River sunset

The event, one of NYCPS’ most popular every year, is sponsored by PRMS, manager of a medical malpractice professional liability insurance program for psychiatrists. The informal mix and mingling was kicked up a notch two years ago when a bingo-like game was added to the evening. The game has proven to be a big hit, encouraging attendees to get to know more about each other and NYCPS, while allowing everyone to show a bit of their competitive sides (a free iPad is on the line after all) in a fun and casual atmosphere.

But the best thing about the event? NYCPS President Dr. Daniel Safin says it is “the sense of community and camaraderie that is present.” He adds that it is the perfect opportunity to catch up with colleagues who work in different clinical settings and to “get a sense of what is going well and where the challenges are in our field.”

Dr. Jose Vito (center) says his favorite part of the event is catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

Dr. Jose Vito (center) says his favorite part of the event is catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

For people new to the field or new to the area, the event is a great introduction to the NYC psychiatric community. With thousands of psychiatrists working in Manhattan alone, it can be difficult to meet people in other specialties or overwhelming for residents to network with psychiatrists outside of their programs. As Dr. Jose Vito, Immediate Past President of NYCPS, points out, “attending the event is a great way to network and meet mentors for residents and doctors at all stages of their careers.”

Thanks to the PRMS sponsorship, this event is free for all NYCPS members and just $10 for APA members of other District Branches. For more information, or to register to attend, you can click here. We look forward to seeing you on September 8th!

Meagan O’Toole has served as the Executive Director of NYCPS since 2013.

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PRMS Helps Future Psychiatrists Understand Risks Down the Road

Psychiatry is one of the most rewarding fields in medicine, but psychiatrists face a myriad of liability risks, especially relating to issues such as telepsychiatry, suicidal patients, medication issues, use of social media, electronic health records and more. Unfortunately, risk management strategies related to these topics are not often formally addressed during residency training.

While the potential for liability is one of the more stressful aspects of today’s psychiatric practice, psychiatrists in training can learn ways to improve patient safety and steer clear of malpractice claims by attending the PRMS Residents’ Education Program (PREP®), a program which offers a critical overview of risk management practices.

PRMS offers PREP® free of charge to groups of residents and fellows. Just what makes the program so unique? As a leader in proactive risk management, PRMS has extensive experience handling claims against psychiatrists and fielding calls on the risk management helpline. That unique body of knowledge can go a long way to help our insured clients lessen the risk of having an adverse patient outcome or being sued.

During the past 30 years, PRMS has managed more lawsuits, claims and potential claims against psychiatrists than any other professional liability insurance program in the United States. According to the most recent data from PRMS claims on lawsuits closed in 2015, incorrect treatment was the most identifiable cause of loss for psychiatrists (35% of cases), followed by medication issues (19%) and suicide/attempted suicide (15%).

Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD, states, “The PREP® program was developed to meet needs expressed by residency training directors. PRMS has provided the well-received PREP® courses to residency and fellowship programs across the country for 15 years, and our staff is often asked back yearly by training directors and attendees. PREP® program content supports ACGME core competencies relating specifically to system-based practice and interpersonal and communication skills.”

PRMS recognizes that the job of psychiatrists and these emerging practitioners could not be more important. Most Americans say untreated mental health has a significant impact on the United States economy, according to a poll released by the American Psychiatric Association in May. The poll also found that nearly one in five respondents has personally sought care from a mental health professional, and three in 10 know a family member who has sought care.

To provide insight into the intersection of psychiatry and the law, PREP® faculty include three seasoned PRMS risk managers: Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD, Vice President of Risk Management; David Cash, JD, LLM, Assistant Vice President of Risk Management; and Ann McNary, JD, Senior Risk Manager.

PREP® is designed to run about 90 minutes, but its format is flexible and can be modified to suit various timeframes and audience sizes. It can be presented as a stand-alone seminar or Grand Rounds.

Interested in incorporating PREP® courses in your residency training programs? To learn more or to schedule your free PREP® session, call Donna Vanderpool, MBA, JD at (703) 907-3895 or email

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Refer a Colleague: Doubling Donations Through July

We are constantly humbled by the number of psychiatrists that refer and recommend PRMS to their colleagues. In fact, our number one source of new business comes from referrals.  As a token of our appreciation, we developed our “Refer a Colleague” program to give back and support mental health. For every referral received, we provide a donation to state psychiatric associations, NAMI or national specialty psychiatric associations.

We recently expanded our referral program to include an online portal to make referring a colleague even easier. After creating an account and identifying the organization you would like our donation to go to, you can then share your personalized link with your colleagues. Your link will direct your colleague to an information request form to learn more about PRMS. No purchase is necessary.

In further appreciation for the referrals made through the online portal, all donations provided by PRMS will be doubled through July 31, 2016.

Visit to create and share your personalized link and start earning donations for the organization of your choice.

Your privacy is our priority. Information provided by you and your referral will not be shared or sold with third-parties.

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The PRMS Enhanced Policy Protects You From Emerging Risks

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Does your medical professional liability insurance policy provide coverage for all risks associated with your practice?

