Archives: May 2017

May 2017 Newsletter

  Liability reform cited as major savings in President’s budget With an emphasis on deficit reduction, the President’s 2018 budget highlighted how medical liability reform can lead to improved fiscal health. Cited as resulting in major savings and reform, medical liability reform is noted in the President’s budget as necessary due to the fact that “the current medical liability system does not work for patients or providers, nor does it provide quality, evidence-based care,” budget language states. The liability reform proposal in the budget contains proven state reforms that have lowered costs and increased access to care in states such as California, Texas, West Virginia, and Ohio. This allows for deficit reductions of $55 billion over 10 years upon passage of a bill that contains reasonable limits on non-economic damages of $250,000 (increasing with inflation), a three-year statute of limitations, and modifications on attorney’s fees to ensure deserving patients – not personal injury lawyers – benefit from liability judgments and settlements. To review the medical liability reform proposal contained within the President’s budget, click here. Panel discussion yields insights into future of liability reform Taking part in a legal panel on the future of medical liability reform, HCLA chair Mike…

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Oregon Court Ruling Opens Avenues for Defensive Medicine, Lawsuit Abuse

The Oregon Supreme Court on Thursday revived a patient’s medical malpractice suit accusing a hospital and doctors of depriving him of a chance of a full recovery from a stroke, saying such “loss of chance” theories are fair game in medical negligence cases. The state’s highest court unanimously overturned the dismissal of a suit alleging Drs. Linda L. Desitter and Michael R. Harris and Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital failed to properly follow up on patient Joseph Smith’s complaints of stroke symptoms which robbed him of a one-third chance at a full recovery in cases like his, had he received timely and proper treatment. The justices said in the context of Oregon common-law medical malpractice claims, loss of chance of a better medical outcome is itself a type of injury, rejecting the defendants’ arguments that such a ruling would be an improper relaxation of standards regarding causation, or that a health care provider’s alleged negligence caused a patient’s injury. “When the lost chance is the injury in a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff still bears the burden to prove that, more likely than not, the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff to lose the chance of a favorable medical outcome,” the…

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Liability Reform Brings Help to the Hawkeye State

Friday morning, Governor Branstad signed SF 465 — the IMS-crafted tort reform legislation. This legislation marks the culmination of decades of work by countless physicians throughout our state. “Today’s historic achievement is a victory for every physician, resident, and medical student in the state of Iowa. This success would not have been possible without the tireless work of so many individuals to give the house of medicine a strong voice in the legislative process. I am delighted to begin my tenure as President of the Iowa Medical Society with enactment of these sweeping reforms.” said newly-installed IMS President Joyce Vista-Wayne, MD, DFAPA. SF 465, which will take effect July 1, 2017, enacts the following reforms: A $250,000 Cap on Noneconomic Damages, With Some Exceptions Strengthened Expert Witness Standards A Certificate of Merit in all Medical Liability Suits Expanded Candor Protections A Brief History of These Reforms in Iowa Cap on Noneconomic Damages In 1975, California became the first state in the nation to enact a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages. Shortly thereafter, IMS made its first attempt at enacting a similar cap here in Iowa. After nearly three decades of work, IMS championed the passage of a $250,000 cap on…

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Pre-existing Condition: New York’s Broken Liability System

The ‘Worst State for Doctors’ Has a Dangerous Pre-existing Condition Another year, and another report naming New York the “Worst State for Doctors.” Time and time again, our state ranks dead last as a place for physicians to practice. The primary reason for the Empire State’s strained relationship with the medical profession is the staggering cost of medical liability insurance. New York has the highest per capita medical liability payouts in the country. These payouts are 35 times higher, per capita, than they are in the lowest state. Nearly 20 percent of all the medical liability payouts in the U.S. are paid in New York, more than all of the medical liability payouts for the entire Midwest. These costs drive doctors out of our state and weaken New Yorkers’ access to care. Since 2003, 16 hospitals in New York City have closed. To keep their doors open, some of the state’s remaining hospitals have opted to “go naked,” and not carry any medical liability insurance at all. While it is tempting to blame the insurers for this cost crisis, many medical liability insurers are operating at a loss. The real culprit for New York’s runaway medical insurance costs is New…

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Panel Discussion Yields Insights into Future of Liability Reform

Taking part in a legal panel on the future of medical liability reform, HCLA chair Mike Stinson joined with legal experts and those supporting the interests of consumers to give insight on how efforts to change the currently broken system will evolve. Hosted by George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School and the school’s Law & Economics Center, the panel represented varying legal, industry, and patient interests. Speaking on behalf of PIAA and their government relations efforts, Stinson talked about the benefit of liability reforms to deserving patients and federal health care spending. “The proposals [under consideration] have been scored as providing significant federal savings if enacted by Congress,” Stinson commented. “Our interest is that we get a more uniform system of medical justice across the United States.” Pushing back on assertions by other panel members that federal liability reform is unnecessary or unconstitutional, Stinson stated that “the system needs to be corrected – it’s incredibly inefficient. When two-thirds of all claims are dropped, withdrawn, or dismissed because they lack merit, but still cost tens of thousands of dollars each to defend against, you’ve got a system that’s not working correctly.” To watch the medical liability reform panel discussion in…

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Liability Reform Cited as Major Savings in President’s Budget

With an emphasis on deficit reduction, the President’s 2018 budget highlighted how medical liability reform can lead to improved fiscal health. Cited as resulting in major savings and reform, medical liability reform is noted in the President’s budget as necessary due to the fact that “the current medical liability system does not work for patients or providers, nor does it provide quality, evidence-based care,” budget language states. The liability reform proposal in the budget contains proven state reforms that have lowered costs and increased access to care in states such as California, Texas, West Virginia, and Ohio. This allows for deficit reductions of $55 billion over 10 years upon passage of a bill that contains reasonable limits on non-economic damages of $250,000 (increasing with inflation), a three-year statute of limitations, and modifications on attorney’s fees to ensure deserving patients – not personal injury lawyers – benefit from liability judgments and settlements. To review the medical liability reform proposal contained within the President’s budget, click here.

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