The PRMS Blog

The Life of PRMS: Kathi Heagerty, Litigation Specialist

Imagine having a job you love, colleagues and clients that you enjoy working with, and a company that you are proud to work for…that is how I feel about my job at PRMS.  I joined PRMS in 2010 as a Risk Manager which allowed me to help our clients manage their professional liability risks and provided me with a solid background on the varied and numerous situations they face.  As a Litigation Specialist, I employ my nursing and legal skills to manage claims in 11 states.  I am constantly challenged in my work which I enjoy.  I value the relationships I’ve established with the clients I work with and have so much respect for the difficult work that they do in caring for the mentally ill.  I consider myself very fortunate to work with colleagues across all departments who are kind, smart, caring, and fun.  Does this all sound too good to be true?  Well, it’s not.  I admit that I am lucky to work for a company that values its employees and always goes the extra mile for its clients…it doesn’t get much better than this!

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The Life of PRMS: Victoria Johnson, Senior Agency Accountant, Finance

Twenty-two years ago, I was ready for a career change.  In order for that career change to take place, I decided to try my luck and go to a temporary placement agency.  Who would have guessed that this would have been one of the best career decisions that I could have made at that time?

The agency placed me with an assignment at PRMS to be the front desk receptionist.  The assignment was supposed to be for one day only.  The one-day assignment turned into a week and then a month.  After the first month, I was asked if I could stay on indefinitely – little did I know that PRMS meant that to heart! 

At PRMS, the path is always open for growth.  A year later, I was promoted from a receptionist position to that of Accounts Payable Clerk and as I learned new responsibilities successfully, I was promoted to Accountant I, II and then III!  Today I am the Senior Agency Accountant in the Finance Department.

With the encouragement of PRMS, during my tenure here I have obtained an accounting degree and have had the opportunity to work side-by-side with many experienced accountants and insurance professionals learning about both finance and insurance at every step of the way.

Now, 22 years later, I can honestly say that I am still overjoyed to be part of the PRMS team!


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Now Is the Perfect Time to Join Senior Psychiatrists

If you are a senior psychiatrist and lifetime member of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) looking to mentor younger psychiatrists or to just stay involved with the field and colleagues, now’s the perfect time to join Senior Psychiatrists, Inc. In a move designed to help grow its membership and raise its visibility, the group recently eliminated its annual membership fee. The change was made possible because of sponsorship by Professional Risk Management Services, Inc. (PRMS).

“Our mission is to represent the 9,000 senior members of APA who are Life Members, Life Fellows, and Distinguished Life Fellows,” says Senior Psychiatrists President Jack W. Bonner, MD, a retired psychiatrist from Greenville, SC. “We are fortunate that PRMS has partnered with us in the past and has now chosen to fund us in a way that allows us to hopefully increase our membership.”

Senior Psychiatrists, founded in 2012, is an outgrowth of the APA “Lifers,” a group previously managed by the APA Foundation. It is now an allied organization to the APA and has representation in the APA Assembly. The group mentors early career psychiatrists and residents, publishes an e-magazine and provides talks and webinars to help psychiatrists in the later stages of their careers navigate challenges as they and their practices age. The group has about 300 members.

“We hope to represent a larger group of psychiatrists and to have more influence and be able to do more,” said Pat Troy, Executive Director. “Many of these doctors are past leaders in the APA and enjoy being engaged and helping each other through the various transitions. They recognize that there is some obligation to take care of those within the profession at all stages.”

In the past, Senior Psychiatrists has presented talks covering issues such as how long a psychiatrist should keep practicing and what other occupations they might enjoy if they worked fewer hours. In July, the group presented a webinar featuring Ann McNary, JD, Senior Risk Manager at PRMS, on how to properly close a practice – both upon retirement and in the event of an emergency – while minimizing stress on the psychiatrist, family, staff and patients.

In May, about 70 Senior Psychiatrists members gathered at the APA Annual Meeting in San Diego. There, the 2017 Harold E. Berson, MD Award was presented to Steven S. Sharfstein, MD, MPA. This award is presented to an APA member or fellow who has made major contributions to American psychiatry. Sharfstein recently retired as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Sheppard Pratt Health System and has served the APA in many capacities; including as medical director from 1983 to 1986, chair of the Committee on Managed Care from 1990 to 1993, and as president from 2005 to 2006.

