Archives: August 2011

August 2011 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 6, Issue 8 August 2011 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: NEJM Study Reconfirms Need for Medical Liability Reform Doctor Gone Missing? Check Texas. Jobs Agenda Includes the HEALTH Act North Carolina Voters Support Liability Reform NEJM Study Reconfirms Need for Medical Liability Reform A study in this month’s New England Journal of Medicine provides the most comprehensive analysis of the risk of liability claims by medical specialty in more than two decades, and reinforces the need to put an immediate end to medical lawsuit abuse. The study reports that in any given year, an average of 7.4 percent of doctors are faced with medical liability lawsuits, but nearly 80 percent of those claims result in no payment at all by the defendant. The likelihood of being faced with a medical liability lawsuit did not necessarily correlate to payment by a physician – further proof that the system is broken and does not serve the needs of patients. Neurosurgeons were the most likely to be targeted by personal injury lawyers, with over 19 percent of all neurosurgeons facing a medical liability lawsuit each year. However, they were less likely to be found negligent, and ranked 4th behind…

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July 2011 Poll Results – Civitas Institute

This poll of 600 registered general election voters in North Carolina was conducted July 12-13, 2011 by National Research, Inc. of Holmdel, NJ. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered voters in North Carolina. For purposes of this study, voters interviewed had to have voted in at least one of the past three general elections (2006, 2008, 2010) or be newly registered to vote since November 2, 2010. The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in at least one of the past three general elections or is newly registered since November 2, 2010. Do you feel things in North Carolina are generally headed in the right direction or have gotten off on the wrong track? Right direction 28% Wrong track 60% Don’t Know 11% If the election for State Legislature were held today, would you be voting for the: The Republican candidate 40% The Democratic candidate 36% Neither 7% Refused/Not…

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Judiciary panel preps jobs agenda

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is preparing a fall work program for his committee that is aimed almost exclusively at boosting and protecting U.S. jobs. The agenda includes bills that would reduce regulatory burdens to job growth, require employers to verify the legality of potential employees and fight intellectual property theft around the world. In a Thursday interview with The Hill, Smith stressed the importance of focusing on jobs at a time of continued high unemployment and economic uncertainty, and said other issues would likely take a backseat to what he called the “Judicial Jobs Agenda.” “If it’s not part of the jobs agenda, it’s not likely to come up for consideration this fall,” Smith said. That means other bills the committee has considered, including controversial legislation ending birthright citizenship for children born to undocumented parents and a bill aimed at preventing mass amnesty for illegal residents, are not likely to surface this year. Smith said he is optimistic that Congress will be able to find some way to work together on the daunting issues of the debt and the economy, in large part because of the growing dissatisfaction with the federal government’s performance. “I do think we’ll…

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Thanks for the doctors, New York

Dr. Jackelinne Pilar Villalobos was one of Brooklyn’s few female English and Spanish-speaking obstetricians. She loved the city and her patients, and never wanted to leave — but 18 months ago, she moved to Houston, where we’re delighted to have her. Villalobos’ journey to Texas began in 2003, when our Legislature reformed Texas’ legal system — including sweeping medical-malpractice reforms. Back then, doctors in New York and Texas were paying about the same for medical-liability insurance. In Villalobos’ case, it was more than $100,000. But under the Texas reforms, rates immediately began to fall — 15 percent in the first year alone. Since 2003, medical liability rates in New York have increased more than 60 percent; in Texas, they’ve dropped by 54 percent. By 2009, Villalobos’ premium was $186,000 — with a rate hike of 5 percent to 12 percent expected within the year. Even delivering as many as 10 babies a day, she couldn’t practice enough medicine to even cover her cost of doing business. But she didn’t give up. She took a second job in a free clinic so that the clinic would help pay the insurance premiums — and she went to Albany to explain the need…

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Insurer: Texas malpractice rates decreasing since liability reforms

Due to medical liability reforms in the state, Texas physicians will pay less for liability coverage next year, according to the state’s largest provider of malpractice insurance. In a statement released today, the board of governors of the Texas Medical Liability Trust announced policyholders would receive an average rate decrease of almost 7 percent. In addition, renewing policyholders will receive an 18.5 percent dividend. The combined rate reduction and dividend will save TMLT policyholders nearly $35.8 million in 2012 premium, according to the statement. 
”Physicians work within an environment of decreasing reimbursements and increasing operating costs. We are hopeful that these reductions and dividends will help physicians as they help patients,” said TMLT President and Chief Executive Officer Charles R. (Chip) Ott Jr. TMLT states it has reduced rates for Texas physicians for nine consecutive years, “since the passage of medical liability reform by the Texas legislature and Gov. Rick Perry in 2003.” “Since the passage of medical liability reform, TMLT insured physicians will have saved $745.5 million in decreased premiums, once this latest round of rate cuts and dividends is implemented,” the group announced. In 2011, TMLT policyholders saw their premiums reduced by 54 percent from 2003 rates, according…

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