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

Navigating the complexities of health care can be a daunting task. In addition to the medial aspects of patient care, physicians and practice administrators have to manage ever-changing legal, regulatory, and business environments. That is why COPIC has invested in support that includes direct access to a team of experts – physician risk managers, attorneys, and HR professionals who understand the challenges in health care and can provide trusted guidance.

The underlying principle is that we want our insureds to be able to talk to “the right person with the right knowledge” when they encounter uncertainty. And if a situation is multifaceted and requires a mix of expertise, our physicians, attorneys, and other professionals work closely together to review the details and provide answers. For example, we help insureds understand how changes to Colorado Medical Board Rule 400 impact supervision requirements for physician assistants, the steps to take to maintain legal protections under the Colorado Professional Review Act, and what medical record considerations need attention with the ONC’s new Cures Act information blocking rules.

We believe the best medical liability insurance provides a sense of assurance in those moments when you need it most. Here are three ways to “call COPIC” for expert guidance:

24/7 Risk Management Urgent, After Hours Hotline 866.274.7511

Some events are rare in a physician’s career, like missing an acute condition on an x-ray or having a serious medication error, but these are common to COPIC and we know what to do. We provide our policyholders with after-hours access to an experienced physician for urgent, real-time risk management guidance as well as a safe sounding board for your situation. Some examples of situations that our physicians have fielded include:

  • The DEA just showed up at my office demanding to the see the records for several of my patients
  • I just found out that my patient has lung cancer, and looking back at an admission CT from 9 months ago, there was an incidental finding that I didn’t see or follow up on
  • The separated husband of my patient is calling my staff repeatedly making threats to our staff about our care

During normal business hours, you can reach our Patient Safety and Risk Management team by calling 720.858.6396.

Legal Helpline  720.858.6030

Staffed by COPIC’s attorneys, our Legal Helpline is available to answer regulatory, legal, and business compliance questions. Each year, we field hundreds of calls to help navigate questions such as:

  • What should we do with a patient who is angry and posted something nasty on social media?
  • We have a new PA starting on Monday. Which tasks can be delegated?
  • The daughter of a deceased patient is requesting her mother’s medical records, however she’s not on the patient’s HIPAA form, and is not otherwise authorized. Can you provide guidance and documentation for how to handle this?

Human Resources Helpline 844.208.4680

Health care comes with its own unique human resources challenges and our HR experts can help with complex employee situations. Here are some examples of recent calls we’ve counseled our policyholders about:

  • Can I require my employees to be vaccinated and request a copy of their vaccination?
  • Our practice does not have a formal maternity/paternity leave. Are we required to comply with FMLA? What options should we consider?
  • We are struggling with how to transition our employees back to the office as many have worked remotely this past year. Are we required to allow all staff to work remotely?


Within Normal Limits: Navigating Medical Risks – hosted by Eric Zacharias, MD, an internal medicine doctor and COPIC’s Director of Education of Patient Safety and Risk Management – now has 25 episodes available. Each episode is around 20-30 minutes and features a discussion with physician leaders and/or medical experts that offers insights to improve care and avoid medical liability issues. Examples of episode topics include:

  • Medication Errors: The Potential Side Effects and Risks of Prescribing
  • Nonverbal Communication: How Your Body Talks and What Patients Hear
  • With Power Comes Responsibility—Ethical and Legal Issues That Physicians Face

Within Normal Limits is available on popular platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon. You can also go to for more information.

Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine