Jul 08

Preventing a False Malpractice Claim

middle aged male therapist consulting female patient in office

Many times in a mental health, we as professionals experience encounters with patients who perceived slights against them when in reality, there is no real threats to fear. Whether due to an inability to properly comprehend reality, or done intentionally to cause a problem, there are many documented cases of patients who file a regulatory claim against their mental or allied health care provider which does not hold water. That said, even a false malpractice claim can smear one’s professional reputation, cause a loss of trust in clients and staff, and cost a provider thousands in legal expenses to clear up.
The good news is that if a provider carries the proper liability insurance coverage, they’re likely protected, even if the claimant receives an ill-gained settlement for legal expenses. In reality, once a claim has been filed, the ability to control its course is out of your hands as a professional, and so, the advice offered here will center on preventing these claims from occurring, and how to secure proper protection for your practice.


Prevention of False Claims


Being able to prove innocence once a false malpractice claim is filed can be very difficult, if not impossible, while preventing the problem is measurably simpler and more effective. Steps for avoiding the liability nightmare of a false claim include:

  • Documentation of intentions, as a privacy agreement/patient agreement, which can be prepared internally or written by an attorney, can help to avoid a patient who claims they are being charged for services which were not provided, or that they were not informed of costs, service limitations, and confidentiality requirements from the start.
  • Keep on documenting! Every interaction with a client could prove to be important to the eventuality of a malpractice claim, should one be filed. Having accurate visit notes, including notations of any accusatory or suspicious behavior, payment compliance issues, failure to fill or take prescriptions, or threats can prove invaluable during the claim process.
  • Manage patient expectations by remaining honest and upfront with clients about their situation without giving false promises when the professional isn’t sure they can fix the problem they’re facing.
  • Know when to back off, because sometimes, a client is simply too sensitive to receive further constructive criticism. Perceived slight is enough to cause some problem clients to desire revenge by way of false accusation.
  • Notify a client when there is a problem of any kind, and document the conversation in the patient’s visit notes. If  it is necessary, report the patient using the local resources and alert emergency medical personnel if they display behaviors that concern the safety of himself or another person.

Aside from these basic avoidance, little can be done if an irrational or irate client decides to file a false claim against a mental health professional.The best way to face a malpractice claim is to remain calm, never becoming aggressive or angry with the patient. Insurance is the best way to protect a mental health professional from a malpractice claim, and following these simple steps may help to prevent the problem from escalating may help to avoid the claim being filed in the first place. CPH & Associates offers guidance about the types of coverage needed by all mental and allied health professionals. You can get more information on the services they offer this industry here.

Jun 27

Sanity Saving Coverage

middle aged female psychologist making note while patient talking

It’s no surprise that Mental Health and Allied Health professionals are among those targeted most frequently in misconduct and malpractice lawsuits. The patients that utilize mental and allied health services open up to their providers on a very personal and vulnerable level, one that exposes the professional to the every-present risk of a professional liability nightmare. As a professional in one of these industries, one must ask themselves “Am I covered in the event of a patient complaint?”

Common Complaints

The most common types of liability lawsuits filed against metal and allied health professionals include:

  • Breach of Provider/Patient Confidentiality
  • Liability for acts a patients’ acts when based on providers’ recommendations
  • Dual Relationships
  • Real or fictitious regulatory board claims by disgruntled former patients
  • Sexual harassment/Conflict of interest


Protecting Your Practice

Little can be done once a complaint is filed, especially if a provider doesn’t already carry liability insurance for their practice. If proper insurance coverage is in place, the costs of legal defense and fixing the situation will be significantly reduced or eliminated, and your business will likely survive the fallout of the situation. Without insurance, the cost of legal and medical bills, as well as loss of business due to negative publicity, could end up costing thousands, and even close a practice for good.

Any provider can learn updates to your coverage needs, including the latest industry standards, by choosing to work with a dedicated insurance agent who provides more than just policies. If they select a provider through CPH & Associates, one of the leading names in Mental/Allied Health Liability Insurance, access is granted to resources including a monthly “Avoiding Liability” newsletter, and a helpline to call for insight into potential liability claims.

Getting Covered Is Easy

CPH & Associates offers the easiest access on the web to all the insurance resources a mental or allied health professional needs. With experts available to assist with every step of the process, a provider can be matched with the liability insurance they need to feel protected, no matter what situation arises. In this field, every day is a surprise and a challenge, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for whatever comes your way. Get an instant quote here, because every appointment on your calendar is a potential liability lawsuit. Are you protected?

