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CNA Blog — From the Experts

Published Friday, March 5, 2021

COVID-19 Recovery: 8 Types of Risks to Healthcare Organizations

When will the coronavirus pandemic end and recovery begin? Will day-to-day activities resume as before or will a new “normal” be revealed? As healthcare organizations seek to answer these critical questions, risk managers play a critical role in helping to evaluate COVID-related risk exposures and plan for the recovery process.


By closely monitoring subtle changes across the recovery landscape and applying principles of AHSRM’s enterprise risk management (ERM) initiative to response planning efforts, risk managers are uniquely positioned as a resource in providing guidance on how to contain and control the ramifications of COVID-19. Risk managers also may serve as change agents, assisting healthcare organizations in identifying opportunities for improvement and activating effective recovery plans.


Applying the ERM Model

Effective ERM strategies and tactics enable hospitals and health systems to better serve their community of providers, patients and families. The first step in assessing an organization’s recovery potential is to measure its progress in the eight specific risk domains shown below. The highlighted risk management approaches can be used to identify recovery-related concerns and areas where organizational readiness needs improvement.


  1. Operational Risks. These risks relate to processes or systems associated with the delivery of care and business services. Approaches may include routing debriefing sessions with stakeholders about risk issues, root cause analyses on pandemic-related clinical incidents and hazards, and more.

  2. Clinical and Patient Safety Risks. These risks relate to patient care delivery. Approaches may include valuing risk management as a proactive educational resource and key component in the delivery of quality patient care, providing published clinical reports and health advisories to leadership teams, and more.

  3. Strategic Risks. These exposures relate to the organization’s mission and objectives. Approaches may include multi-disciplinary discussion groups to exchange ideas, brainstorming sessions to highlight achievements made during the pandemic, and more.

  4. Financial Risks. These vulnerabilities relate to the organization’s financial health and the costs associated with risk. Approaches may include re-evaluating vendor relationships and service contracts to ensure adequacy and safeguards in coordination with the healthcare organization’s legal counsel, verifying financial stability of business partners, and more.

  5. Human Capital Risks. These risks relate to staff, providers and administrators. Approaches include conducting mandatory and ongoing enterprise-wide education and training sessions on a variety of topics, evaluating staff schedules to minimize the risk of fatigue or errors, and more.

  6. Legal/Regulatory Risks. These exposures relate to legal and regulatory mandates and obligations. Approaches include conducting legal review of contract provisions, reporting communicable disease cases to the relevant authorities, and more, with guidance and input of legal counsel.

  7. Technology Risks. These risks relate to technological devices, equipment and tools. Approaches include evaluating health record formats, utilizing equipment calibration and preventative maintenance programs, and more.

  8. Environmental Hazard Risks. These relate to business assets and facility management. Approaches include conducting preventive equipment maintenance in accordance with manufacturer recommendation, providing leadership teams with regular reports on the safety and efficacy of sterilization procedures, and more.


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for healthcare organizations to remember that crisis conditions may present new opportunities and solutions. The ERM process provides a framework for evaluating pandemic-related performance, addressing new risk exposures and moving forward in a focused, goal-oriented manner.


To learn more about the types of risks that affect healthcare organizations, and how to proactively address them, download this special resource: COVID-19: Achieving Recovery Through Risk Management.


During this uniquely challenging time, CNA Healthcare stands ready to help our customers mitigate risk exposures and address their current and evolving demands. 


Disclaimer: The information, examples and suggestions presented in this material have been developed from sources believed to be reliable, but they should not be construed as legal or other professional advice. CNA accepts no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this material and recommends the consultation with competent legal counsel and/or other professional advisors before applying this material in any particular factual situations. This material is for illustrative purposes and is not intended to constitute a contract. The content is not intended to represent a comprehensive listing of all actions needed to address the subject matter, but rather is a means of initiating internal discussion and self-examination. Your organization and risks may be different from those addressed herein, and you may wish to modify the activities and questions noted herein to suit your individual organizational practice and patient needs. The information contained herein is not intended to establish any standard of care, or address the circumstances of any specific healthcare organization. Please remember that only the relevant insurance policy can provide the actual terms, coverages, amounts, conditions and exclusions for an insured. All products and services may not be available in all states and may be subject to change without notice. “CNA" is a registered trademark of CNA Financial Corporation. Certain CNA Financial Corporation subsidiaries use the "CNA" trademark in connection with insurance underwriting and claims activities. Copyright © 2021 CNA. All rights reserved.



One or more of the CNA companies provide the products and/or services described. The information is intended to present a general overview for illustrative purposes only. Read CNA’s General Disclaimer.
One or more of the CNA companies provide the products and/or services described. The information is intended to present a general overview for illustrative purposes only. Read CNA’s General Disclaimer.
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