Archives: January 2017

January 2017 Newsletter

  No false alarm on medical liability issues Responding to a Washington Post article earlier this month that charged advocates of medical liability reform with unnecessarily sounding the alarms on the need for fixes, the HCLA submitted a letter to the editor outlining the burden of the current system and urging passage of proposed patient protection measures. Our nation’s medical liability system is costly and inefficient – with bright spots in states that have proactively addressed the problems. “States like California and Texas have been successful in compensating patients fairly, controlling costs, and increasing access,” the letter explains. “Thirteen years after passing reforms in Texas, 118 counties saw net gains in emergency room physicians – including 53 counties that previously had none.” The letter cites figures that show how replicating those efforts would have an exponential effect on our federal health care costs: “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that $55 billion in federal health savings and $62 billion in deficit reductions could be achieved over 10 years, if the federal government passed reforms like those in California and Texas.” “Lawmakers, policy experts, and the public agree reform is needed. When 75% of claims are meritless, and 33% of the…

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Judd Gregg: Five easy pieces

Big agendas and bigger issues are being talked about by the new president and the Republican Congress. This is a good thing. This new government should aim to act boldly and quickly. For conservatives, there are also smaller but significant issues — points of unfinished business, some dating back as far as President Reagan — that should be completed. Here are five, all of which are doable. First, repeal Davis-Bacon. This law, which was enacted in 1931 and purports to ensure that workers on public projects are paid the prevailing local wage, was in fact a pay-off to Big Labor for its support of the Democratic Party. It costs taxpayers dearly. By inflating labor costs, Davis-Bacon inflates overall construction costs for the federal government. If the Trump administration and Congress are going to do an infrastructure bill to push the economy forward, repealing Davis-Bacon would increase its impact. Repeal would also make the point that taxpayers should not be footing the bill to pay off special interests such as trade unions. Repeal of Davis-Bacon could be included in a reconciliation bill. Second, pass medical malpractice tort reform. Just as President Trump and Congress look to replace ObamaCare by delivering better care at…

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Collateral source set to mark start of tort reform effort

With labor and ethics reform making up the majority of the General Assembly’s first two weeks in session, a few other bills at the top of Republican leadership’s docket may not have grabbed as much attention. However, they could be just as impactful for the state’s business community. Last week, the Senate Government Reform Committee heard testimony on Sen. Ed Emery’s collateral source rule change bill, which would have parties in injury cases present the actual cost of medical care, instead of its value when calculating the damages owed by a defendant. Currently, in a worker’s compensation case, if an assembly line worker gets injured on the line because of a faulty mechanism, the company she works for could pay for her injuries using their medical insurance. But she could also sue the company for negligence and get more money based on the “value” of her injuries as determined by a judge. Under Emery’s proposed rule, the specific monetary amount granted for her injuries would be what she receives. “It allows businesses who are always subject to personal injury lawsuits, to more effectively quantify what their exposure is,” Emery says. “If a defendant is found liable, we know what the…

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ACEP Outlines Legislative Principles for 115th Congress

As Congress takes up the future of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) today issued an outline of emergency medicine health care reform principles it considers indispensable to any replacement legislation.  The principles are aimed at maximizing access to medical care while improving its quality and lowering its costs. “Although the nation’s emergency departments continue to focus on our traditional mission of providing urgent and life-saving care, our role has expanded over the last several decades to encompass safety net care for uninsured and under-insured patients, public health surveillance, disaster preparedness and filling gaps in care caused by physician shortages,” said ACEP’s president, Rebecca Parker, MD, FACEP. “Reimbursement reductions from public and private payers have substantially curtailed hospital capacity, which is extremely concerning for any community which might be faced with a severe disease outbreak or mass casualty event.  ACEP believes all Americans must have health care coverage and we urge lawmakers to consider the following principles as they develop new health care policies.” Maintain emergency services as a covered benefit for any insurance plan. Ensure the federal Prudent Layperson Standard extends to Medicaid fee-for-service and that compliance measures are…

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US House of Representatives passes Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act: 3 things to know

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (H.R. 302), Jan. 9, 2017. Here’s what you need to know: 1. The legislation clarifies medical liability rules for sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers and other medical professionals to ensure liability insurance when treating athletic teams traveling to another state. 2. Under the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act, providers caring for athletes in another state will be considered to have satisfied licensure requirements in the secondary state. 3. American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, National Athletic Trainers’ Association and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, among other professional societies, have spoken in favor of the bill. The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act will be introduced to the 2017-18 U.S. Senate.

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