Archives: January 2014

January 2014 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 9, Issue 1 January 2014 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: State of our Liability System Health Care Reform Proposal by Senate Republicans Addresses Liability SOS – Save our (Health Care) System Business and Health Groups Merge to Advance Liability Reform State of our Liability System While President Obama spoke this week regarding the strong state of our union, the recently released ACEP Emergency Medicine Report card unfortunately shows that the same cannot be said for the state of our medical liability system. The ACEP report, measuring five conditions under which emergency care is being delivered, was last released in 2009 and continues to track the medical liability climate across the country. Overall, the ACEP Report Card gave our nation’s medical liability system a lackluster grade of C minus. The report card stated, “The Medical Liability Environment in the United States is still in crisis and threatens to further diminish the availability of on-call specialists and other providers in states where the risks of lawsuit or costs of liability insurance are prohibitive…Since the previous Report Card, a number of states have seen liability reforms declared unconstitutional, and there are constant challenges to rules already in place in many…

Read More

Ky. Health and Business Groups Unite in Hopes of Curbing ‘Meritless’ Malpractice Lawsuits

FRANKFORT — Several major health care providers and business organizations in Kentucky have formed a new coalition in hopes of eliminating “meritless” medical malpractice lawsuits. The new group, called Care First Kentucky Coalition, will push for legislation that would create medical review panels to review proposed claims against health care providers. The state’s nursing home industry has backed similar legislation in the two previous legislative sessions, when the proposal passed along party lines in the Republican-led Senate but failed to get out of committee in the Democrat-led House. “Now is the time for Kentucky to say enough is enough to the meritless lawsuits which are having a huge impact on health care costs, a major concern for Kentucky businesses,” Dave Adkisson, president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said in a news release. “Our neighboring states have already addressed this problem through common-sense reforms, and it is time we do the same.” Review panels would have three medical experts. Each side represented in the case would select a panelist, and the third would be selected by the other two experts. The panel would render an opinion on whether standards of care were violated. It would not make a finding of…

Read More

Could Malpractice Reform Save the U.S. Health Care System?

A new essay in the journal Health Affairs proposes that tackling tort reform on the federal level could convince doctors to agree to bigger changes in the U.S. health care system. Photo illustration by DNY59. It’s a scenario most people have considered at least once. Patient A is hoisted onto Dr. B’s operating table. Knife slips and causes massive injury — and unlimited pain and suffering — to Mr. A. Should the resulting monetary compensation be unlimited, as well? Or should monetary damages be capped to help doctors feel more comfortable in high-stakes situations, leading to better patient outcomes and possibly helping to keep America’s ever-rising health care costs in check? The debate’s been raging for decades, and while it’s shown no signs of letting up in recent years, some say the current atmosphere of change in the health care system makes the time ripe for compromise. But the stakes are high. In 2013, an article in the Journal of Patient Safety estimated that between 210,000 to 400,000 people die every year in the U.S. from hospital medical errors. In turn, a 2011 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that roughly 1 in 14 U.S. doctors faces…

Read More

America’s Emergency Care Environment

For millions of Americans who experience sudden, serious illness or injury every year—and in the increasing scores of communities that must respond to disasters and mass casualty events—immediate access to quality emergency care is essential to saving life and limb. But the availability of that care is threatened by a wide range of factors, including shrinking capacity and an ever-increasing demand for services. Even as more and more Americans come to rely on emergency departments for their acute care needs, particularly aging and sick Boomers and people newly enrolled in Medicaid, such care will increasingly become harder to access. This national Report Card rates the overall environment in which the emergency care system operates with a near-failing grade of D+. This is a poorer grade than the one earned in 2009, a C-. Overall state rankings have changed since the 2009 Report Card, with the District of Columbia now ranking first and Wyoming ranking last in the nation. These findings are the result of a comprehensive and focused study of the emergency care environment nationwide and state-by-state. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) convened a blue-ribbon task force of experts to produce this third edition of a national report…

Read More