Jun 25

How to Identify an Emotionally Abusive Patient

Angry couple arguing

All mental and allied health care providers seek to recognize the root of their patients distress, as a means to help them maintain functional, healthy lifestyles. Often this is easier said than done, since the degree and root of emotional issues can vary greatly, and patients are often hesitant to admit when their problems are causing them to be emotionally abuse to a loved one.


Emotional abuse can occur in children and adults, and can often be described as “bullying” when juveniles are evaluated. Sometimes exhibited by those who also suffer from a psychological disorder, the indicators of emotional abuse can be present in a patient who exhibits a number of different signs. With the use of specific, proven criteria, mental health professionals can identify when emotional abuse is ongoing, even if the patient is reluctant to volunteer the information, or unaware of the wrongfulness of their actions.


Emotional abuse is defined as “any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth,” and is also commonly referred to as Psychological Abuse and/or Chronic Verbal Aggression. Emotional abuse, short or long term, can lead to depression, low self-esteem, personality changes, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts and actions. Unlike other forms of abuse, emotional abuse develops a cyclical pattern, starting with one partner who exhibits abusive behavior, many times to show dominance, but then develops internal guilt about their reprehensible actions.


The Signs of Emotional Abuse

  • Yelling and Swearing
  • Demeaning someone based on their language, race, religion, sexuality, or other trait
  • Excessive criticism
  • Threats of violence, abandonment, starvation, medical care
  • Name Calling, Insults, lies, withholding important information
  • Intimidation, blackmail, slander
  • Isolation of self or loved one
  • Humiliation, mocking
  • Denial of the abuse/blaming the victim


Abusers of this kind will almost never voluntarily recognize their degree of aggression, and often make excuses or blame their victim for their own behaviors. Once an episode of abuse is over, the abuser resumes his or her “normal” behavior and may even be generously apologetic to their victim. The abuser then resumes fantasizing about emotionally abusing their partner again, and the cycle repeats when an opportunity arises. If you recognize your patient is emotionally abusive, or the victim of emotional abuse, the situation must be immediately addressed to avoid escalation of the abuse. Recommending separation, therapy, and anger management classes can effectively help to combat your patients abuse traits, allowing them to remain in control of their actions and prevent future episodes of emotional abuse.


Jun 18

How WellFit Pros Celebrate World Yoga Day

Yogis and students, did you know that this Sunday, September 20th, 2015, is World Yoga Day? The practice of Yoga has long been touted the most universal method to attaining overall health and mental wellbeing. On Sunday, beginners and experts alike will enjoy a day which has been set aside to recognize the importance of our craft and its benefits. While there are certainly celebrations taking place worldwide, to include retreats, gatherings, and other events, taking advantage of World Yoga Day is about much more than simply coming together with other students to connect for Yoga’s sake.

Inspiring New Yogis

This is a day when a Yoga instructor must focus on spreading their gift and generating a buzz about the practice to inspire those who may not even know the child’s pose. Utilizing social media, you can create conversation and spread word of World Yoga Day to your followers, and asking them to share your post will not only help it reach a potential Yogi-to-be, but will also benefit your business. Try to create a post that inspires sharing, whether you utilize a quotation or photo that begs to be retweeted, or a contest that your students can share with their Facebook friends.  Getting your students excited about their practice will lead them to share the peace and strength they have developed with their friends and families, who will, hopefully, embrace a practice of their own in your class!

Spreading Inner Peace

So many days we drive about and never stop to recognize the struggle in the life of those who surround us. On World Yoga Day, spread the gift that your practice has bestowed on you, and commit to inspiring acts of random Yoga. Perhaps you start by creating a photo challenge for your Instagram followers, or hang a sign outside your studio that offers for curious passersby to stop in for a demonstration. Whatever you do, remember that teaching Yoga is more than a job; it’s a commitment to sharing your love of inner peace and overall health-consciousness with the world, one student at a time.

Re-focusing Your Own Practice

Use World Yoga Day for your own well-being, to re-define your goals and evaluate your personal practice. Take time to feel gratitude for the clientele and environment that’s been cultivated, and find balance in your business protocols. Part of protecting your students and your business includes ensuring you are covered in the event that a student is injured while attending your class. If you’re not sure that enough coverage is in place, CPH & Associates is currently offering immediate quotes for WellFit Professionals. Their specialized fitness liability insurance is written to fit the specific needs of wellness minded business owners and their employees. Find out what they have to offer for your Yoga practice, and remember to say “Namaste!” on World Yoga Day!

May 28

Let’s Do Bench Press!

