Archives: August 2015

August 2015 Newsletter

A New Low for Liability Claims in Wisconsin After enacting comprehensive liability laws, Wisconsin patients and physicians are reaping the benefits of a system that has greatly reduced meritless lawsuits and managed health care costs across the state. According to analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, doctors in Wisconsin were liable for fewer medical liability claims per capita than physicians in any other state in 2014. The effectiveness of the state’s reasonable limits on non-economic damages, use of expert testimony to establish the standard of care, and an Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund for legitimate liability claims have reduced medical lawsuit abuse and ensured health care services remain open and accessible to all patients. While Wisconsin is one notable example of how effective comprehensive medical liability reforms can be, states that have challenging political and liability climates – including New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey – consistently rank among the highest in liability claims per capita. Without reforms enacted on the federal level, patients and physicians will experience a patchwork of laws that pass on higher costs and less certain operating environments to those seeking and providing critical care. To read more about the success of liability reforms in…

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Male doctors are more likely to be sued than females, study finds

Male doctors are more than twice as likely to have legal action taken against them than their female counterparts, a recent study found. The study, published last week in the journal BMC Medicine, affirms a well-established trend for the first time on a global level. It also shows that the disparity has not changed over the course of 15 years, despite a growing presence of women in the field. That goes against the common argument that men in the medical field are sued more often or face regulatory discipline simply because men dominate the industry. The researchers suggest there must be other factors at play that haven’t changed over the past decade, such as the hours worked or a greater amount of interaction with patients. “The causes are likely to be complex and multi-factorial,” Emily Unwin, a lead author of the study and a researcher at University College London, said in a statement. [Anonymous medical journal essay: ‘Heavy overtones’ of sexual assault in operating rooms] A study from the American Medical Society found similar results in 2010, but its authors argued that the disparity is the result of male physicians being concentrated in positions with the highest number of claims…

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Wisconsin last among states for malpractice claim payments, analysis shows

Wisconsin doctors paid fewer medical malpractice claims per capita last year than their peers in any other state — and physicians here are consistently at the bottom nationwide when it comes to paying such claims, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis of federal data. Only six of every 1 million Wisconsin residents collected a medical malpractice claim last year, compared with a national rate of 27 per 1 million of population, according to the analysis of records filed with the National Practitioner Data Bank. That amounted to 37 total payouts in Wisconsin last year. The Wisconsin payment rate was last among the states in three of the past five years, and it has ranked 47th or lower 20 times since 1992, according to the analysis. Meanwhile, the analysis shows, the number of claims paid to victims of doctor error has been dropping in Wisconsin and nationally. “People ought to be worried about a system that doesn’t police bad actors,” said Ann Jacobs, a Milwaukee attorney and president of the state trade group for plaintiff’s lawyers. “Does anybody really believe that only 37 doctors (in Wisconsin) made mistakes?’ she added. James Gutglass, a veteran Milwaukee defense lawyer who specializes in…

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