Archives: January 2015

January 2015 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 10, Issue 1 January 2015 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: New Year, Renewed Support for Medical Liability Reform Open and Honest Champions for Good Samaritans New Year, Renewed Support for Medical Liability Reform As the 114th Congress began its work in Washington, and Governors across the country began to shape their legislative agendas, our elected officials have been mindful of medical liability reform and incorporated it into their efforts to improve our nation’s health care delivery system. Newly elected Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) spoke recently to a physicians’ group in New York, and “when asked about medical malpractice lawsuit reform, said the Republican leadership like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) want to make sure ‘tort reform is part of the package.’” To read more about Representative Stefanik’s speech, click here. In West Virginia, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin incorporated the benefits of medical liability reform to the state in his State of the State address, by summarizing the consequences of a system that was failing patients and showing evidence that reasonable limits on non-economic damages turned the situation around. “In the early 2000s, doctors were threatening to leave the state because of slow payments and unreasonable medical malpractice insurance…

Read More

Stefanik says Republican health care plan is coming

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik spoke with members of the Medical Society of the State of New York Saturday in Lake Placid about a Republican-led effort to reform the Affordable Care Act. The Mirror Lake Inn’s conference room was filled with around two dozen doctors and health care professionals eager to hear the congresswoman’s perspective and to offer their own input on the current state of health care. Stefanik, 30, a Republican from Willsboro who has been on the job for about three weeks, addressed the room for several minutes about her health care goals, and afterward there was a more extensive question-and-answer period. Stefanik said her goals include having both high-quality and cost-effective treatment, and increasing health care accessibility for rural communities. Because “health care is a complicated issue,” Stefanik said she would make an effort to reach out to hospitals, patients and physicians. “These groups need to be represented,” Stefanik said. Dave Welch, a doctor from Saranac Lake, told Stefanik that making “little repairs to a broken system clearly isn’t working” and said that a whole new approach to health care is needed. “Now that we have a new Congress fully controlled by one party, what kind of new…

Read More

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s State of the State address

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, members of the Legislature, members of the Board of Public Works, justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and my fellow West Virginians. Forty years ago on a night much like tonight, I joined my fellow Legislators in this beautiful chamber as a young man and a recent college graduate just elected to the House of Delegates and wondered what on earth I had gotten myself into. Armed with little more than a fresh perspective and a passion to make my home state the best it could be, I was eager to take on the challenges I knew we faced as a state. On my first trip to the supply room to pick up my pens, papers and folders, I was stopped by the House clerk who wanted to know who the supplies were for. I said they were for me. And he responded, well, who are you? I said, I’m the new delegate from Logan County. I imagine my emotions and expectations were not unlike our state’s and our nation’s youngest lawmaker, Saira Blair, who finds herself in this Chamber as a member of the majority, working with a governor…

Read More

Offer SGR Solutions Not Complaints

The American Medical Association (AMA) is doing a disservice by not weighing in on how to pay for repealing the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for physician reimbursement under Medicare, a member of Congress said Thursday. During the second day of a hearing on repealing and replacing the SGR, Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD (R-Ind.), a cardiac surgeon and member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, asked Barbara McAneny, MD, chair of the AMA’s board of trustees, if the AMA could offer “substantial possible pay-fors” to cover the cost of the repeal. The Congressional Budget Office last year put the cost at about $140 billion over 10 years. But McAneny, an oncologist in Albuquerque, N.M. who testified on the AMA’s behalf, declined to do so. “Within the healthcare sector, so many are struggling now to keep the doors open, so for us to come up with specific pay-fors may not be as useful until there are some guidelines set up by Congress,” she said. “The AMA stands ready to assist and help by weighing in on any specific suggestions; we don’t really have the ability to give you specific pay-fors, because the devil is in the details.” Bucshon expressed…

Read More

Congressman to AMA: Offer SGR Solutions Not Complaints

The American Medical Association (AMA) is doing a disservice by not weighing in on how to pay for repealing the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for physician reimbursement under Medicare, a member of Congress said Thursday. During the second day of a hearing on repealing and replacing the SGR, Rep. Larry Bucshon, MD (R-Ind.), a cardiac surgeon and member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, asked Barbara McAneny, MD, chair of the AMA's board of trustees, if the AMA could offer "substantial possible pay-fors" to cover the cost of the repeal. The Congressional Budget Office last year put the cost at about $140 billion over 10 years. But McAneny, an oncologist in Albuquerque, N.M. who testified on the AMA's behalf, declined to do so. "Within the healthcare sector, so many are struggling now to keep the doors open, so for us to come up with specific pay-fors may not be as useful until there are some guidelines set up by Congress," she said. "The AMA stands ready to assist and help by weighing in on any specific suggestions; we don't really have the ability to give you specific pay-fors, because the devil is in the details." Bucshon expressed...
Read More

Mass. Malpractice Reforms Offer Faster, More Open Process For Injured Patients

When a woman had gall bladder surgery at a Massachusetts hospital in 2013, doctors noticed something suspicious on a CT scan that they thought could be ovarian cancer. But the recommendation that the patient get a pelvic ultrasound fell through the cracks. Months later, she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. Normally, this type of medical mistake could mark the start of a protracted malpractice lawsuit. But in Massachusetts, where medical, legal and consumer groups have worked together in support of a recently enacted law that tries to preempt litigation by establishing a process and timeframe for discussing mistakes, that’s not what happened, according to her attorney who recounted the case in an interview. The law mandates that people give health care providers six months notice if they intend to sue. The woman’s lawyer notified the hospital of the mistake and the harm it had caused her: A delay in diagnosis that may have led to more extensive cancer treatment and, arguably, a higher risk that the cancer will recur. Hospital officials, who had 150 days to respond, determined that their actions hadn’t met the standard of care. The hospital arranged a meeting between the woman and one of…

Read More

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s State of the State address

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, members of the Legislature, members of the Board of Public Works, justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and my fellow West Virginians. Forty years ago on a night much like tonight, I joined my fellow Legislators in this beautiful chamber as a young man and a recent college graduate just elected to the House of Delegates and wondered what on earth I had gotten myself into. Armed with little more than a fresh perspective and a passion to make my home state the best it could be, I was eager to take on the challenges I knew we faced as a state. On my first trip to the supply room to pick up my pens, papers and folders, I was stopped by the House clerk who wanted to know who the supplies were for. I said they were for me. And he responded, well, who are you? I said, I’m the new delegate from Logan County. I imagine my emotions and expectations were not unlike our state’s and our nation’s youngest lawmaker, Saira Blair, who finds herself in this Chamber as a member of the majority, working with a governor...
Read More