Archives: April 2018

Managing physician risk in a costly world

Amid speculation that malpractice insurance rates will rise, maintaining an air-tight risk management plan should be on doctors’ agenda this year. Malpractice insurance rates declined over the last decade as tort reform and industry safety measures led to fewer claims, but the size of the largest claims is growing. This could lead to higher rates in the future, experts say.This article appears in the 4/10/18 issue of Medical Economics. “It’s not widespread, but we’re finally beginning to see some upward pressure on [malpractice insurance] rates,” says Chad Karls, FCAS, principal and consulting actuary for Milliman, a Brookfield, Wis.-based actuarial and consulting firm. The examples are spotty geographically, but primary care practices are among those at higher risk, he says. A 2017 study of hospital professional liability by consulting firm Aon and the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management projects no increase in the number of claims below $2 million for 2018, but a 2 percent rise in claim severity. The study also noted “early signs” of a rise in the number of claims above $5 million, but the data wasn’t conclusive enough to quantify the increase. Also on the rise, the report found, are so-called batch claims, or multiple claims…

Read More

Proposed amendment to Arkansas Constitution sparks debate

A proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution has elicited strong opinions from both proponents and detractors. Annabelle Imber Tuck, a retired Arkansas Supreme Court justice who is chairman of the Defending Your Day in Court, or D-Day, Legislative Question Committee, spoke to the Sebastian County Bar Association in Fort Smith on Monday about Issue 1. Tuck said Issue 1, which will be on the ballot in the Nov. 6 general election, has several parts. The first part is limiting the percentage that attorneys can charge clients in contingency fee contracts. Tuck also discussed a provision that limits awards of non-economic damages in lawsuits for personal injury, property damage or wrongful death to $500,000 for each claimant, or $500,000 for all beneficiaries of an deceased person in a lawsuit for wrongful death. The last part of the proposed amendment, Tuck said, is shifting the authority of court rule-making from the Arkansas Supreme Court exclusively to the Legislature. An official statement from the D-Day Legislative Question Committee provided by Tuck states the shift would allow special interests and politics to directly interfere with due process, access to justice and the fair and impartial administration of justice. Issue 1 includes the following: “Providing…

Read More

New Study Finds Patient Care Improved when Hospital Physicians Received Immunity from Malpractice Suits

MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Adverse medical events declined when physicians received immunity from malpractice lawsuits at a large Miami teaching hospital, according to a study published in the latest issue of Health Management, Policy and Innovation (HMPI). The six-year study found no negative impact on patient safety when approximately 900 University of Miami Health System physicians received sovereign immunity from medical malpractice claims while working at Jackson Memorial Hospital, a public hospital that also serves as the University of Miami’s main teaching hospital. In fact, the incidence of harmful events decreased by 13 percent over a four-year period. “This study suggests that without the threat of malpractice lawsuits, physicians are still committed to delivering the safest, highest quality patient care possible,” said Dr. David A. Lubarsky, chief medical and systems integration officer at the University of Miami Health System and the study’s lead author. The change in sovereign immunity was led by Donna Shalala, former President of the University of Miami and former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Medical malpractice premiums have risen dramatically in parts of the United States, sometimes deterring physicians from practicing in specialties viewed as high risk, or leading to so-called defensive medicine. With…

Read More

April 2018 Newsletter

Improving patient care by removing threat of lawsuits In an effort to better understand the impact that medical lawsuit abuse has on health care providers, a recent study granted immunity from liability lawsuits to practicing physicians – and studied the after affects. Over the course of six years, 900 clinically active employed physicians at Jackson Memorial Hospital, part of the University of Miami, could be deemed agents of JMH and received the protections of sovereign immunity when they were providing medical care at a JMH facility. Not only was there no negative impact on patient safety, but the number of harmful events decreased by 13 percent over a four-year period. “This study suggests that without the threat of malpractice lawsuits, physicians are still committed to delivering the safest, highest quality patient care possible,” said Dr. David A. Lubarsky, chief medical and systems integration officer at the University of Miami Health System and the study’s lead author. The immunity offered physicians an opportunity to treat patients without the threat of liability lawsuits, reducing the incentive to practice defensive medicine. “An effective liability system should offer incentives to institutions that adopt safer systems,” Dr. Lubarsky said, citing better patient data sharing, education,…

Read More