Weightlifting, Bench Press, Health, Fitness, BeginnerA few weeks ago, we featured some information about the importance and benefits of strength training in your workout routine. We mentioned that lifting weights can help you lose, and keep off unwanted fat, help your joints become stronger and more resistant to energy, and overall, contribute to a more complete level of your own personal fitness.

However, with weight training, much as is the case with most fitness exercises, proper mechanics and proper form could mean the difference between a good workout and an accident waiting to happen. Weight training, especially with free weights such as barbells, dumbbells and kettle bells is all about proper form — after all, as you increase your workload and weight, bad habits and improper lifting techniques can magnify the stress put onto joints overcompensating for the uneven weight distribution, and eventually, lead to injury.

If you are thinking about adding weight training to your fitness routine, one of the cornerstone exercises of weightlifting is the bench press. There are a few variations of the bench press, such as the incline press, the decline press, and the military press, which is more for your shoulders than pectorals muscles.

Settling In

If you are just starting out, let’s start with the simple, flat-bench, barbell press. If you’ve never done the exercise before, make sure to use a spotter, and grab a personal trainer if possible. The bar can be a little difficult to balance for someone not used to it, even with small weights. Keep in mind that a bar with no weights does not equal to 0 pounds! Most gym “Olympic” bars weigh approximately 45 pounds, so any weight you slide onto the ends would be in addition to that. For example, a barbell with 2 25-pound weights on each side would weigh 95 pounds. Don’t be embarrassed doing a few sets with just the bar — 45 pounds is a decent weight for a beginner, and getting the form right without weights will cement the right mechanics.


This seems like the most obvious direction there is, but a surprising amount of people get this wrong — put an equal amount of weights on both sides of the bar! While most people would not intentionally rack up an uneven load, not keeping track of how much weight you put on or take off from set to set, especially in a busy gym can leave your bench press with an extra 5 or 10 on one side. So, check and double-check! Be sure to secure the weights down with a weight clamp — these can be found in pretty much any gym. Keep in mind that it is hard to balance the bar, especially for beginners, so keeping the weights secured will make sure they don’t slide off in the middle of a set, and make for quite a dangerous and, not to mention, embarrassing situation.

May 26

You May be Fit, But Are You Military-Fit?

Military, Boot Camp, Memorial Day, Health, FitnessOk, so the term “Boot Camp” is now used for a variety of non-military exercise routines at your local gyms or former warehouses converted into trendy CrossFit fitness meccas. The appeal of the workouts come from the association with an actual Boot Camp, a proverbial test of fitness, health and sheer wheel that almost all military recruits go through prior to becoming members of the military.

It is that test of will, endurance and fitness that has such an appeal among the public who sign up for those Boot Camp classes. While celebrating Memorial Day yesterday, we wanted to see how an actual military Boot Camp functions, what exercises are used, and what level of fitness must a recruit be at in order to get through the gauntlet of the US Military’s grueling physical and mental test.

Prior to going through Boot Camp, the US Military branches administer what is called the Personal Fitness Test, or PFT for short.

In order to prepare for the test, every recruit has to master the Pull-Up, The Push-Up, the Sit-Up and endurance running, primarily in form of the 1.5 to 5 mile run.


If you can do 49 push-ups in 2 minutes, 6 pull-ups, 59 sit-ups in 2 minutes, you may be on your way to admittance to Ranger school. Keep in mind, you’ll also have to complete a 2 mile run in 15:12, a 5 mile run in under 40:00, a 16 mile hike in full gear (65 lbs) and a 15 meter swim with gear.


To be admitted into the Navy’s Boot Camp, and stay in the Navy, you’ll have to pass a bi-annual test consisting of push-ups, sit-ups and a timed 1.5 mile run. The run can be substituted with a 500 meter swim.

Air Force

Want to get into the Air Force? You’ll have to brush up on your push-ups, sit-ups and a timed 2 mile run. A similar test to the Navy’s fitness test featuring push-ups, sit-ups and a timed 1.5 mile run is administered once a year for all personnel.


The Marines are tested on flexibility, strength and endurance with a test featuring push-ups, sit-ups and a timed 3 mile run. Male Marines are tested on the “dead hang” pull-up, requring that the arm be totally extended, while female Marines are tested on the “flex arm hang,” allowing to maintain a slight bend at the elbow. The test is also administered every six months.

Coast Guard

The US Coast Guard abides by the Navy PFT, with additional swimming and diving tests.

May 21

What’s the Deal With Shin Splints?

