Election risk management for medical practices

October 27, 2020
Ike Devji, JD

Asset protection and risk management for medical practice owners is becoming increasingly broad in scope due to both internal and external risks. The 2020 election, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, adds layers to this complexity in areas ranging from physical security to employment law.

November third brings us the most contentious election in many voter’s lifetimes. These are some of the non-medical risks medical practice managers and owners should consider today.

Asset protection and risk management for medical practice owners is becoming increasingly broad in scope due to both internal and external risks. The 2020 election, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, adds layers to his complexity in areas ranging from physical security to employment law. We have covered some of these issues before in significant detail, although perhaps not in this specific context, and provide a checklist of specific issues and risks to evaluate now.

Incidental Physical Risk: Geography

City location: Some risks may be completely incidental to your practice but may affect you (and your family) based on issues ranging from your physical proximity to sites of potential conflict like a polling place, hospital, government building, or any other site that may be considered to be politically charged. This risk can happen anywhere, but obviously varies from city to city, so take local factors into account. Consider seeking guidance on security issues, traffic and road closures, and any recommended precautions or warnings from local authorities, law enforcement, and others that may affect the operation of your business (including simple street access) or the safety of your staff and patients.

State, City: As jarring as it is to have to say this about the U.S. for first time in most of our lifetimes, at least ten states are at elevated risk for militia-related political violence before, on, and after election day. According to one of the many reports I’ve reviewed on this issue recently, there are ten states where authorities are on high alert. Practice leaders in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Oregon should be on high alert. The report also states that North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, California, and New Mexico are at an elevated riskof violence and other disruptions.

Conspiracy Theories Directly Targeting Healthcare Professionals

A wide variety of outlandish disinformation and conspiracy theories are being promoted across social media. Unfortunately, some of it specifically targets medical professionals, hospitals, and the healthcare industry, creating a physical security risk for both people and facilities. While all medical professionals should exercise caution and increased situational awareness, those with high profiles in their profession, those who are frontline caregivers, those who are easily identifiable as doctors or nurses (scrubs, ID cards, etc. outside a practice setting) and those visible and vocal on social media should be extra careful. 

Just a few of the many fantastic tales that could make providers a target include:

  • Medical professionals are falsely inflating COVID19 cases and death reporting for a huge payday and political purposes. “There are no full hospitals or ER rooms”.
  • COVID-19 is a complete hoax that is being perpetrated on America to derail the economy and one candidate with the help of the medical industry
  • The virus is real, but some doctors are hiding the real cures and treatments and silencing the doctorssharing miracle cures that people should be using

Other Issues to Consider In the Context of the Election

  1. Consider the physical security of your medical practice and any short term on long term changes you need to make
  2. Examine the adequacy (or existence) of your firearms related risk management policies regarding both patient and third-party possession of firearms in your facility and your internal firearms policy for staff
  3. Review your business loss and liability insurance coverage in all areas including your potential need for specialized coverage for acts of violence
  4. Understand the legal regulation of any last minute campaign contributions, and those involving your practice in particular
  5. Be prepared to manage additional, politically motivated aggression and frivolous arguments to be made by those that may be triggered by your office safety, screening and mask policies. Train staff to reduce conflict by having and enforcing an effective mask policy and procedures
  6. Manage employment law risks carefully, especially for the next 30 days. Lead by example, have a plan and rules in place to manage any conflict between employees, and do not tie any aspect of an employment relationship to any political issue or allow harassment or discrimination of staff members by each other. Finally, keep an eye out for potentially inappropriate political displays and memorabilia, speech and apparel including Halloween costumes.

About the Author

Ike Devji, JD, has practiced law exclusively in the areas of asset protection, risk management and wealth preservation for the last 16 years. He helps protect a national client base with more than $5 billion in personal assets, including several thousand physicians. He is a contributing author to multiple books for physicians and a frequent medical conference speaker and CME presenter. Learn more at www.ProAssetProtection.com.