Archives: December 2016

December-2016-Newsletter

  Physician to Prescribe Patient Protection Solutions as HHS Secretary Congressman Tom Price (R-Ga.), an orthopaedic surgeon, has long prescribed solutions to remedy the nation’s medical liability crisis, and as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services he could continue his efforts to implement a cure. Throughout his tenure in Congress, Price has supported passage of the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act. Modeled after the successful reforms in California, the HEALTH Act would provide fair compensation to patients, allow physicians to remain in practice treating patients, and keep health care costs lower by limiting meritless lawsuits. Additionally, in both 2009 and 2011, Price introduced the Health Care OverUse Reform Today (HealthCOURT) Act to protect physicians and other health professionals from liability if they followed “best practice” guidelines and provide grants to states to create administrative health care tribunals, while preserving the ability of a plaintiff to file a claim with a state court after administrative remedies are exhausted. More recently, in 2015, Price voted in favor of a wider health care bill that included a provision to protect against the potential abuse of health care quality measures and payment methodologies. The language, taken from the Standard…

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Tort reform group again slams Florida as ‘judicial hellhole’

A newly released report by the American Tort Reform Association finds that residents of the Sunshine State are living in a very warm place indeed. The 2016-2017 Judicial Hellholes rankings are out, and Florida came in at an ignoble 4th.  Florida follows St. Louis, Missouri; California; and New York City Asbestos Litigation as home to the most unfair civil courts in the nation. The report specifically singles out the Florida Supreme Court for what ATRA president Tiger Joyce called in a statement accompanying the report “liability-expanding decisions that ignore state lawmakers’ prerogatives and motivate South Florida’s plaintiffs’ bar to become even more aggressive.” One area of focus is the Florida Supreme Court’s rulings on workers’ compensation cases.   In the April decision for Castellanos v. Next Door Co., the court made it possible for plaintiffs’ lawyers to collect large fees for filing relatively small worker’s comp claims.  The Florida Supreme Court’s ruling overthrew the legislature’s previous efforts at normalizing fee structures. “No state high court in recent years has been more brazenly inclined to disregard the will of the legislative and executive branches of the government, and thus disregard the will of the voters who elect those lawmakers, than has the…

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Trump’s HHS pick brings physician, policy experience to role

President-elect Trump has announced that he will nominate Georgia Rep. Tom Price, MD, to serve as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Price would be the first physician since fellow Georgian Louis Sullivan, MD, a hematologist, to serve as HHS secretary. Dr. Price, an orthopaedic surgeon who represents Georgia’s 6th congressional district, would be only the third doctor to fill the top spot in the six-decade history of the agency, stretching back to when it was structured as the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Family physician Otis Bowen, MD, appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1985, was the first doctor to serve as HHS secretary. The HHS secretary oversees nearly 80,000 employees at agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration. AMA Board of Trustees Chair Patrice A. Harris, MD, said the Association “strongly supports” Dr. Price’s nomination. “His service as a physician, state legislator and member of the U.S. Congress provides a depth of experience to lead HHS,” she said in a statement. “Dr. Price has been a leader in the development of health policies…

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