Running, Shin Splints, Pain, Recovery, HealthIf you are a runner, or play any kind of sport that involves running, there is a very good chance you’ve experienced a strange, mild-to-moderate pain in your shins the day after a heavy workout or game that persisted for a few days afterwards. Depending on the severity of the discomfort, some continue exercise, while others have to back it off or completely shut down their routine. For some, this pain appears only when there is a sizeable increase in workload, while for others, it seems to be almost constant. This very common malady among athletes and fitness enthusiasts is called the Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), and is known colloquially as Shin Splints. Let’s get right into it.


The cause of the pain comes from extra stress and fatique put on the lower tibia — that’s your “shin bone,” due to an improper point of contact of your foot to the ground. over-pronation or supination causes your ankle and foot to “roll” every time it hits the ground, thereby improperly absorbing the shock from the ground strike. With the shock from striking your foot to the ground with every step being improperly absorbed, it travels up your leg, to your tibia, putting undue stress on the bone and attached ligaments. While an exact cause of this condition is not known, the likely culprits are our shoes. From a very early age, the bones in our feet are shaped by the tight, binding shoes that we wear day in and day out. Improper, ill-fitting shoes (how many times have your parents bought you shoes to “grow into”) during our growth phase could lead to improper foot mechanics. As adults, most of the walking and running we do happens on hard surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, and, if you have a very nice office, marble. These hard surfaces do not have nearly the same give as the soft soil/ground we evolved to walk around on, thereby putting much more stress on our feet, arches and lower leg.


The treatment is fairly straightforward. If experiencing discomfort in your lower tibia, discontinue the activity, rest, and ice the area. For a more long-term solution, get into a good stretching routine to loosen up the muscles in your lower leg. The more give they have, the less fatigued they’ll get from the stress. Having the right shoes can also be of great help. Keep in mind that miles upon miles racked up in your service pair of running shoes or cleats will beat them into the improper shape your foot is enforcing, so be sure to replace worn-out shoes or cleats. When buying shoes or cleats, do some online research prior to purchasing to find out what works best for your foot and arch type. Some shoes work better for flat feet while others work better for a high arch. Good luck, and keep exercising!

May 19

So, How “Covered” Is a Personal Trainer/Instructor?

Insurance, Liability, Malpractice, Fitness, WellnessIf you work in Wellness and Fitness, chances are, Liability Insurance is not something that is on the forefront of your mind. After all, Liability Insurance is reserved for doctors in case they prescribe the wrong pill or amputate the wrong limb, and lawyers who sleep through a deposition and land their client behind bars, right? Not exactly.

Doctors and lawyers could be sued for malpractice regardless of whether they actually did something wrong or not. Lawsuits cost time and money, on both sides. Liability insurance protects the defendants from catastrophic monetary losses not just in case they are found liable, but sometimes, protects them from the process as well.

It seems that Personal Trainers and Instructors don’t have to worry about any of this. After all, the gyms, CrossFit centers and yoga studios where they train or are employed have iron-clad liability waivers they make all the members sign, along with the trillion-year membership commitment. Once again, not exactly.

In truth, these liability waivers are not as iron-clad as they seem. Most gyms employ something called a Total Liability Waiver, basically meaning that no matter what happens at the gym, regardless of negligence, fault or intentional misuse, the gym is not in any way, shape or form, liable. It sounds pretty ludicrous that such a legal document can actually exist in our legal system. US courts tend to agree — many cases involving an accident at a gym had the Total Liability Waiver thrown out, ruling that the broadness and vagueness of the waiver made it unenforceable.

Also, keep in mind that although a Personal Trainer may be working with, or even for a gym, upon the precipice of a liability lawsuit, the gym can very quickly cut ties and leave the trainer to face the full brunt of the lawsuit. After all, the gym’s liability waivers and lawyers are concerned with only one thing: protecting the gym, not the Personal Trainers. If they can prove that it was the Trainer and not the gym that should be held liable, the gym’s liability, and responsibility ends right there.

Having supplemental liability insurance is always a good idea if working in the Fitness and Wellness Industry. If gyms can prove that it is the Trainer and not them that is responsible, they will most likely take that option, and without their lawyers and liability waivers, it will be just the instructors’ burden.

May 14

WellFit: What’s Your Story? Aaron Manheimer

Wellness, Fitness, Personal Training, InterviewAs a celebration of our launch of the WellFit Wellness and Fitness Liability Insurance program, over the next months, we will be featuring Fitness Instructors, Personal Trainers, Nutritionists and many others in the Wellness and Fitness industry, and interviewing them on the rewards, challenges and motivations of their vocations. Our first interviewee is Aaron Manheimer, a Personal Trainer from Chicago, IL.


