by Gerald Zarlengo, MD, Chairman & CEO, COPIC Insurance Company

There is a phrase that we repeatedly tell our insureds: Contact COPIC after any major unexpected outcome or incident that could adversely affect a patient’s care. Why? Because early reporting is probably one of the most important aspects of medical liability insurance. The sooner COPIC knows, the sooner we can activate our resources and expertise for insured physicians.

  • There is no penalty for early reporting of an incident.
  • Promptly notifying COPIC of an incident allows us to consider all possible approaches for the best response and resolution.
  • Early reporting enables us to capture details while an incident is fresh in everyone’s minds; it also allows us to evaluate whether a situation is appropriate for COPIC’s 3Rs Program or the Candor process – options that provide an alternative to traditional litigation that seek to maintain the physician-patient relationship and resolve matters after an adverse outcome.
  • Reporting an incident also serves as a trigger to help determine if and how your insurance coverage may apply.

In addition to unexpected outcomes that adversely affect patients, you should report situations where litigation might occur (e.g., threats or a notice of a lawsuit, attorney requests for medical records), disciplinary or professional review actions against an insured, and data breaches and other cyber liability issues.

Here are general guidelines for reporting an incident to COPIC:

  1. Ideally, the provider involved should report the incident – we recognize that some systems may have specially trained risk managers to assist in reporting and we can accept a report from these managers on behalf of an insured.
  2. Make every effort to report within a reasonable time (usually 24 to 72 hours) after the provider or practice becomes aware of the incident.
  3. Report incidents by calling COPIC or initiating the process on our website. COPIC-insured physicians can report an incident at (720) 858-6395 during business hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.); or they can initiate the reporting process at, which will result in a follow-up call by a nurse specialist. To submit an online incident report, login to the Service Center and select “Incident Reporting.”
  4. Have the following information ready: patient identification, policy number, date(s) of service or incident, and procedure/medical services provided to include a summary of the incident.
    1. Please note that you do not need to obtain a patient’s consent – written or otherwise – to share HIPAA Protected Health Information (PHI) with COPIC in an incident report.

COPIC Medical Foundation: Submit an application for 2023 grant funding

The COPIC Medical Foundation (CMF) works to improve health care outcomes through grant funding of:

  • Programs and initiatives that improve patient safety and quality of care or through systems changes and improvements.
  • Pilot programs that are designed to reduce medical errors.
  • Development and implementation of checklists and other tools to improve disease management and transitions in care.

2023 focus area: Fragmentation across care settings

For 2023, our grant funding will continue to focus on the issue of reducing fragmentation across care settings. A top concern in the field of patient safety, breakdowns in care from a fragmented health care system can lead to readmissions, missed diagnoses, medication errors, delayed treatment, duplicative testing and procedures, and reduction in quality of care leading to general patient and provider dissatisfaction.

Funding cycle

CMF is accepting applications Nov. 1, 2022 through Jan. 14, 2023 for its 2023 cycle of grant funding.


To be considered for funding, organizations must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Approach or program has demonstrated potential for uptake or replication by the health care community.
  • Organization is designated as a 501(c)(3) organization or has an identified fiduciary.

Deadlines and applications

Grant applications are due Jan. 13, 2023, by 5 p.m. MST. Applications can be emailed to: Applicants can expect to hear from CMF regarding potential support by March 1, 2023. Download the grant requirements and application at

Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine, COPIC Comment