The practice of psychiatry is constantly evolving, causing an increase in liability risks.  Recent state mandates for physicians to use electronic health records or electronic prescribing, and the more frequent use of telemedicine as a method of treatment, are some examples of the emerging issues. Additionally, state licensing board complaints are escalating; HIPAA investigations are in the headlines regularly and a privacy breach notification means additional business expense for the practice.  As the Chief Underwriting Officer at PRMS, I analyze the probability of claims and collaborate with the risk management and claims staff to assure the professional liability insurance policy provides comprehensive coverage and appropriate limits to protect the psychiatrists’ professional reputation and career.

In April of 2016, PRMS enhanced the policy to include additional coverages and increased limits at no additional cost.  Our data show that psychiatrists are more likely to face a licensing board administrative proceeding than a malpractice lawsuit.  According to Jean Bates, PRMS Senior Vice President of Claims, the claims range from “failure to report an address change” and “insensitivity to a patient’s needs” to allegations of “fraudulent billing” and “inappropriate prescribing of pain killers.”  Licensing boards have a significant impact on the psychiatrist’s professional reputation and career.  If you receive a license complaint, contact your insurance carrier to find out if you have administrative defense coverage.   PRMS is committed to protecting your professional reputation and career, thus we increased the limit for license defense to $150,000, which we believe is the highest limit available in the market at no additional cost.

Additionally, studies show that violence by patients against psychiatrists is more common than against other physicians.  Our new assault coverage limit of $30,000 pays for expenses related to treating your emotional distress, bodily injury and damage to property.

Other additional coverages provided at no further cost include:

  • A separate HIPAA defense limit of $50,000 that will pay fines and penalties (where allowed by law)
  • A separate Medicare/Medicaid defense limit of $25,000
  • Data Breach Expenses coverage of $30,000 to cover the related costs, such as hiring a public relations firm, notifying patients and patient credit monitoring
  • Practice Interruption coverage with a limit of $2,500 for an unexpected closure of your practice
  • $150,000 liability limit for fire damage
  • $100,000 limit for medical payments due to a patient’s bodily injury caused on your premises


The enhanced policy is admitted and approved by the insurance regulators in 33 states and the District of Columbia and pending approval in all others.  Follow us on LinkedIn to find out if the PRMS policy has been approved in your state!

I encourage you to review your current insurance program to ensure that it fully protects you and your practice, and that professionals who understand the emerging risks of psychiatric practice manage the program.  While I hope that our clients are never in need of these coverages, they can take comfort in knowing that PRMS will be there for them and their practices.

For more information regarding PRMS and the enhanced policy please visit, or call us at (800) 245-3333.

Click here for a full list of features and benefits of The Psychiatrists’ Program.

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Recognizing Mental Health Month and the Importance of Mental Health Foundations

As Mental Health Month draws to a close, it is important to collectively reflect on the significance of mental health. At PRMS, we think it is also the perfect time to highlight the mental health foundations PRMS contributes to and the important work they are doing to promote mental health.

But first, a little more about Mental Health Month. Since 1949, Mental Health America (MHA) and its affiliates have led the charge in observance of Mental Health Month.  MHA has worked tirelessly to raise awareness among millions of people through various outlets, and continuously seeks new organizations to help spread knowledge of the importance of mental health.

This year’s theme is “Life with a Mental Illness.” The MHA is asking individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like in words, pictures and video by tagging their social media posts on sites like Twitter and Instagram with #mentalillnessfeelslike, or by submitting an anonymous post with images and/or text to the MHAPosts, which will be displayed at

Here is a look at some of the foundations PRMS has helped and the work they are doing:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). PRMS has been a supporter of NAMIWalks and the dedicated cadre of mental health providers who take part. In May, we supported two New York City region teams, by making a donation to each. They included “The Bronxters,” from the Bronx District Branch of the APA and “GLIPS,” from the Greater Long Island Psychiatric Society. Combined, they raised more than $6,700 for NAMI, which provides free support, education and advocacy programs for individuals with mental illness and their families.

Kentucky Psychiatric Medical Association Foundation. In 2016, PRMS continued its ongoing support with another donation. The group recently expanded its “When Not to Keep a Secret Essay Contest,” which is designed to show Kentucky high school students that it is okay and sometimes even necessary to tell someone when they overhear dangerous or destructive talk about the results of depression and teen suicide. The Foundation also provides outreach and training grants and helped produce a DVD to recognize a potentially impaired physician.

Minnesota Mental Health Community Foundation – Minnesota Psychiatric Society. PRMS also continued its ongoing support of this group with a donation planned in 2016. While the Foundation is just a few years old, projects include scholarship funds for students pursuing mental health careers, an oral history project documenting the evolution of psychiatry in the state, a television series on depression, and a web-based tool to help find mental health providers.

Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Foundation (OPPF) – Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association. In 2016, PRMS again continued its support of this group with a donation. The Foundation’s “Consider Psychiatry” campaign is designed to recruit more medical students to the field. The Foundation is partnering with Ohio medical schools and psychiatry departments to mentor and financially support medical students during electives so they can gain exposure to psychiatry. It also provides annual awards to the media who educate the public about mental illnesses and to Ohio medical students, psychiatry residents, and members for research and publishing.

You can help support these or other groups. Through PRMS’ Refer a Colleague program, if you refer a psychiatrist or behavioral healthcare group practice to PRMS, we will make a donation to your designated state psychiatric association, NAMI or national specialty psychiatric association.  For more information, visit:


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