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The Heart (and Bones) of Curi Insurance

Damian McHugh shares what he learned about our core value within the Curi Insurance Claims department — defending good medicine.

When I was speaking with an orthopedist and a cardiologist, the issue was contested as to which bodily organ they felt was the most important. The cardiologist bristled with pride, commenting that no other organ could survive without the heart. My osteoclast-focused friend smiled and said that he’d just put a new hip into a man with an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) and remarked that the bones of our legs and our back keep the heart off the floor. Like this ecosystem of support among the varying parts of the body, at Curi, we believe it’s vital to work together as a team to support and protect our members when they need us most.  

I recently joined an internal meeting discussing what I believe to be the heart (and bones) of Curi Insurance – our team in the Claims department. After leaving that discussion, I felt moved to share with you, our members, partners, and stakeholders, as well as my current and future colleagues, what we do, and more importantly, why we do it. 

When a doctor receives a letter from a law firm or their state medical board, they’ll often feel an immediate fear response (I can confirm this from personal experience of both). The reason for that anxiety is because, while the message may turn out to be benign in nature, they know that upon opening it, they may have their worst fears realized as they are notified of a malpractice lawsuit against them. When this happens, it’s time to call Curi. 

Once we receive the suit and coverage is verified, the cogs within the machine that is Curi Insurance begin to turn. A finely tuned engine is brought to life and begins to tick over. It will run at varying speeds, perhaps for the next 3-6 years, but this hybrid vehicle, best viewed as an armored tank, will have one single unwavering goal – to defend the practice of good medicine and support that doctor who is now squarely in the legal crosshairs.  

During that recent meeting, I had the opportunity to sit with members of the Curi claims team and be reminded by the leader of Claims that Curi Insurance simply does not settle non-meritorious cases in an attempt to save on defense costs. That statement alone was powerful and sobering for me. To have it spelled out that, contrary to so many business decisions in corporate America, our success is not measured using a green yardstick attached to an arbitrary dollar figure. If the medicine was sound, the doctor thoughtful, and the rest of the extraneous legal factors remain favorable, any Curi member will be defended with a tenacity and a fervor that are somewhat hard to comprehend for those who have not witnessed it firsthand. And I hope you never have to. 

As we approach our merger with Constellation, I am thrilled to have witnessed a direct reminder of our very raison d`être – our reason for being. A seasoned member of the Claims team reminded all present that since he joined the company in the late ‘90s, the unwavering philosophy of aggressive defense has always been our best offense, no matter the cost. 

As a physician, I was touched at the ensuing discussion and the sentiments shared by claims examiners who know firsthand how harrowing and disturbing the whole process leading up to one’s day in court can be for a doctor that first, did no harm. It’s important to remember that a bad outcome in court is not synonymous with bad medicine. Even the most objective, balanced and informed jurors can be blinded from some unavoidable societal biases when presented with devastating outcomes despite the very best of medical care. 

I’m honored beyond words to be a physician voice of Curi as we prepare to blend with the like-minded, innovative and passionate team at Constellation. Whether you’re an electrophysiologist, dermatologist or proctologist, you can each stake your claim as to the most important body part. We value all our physician owners, no matter which is their preferred organ to treat, as leaders within our communities. It remains our privilege to serve you in medicine, business and life.