Archives: October 2018

October 2018 Newsletter

Elderly Texans among the beneficiaries of liability reform Liability reforms were a long time coming for the long-term care industry in Texas, where, prior to 2003, half the nursing homes across the state couldn’t find or afford liability insurance. Highly rated nursing homes were frequently targeted by personal injury attorneys pursuing meritless claims, driving up costs that forced them to scale back their care. Big changes came following medical liability reform legislation passed in 2003, when the nursing home industry in Texas experienced dramatic improvements in the care they were able to provide their residents – all thanks to savings from liability insurance premiums. “Texas tort reform saved our organization and the residents that we serve,” said Alan Hale, CEO of Manor Park, a non-profit elderly care facility in west Texas. Now, Texas has 50 percent fewer cases against nursing homes than the national average – evidence that reforms are making an impact. Facilities throughout the state, including Manor Park and another non-profit, Morningside Ministries, have credited liability reforms with allowing them to invest resources in recruiting care staff and nurses, training younger people for the various careers in long-term and elderly care, and improving the homes that serve and…

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SIDM Applauds Increased Federal Research Funding for Diagnostic Error

SOURCE: Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) – https://www.improvediagnosis.org/news/420714/SIDM-Applauds-Increased-Federal-Research-Funding-for-Diagnostic-Error.htm The FY 2019 spending bill for the Department of Health and Human Services that was signed into law last week included $2 million in new funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) “to support grants to address diagnostic errors” and explore the process of establishing Centers for Diagnostic Excellence. The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) believes this additional funding is important to develop specific approaches to reducing harm caused from diagnostic error and improve diagnostic quality and safety. “In 2015, the National Academies of Medicine declared that ‘improving the diagnostic process is not only possible, but it also represents a moral, professional, and public health imperative.’ Estimates are that 40,000 to 80,000 people die every year in hospitals as a result of wrong or delayed diagnosis,” said Paul Epner, SIDM’s Chief Executive Officer. “We know a lot about the major contributors to diagnostic errors that cause the most harm. At the same time, we need to support research efforts to learn more and to bring what we do know to scale.” Research on systems and methods to improve diagnosis is the most under-recognized and underfunded…

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Medical Liability Monitor’s 2018 Annual Rate Survey Indicates the Medical Professional Liability Insurance Industry Could Be Turning Away From Stability

SOURCE: Cision PRWeb – https://www.prweb.com/releases/medical_liability_monitors_2018_annual_rate_survey_indicates_the_medical_professional_liability_insurance_industry_could_be_turning_away_from_stability/prweb15817320.htm According to just-released data from the 2018 Medical Liability Monitor Annual Rate Survey, the medical professional liability (medical malpractice) insurance industry could be turning away from its decade-plus of general stability. Since 2005, the key word used to characterize the medical professional liability insurance industry has been “stable.” But in 2018, there are several issues suggesting there are more environmental challenges for the industry than have been observed during the last decade. Some industry observers note that these factors signal that the industry may have started to turn a corner. Major factors challenging the MPL insurance industry include the deterioration of the industry’s combined ratio, an increasing number of high-severity claims and the decline in aggregate MPL industry premium with its compounding effect on the combined ratio. The medical professional liability insurance industry’s combined ratio has been creeping upward from a record-low of 80 percent in 2008. For 2017, the combined ratio exceeded 100 percent for the second year in a row — only the second time exceeding 100 percent since 2005. The increasing combined ratio has been driven by a number of factors, but the largest has been the erosion of favorable reserve development….

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Why Doctor Malpractice Premiums Stopped Rising

SOURCE: Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2018/10/10/why-doctor-malpractice-premiums-stopped-rising/#410fa8031517 Physician medical malpractice premiums remain flat, continuing a decade-long run of little to no rate increases, new reports show. Doctors continue to be spared medical malpractice coverage rate increases even as the U.S. medical professional liability insurance sector experiences underwriting losses for the second year in a row, putting “more scrutiny around shrinking reserves,” Fitch Ratings says in its annual report on medical professional liability insurance. But such pressure that also includes plummeting premium revenue hasn’t been enough to force these carriers into jacking up rates, which have been largely stable for more than 10 years. “As far as medical liability goes, it really is a great time to be practicing medicine,” Medical Liability Monitor Editor Mike Matray says. “Medical liability insurance is often the single most expensive cost of doing business for physicians. At the same time, medical malpractice insurance premiums have been decreasing or flat for more than a decade and malpractice claims frequency is at an historic low.” Industry consolidation, well-capitalized carriers and the shift to outpatient care and telehealth are also among the factors keeping premiums from rising, these new reports show. “Many other commercial insurance market segments, particularly property and auto…

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Tort reform saved Texas nursing homes

SOURCE: San Antonio Express-News – https://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/commentary/article/Tort-reform-saved-Texas-nursing-homes-13267186.php Fifteen years ago, Texas nursing home care was in a liability insurance crisis that threatened to close some of the state’s best facilities. The frequency of nursing home lawsuits in Texas was the second highest nationally. Half of the nursing homes in the state had gone bare — meaning they carried no liability insurance. Not that they didn’t want it. They couldn’t find or afford it. In 2003, the Texas Legislature established a balanced approach to protecting quality care for aging Texans through its tort reform bill. As a result of these changes, Texas nursing homes have spent less on insurance and more on improving quality, hiring and retaining staff, and planning improvements for the care of aging Texans. Back in 2002, Manor Park, a not-for-profit in West Texas was paying $150,000 a year for a $1 million insurance policy. A year later, it was quoted $465,000 for the same coverage. The board fully realized that the facility was one broken hip away from bankruptcy. This facility was rated highly by state and national agencies, and had a clean record regarding lawsuits. Alan Hale, CEO of Manor Park, says without equivocation, “Texas tort reform…

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