In this defamation case, a doctor published a statement slamming his competition. It was alleged that as a result of the defamation, referrals decreased for the doctor who was the target of the negative statement. The case required an expert in healthcare management who could discuss the importance of referrals to a medical practice, and could speak to the extent which defamatory statements can damage the finances of medical professionals such as hospital administrators, referring physicians, etc. The expert also needed to be versed in researching a practice’s financial information, and opine on the potential damage that the practice has suffered as a result of the defamation.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience managing finances for medical practices.
- 2. What is the importance of referrals to a medical practice financially and how can defamatory statements to a select group of referrers affect a practice?
- 3. What materials would you need to calculate financial damages?
Expert Witness Response E-107742
I have 25 years of experience as a healthcare executive, including senior business development roles forming, managing, and growing physician practices. I am board certified as a medical practice executive and a fellow of the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE). I’ve developed and instructed finance and accounting curriculum for a top-ranked graduate program in healthcare administration, and recently developed a class with a section on how to increase physician referrals.
Based on research and my experience, the community reputation of a medical practice is an important driver for patient referrals, volume, and practice revenue. Reputation, among other things, can be adversely affected by defamatory statements, and referring physicians are very influential to a practice’s business. I would be interested in purchasing state-recorded data to identify regional changes in doctor-referral volume. In previous positions, I identified why doctor referrals decreased and took steps to intervene. I interviewed referral intakers in the office, analyzed market share data, and formulated strategies to increase referrals. If by regression analysis I am able to demonstrate that referrals decreased over time after the defamatory statement was made–despite controlling for changes in insurance, patient preferences, market volume, etc–then I can easily calculate financial damages as loss of business plus interest.