Aaron Manheimer

Business Name: Wattage

Location: Chicago, IL

Certification/Occupation:  Personal Trainer – NASM – CPT, NASM – PES, EXOS – XPS

Photo Courtesy of Neil John Burger Photography


CPH: When did you start working in the field?

AM: I started learning how to train the body in college when I started playing club rugby in 1993.


CPH: What made you decide you wanted to pursue this career path?

AM: After many desk jobs I pursued a career as a pro rugby player. When I came back to the states the last thing I wanted was to go back to sitting at a desk.


CPH: Who/what was your biggest influence when you were starting on your path?

AM: My family and friends. I never seriously considered training as a profession. I come from a family of academics, no one I knew did this for a living. However, the people close to me saw that I enjoyed and convinced me to try it.


CPH: What is your favorite aspect of your career? Figuring out what works for each person.

AM: Clients come in and usually have things that they are good at and things where they are deficient. I love creating a plan to correct those. I also enjoy learning about the different aspects of life. You learn a lot from people and you get to see people in different times of their career/life.


CPH: What do you consider to be the most challenging aspect of your career?

AM: Time management. When I was single I didn’t mind working 14 hour days. Now that I am married and about to have a family, it takes a lot of planning and creating a great team so that you can spread the workload. Owning a facility is a lot like having a second home and a second family to take care of.


CPH: What sets your practice apart from other professionals?

AM: We don’t compromise. Our facility is spotless. Someone walks in and thinks the place is brand new, even though we opened two years ago. Cleanliness is greatly valued by our clients. As strange as it seems, we really pride ourselves on that. We hold that high bar throughout everything we do here. Do it right or don’t do it at all. We do the same for our clients. We take our time with each one.


CPH: Since you’ve began working in the field, what is the strangest health fad you’ve encountered?

AM: Super slow training. They promote that you can do their workout without breaking a sweat.


CPH: Who is an athlete or fitness professional who inspires your fitness career?

AM: I am a big fan of the All Blacks Rugby Team, New Zealand’s national rugby team. They run an amazing organization and are the fittest team on the planet, have a great work ethic, and make it a point not to be egotistical. I also enjoy learning from Mark Verstegan of EXOS and Mike Boyle of MBSC. To greats in the field of training athletes.


CPH: What advice would you give someone just starting out in your field?

AM: Everyone comes into the field wanting to train athletes. Change your mindset, make all your clients athletes, from the stay-at-home mom, the middle aged computer programmer, to the grandmother of 85 years.

May 12

There Is a Diet & Exercise Plan That Works for Everyone, Right? Wrong

Diet, Exercise, HealthWe suppose we can just finish right here, but let’s elaborate. We’ve spoken many times about misconceptions in the fitness industry — this includes preconceived ideas on certain workout routines, fitness goals or diet plans, and ideas that some follow religiously that may not work for others, or may not work at all. We’ve been working hard to clarify and/or dispel some of these misconceptions. The “One Diet Fits All” and “One Exercise Plan Fits All” misconception is one of the stronger ones.

The biggest reason to understand this is so that you don’t get down on yourself when a diet and exercise plan seems to be working for everyone else, but not you. Remember, it’s not your fault, and there isn’t necessarily something wrong with you.



Everyone has that one friend or family member they secretly hate.  It seems that no matter what this friend eats, or how much of it, they never seem to gain a pound of fat… they seem to perpetually stay toned and fit despite appearing to do nothing to achieve it. They always seem to be full of energy, athleticism, and gusto… can’t help but be a tiny bit envious. This friend, or family members likely have very high metabolisms, and although very high metabolisms get rarer and rarer as the years tick, some people keep it their entire lives. It’s simply the luck of the draw, and if you follow their dieting advice (or lack thereof) you are not likely to achieve the same results.



Watch any medical drama on TV, and you are likely to turn yourself into a hypochondriac. While most of our mild health-related warning signs may not be related to some exotic strain of an exotic virus from the television show, poor health may be another factor that makes diet plans and exercise routines fail.

Consider that common phrase we all often hear: “Consult a doctor prior to…” While most of the time, it sounds like something a lawyer inserted to cover all bases, it is actually good advice. If your health is not up to par; if you have an underlying condition that has not been properly diagnosed or treated, you may actually do yourself more harm than good by getting into a strenuous exercise routine or going on an extreme diet.


So, if you feel like your diet and exercise plans are not working for you, remember that it is most likely just the wrong plan. Consult a doctor to make sure you are healthy enough, and are getting enough vitamins and nutrients to diet and exercise, and be sure to not be discouraged by the de-motivating examples naturally high-metabolism individuals.

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