Another high point in San Diego was the screening of an inspiring feature-length documentary titled “Art of Storytelling: The Human Experience of Being a Psychiatrist,” as told by three generations of psychiatrists in Southern California. The project was conceived by the Art of Psychiatric Medicine Committee – a committee of the Southern California Psychiatric Society. The film highlights the lives and work of 12 Los Angeles-area psychiatrists, and features interviews with these psychiatrists including Senior Psychiatrists Secretary Maria T. Lymberis, MD, a clinical and forensic psychiatrist who is an honorary clinical professor of psychiatry at the Geffen UCLA School of Medicine.

In the film, Lymberis reflects on being a psychiatrist: “It isn’t just what you have suffered or what you are now suffering. But it is what strengths do you have. That makes a difference.” The film’s director, members of the Committee and representatives from the Southern California Psychiatric Society and PRMS joined the Senior Psychiatrists for the screening. Watch the film trailer here.

Senior Psychiatrists recently worked with PRMS to launch a program to mentor medical students from the American Medical Student Association, many of whom have not yet chosen their field of study. Melanie Smith, Senior Vice President of Client Relations for PRMS, noted that PRMS insures many practitioners who either are current members of Senior Psychiatrists or would benefit by joining the ranks.

“Senior Psychiatrists is a valuable organization that’s poised for growth,” Smith said. “We hope this new membership model will help even more physicians stay connected in ways that will help them in their careers and beyond.” Smith added that anyone considering practicing 20 hours per week or less can get up to 60% off malpractice insurance premiums with PRMS. And if a doctor refers a fellow psychiatrist or group practice to PRMS at, PRMS will make a donation to the psychiatric organization of their choice, such as Senior Psychiatrists.

To maintain its dues-free status, the group also hopes to get contributions from members and to encourage continued corporate sponsorship. This fall, Senior Psychiatrists will launch an annual giving campaign. But you don’t have to wait. For more information about making a tax-deductible donation or joining Senior Psychiatrists, email, call (443) 597-0066 or visit



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The Life of PRMS: Denny Rodriguez, Vice President, Claims

For almost 20 years, it has been an honor to defend psychiatrists, psychiatry and the practice of medicine through my claims work at PRMS.

I am proud to be a part of a team that looks at what it does as “more than an insurance policy.” When other insurance carriers less experienced in psychiatry would exclude things like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or telepsychiatry, PRMS choose to automatically include program coverage for such practices as they were and are a part of psychiatric practice.  So, if it is part of psychiatry, then we try to ensure that we are covering it because it is psychiatry.

As if the opportunity to help change and shape medical malpractice insurance were not enough, it is really the PRMS staff that make it worthwhile to be here every day.  We are truly a collegial group that leverages the strengths of a former ER Nurse Manager, an EMT, a paramedic,  attorneys, risk managers, insurance finance experts and insurance professionals.  I am truly grateful to have the camaraderie, intellectual challenge and claims handling discipline of our team to help achieve the best legal and claim solutions for our clients. I also am truly grateful to work with all of the talented professionals throughout PRMS.

And finally, I am proud to work with the great physician psychiatrists and their staff who we call our clients.  I cannot possibly imagine treating people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dissociative identity disorder or personality disorder, to name a few.  So, I am grateful, humbled and proud to help support our clients that work so hard to help make our community better through psychiatry.

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The Life of PRMS: Rich Stagnato, Account Manager

My first experience with PRMS is when I called to schedule a job interview.  The human resource manager was not available so Victoria Chevalier, one of the agents, bent over backwards to make sure that I met the team.  Victoria did not have to take the call but she wanted to assist me.  This positive experience left me with a great impression and I knew I wanted to work with this supportive group of people.

After I joined PRMS, I saw firsthand how truly helpful my colleagues are.  Our claims examiners not only defend lawsuits, they defend psychiatrists’ reputations.  Also, our risk managers thrive on sharing their expertise to reduce liability risk, thereby allowing our psychiatrists to sleep better at night.  Finally, my fellow agents and I make sure our clients have a policy we would want for ourselves if we were in practice. 

We are committed to helping psychiatrists and have never rested on our “laurels,” never taking for granted the opportunity to serve our clients.  I see how our program has expanded and changed over the decades to best meet new practice parameters as well as the challenges and trends in the practice of psychiatry.  In recent years, for example, we further enhanced the policy to cover changing risks, offer more access to CMEs, provide 24/7 access to insurance certificates, send timely alerts and allow convenient ways for a doctor to change practice locations.

Several years after I joined the company, I decided to leave for a new opportunity to work for another medical professional liability insurance company insuring all physician specialties.  It was interesting work and they had a nice team, but it was just not the same.  Psychiatrists are unique in their compassion for patients. And I missed the PRMS team thus I should not have been surprised when I rejoined PRMS a year later. 

And I never looked back. 

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