Archives: January 2019

January 2019 Newsletter

Pennsylvania liability rule change could lead to increase in lawsuit abuse A rule that helped stabilize the medical liability market in Pennsylvania faces the threat of repeal, bringing worry that medical lawsuit abuse could return. Implemented in 2002, reforms mandated that medical liability claims could only stand trial in the county where the alleged medical error occurred to avoid “venue shopping” lawsuits to courts that had a history of favoring large verdicts and personal injury attorneys. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court now proposes eliminating that rule, allowing victims to file lawsuits in any county where the defendant does business — even if the incident in question occurred elsewhere. A coalition that includes the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED), the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), and the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform (PCCJR) cites this rule as the primary reason the system has stabilized to its current point. “If history is any indication, this could have devastating effects on patient care,” said Danae Powers, MD, president of PAMED. “In the years before we restricted venue shopping, medical liability premiums rose so quickly that some physicians couldn’t obtain the insurance they needed to treat patients. Others chose to leave Pennsylvania or…

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New Malpractice Risks in Your EHR

SOURCE: Medscape New Malpractice Risks and Electronic Health Records Malpractice liability risks for physicians, practices, and healthcare organizations (HCOs) continually change, owing to a variety of healthcare and technology issues. From changes in treatment and care strategies to the ability of your electronic health record (EHR) to support new patient service tactics and care responsibilities, you need to be aware of these risks. You also need to manage your EHR use to address potential malpractice-related risks. On the plus side, as more patient care tools are built into EHRs and as more active patient care interventions become part of your patient treatment routine, EHRs may help you manage patients and your clinical activities. However, built-in EHR features that display warnings and advisories can produce a cacophony of visual and auditory noise that can be distracting. Physicians need to be able to control and manage them. EHR-generated advisories that are misleading or inappropriate could disrupt patient service, confuse physicians, and undermine confidence in the EHR. If a malpractice case arises, the plaintiff could see evidence that’s residing within your EHR, and use it against you. For example, EHR drug interaction warnings as well as notifications of incoming secure messages are tracked…

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For the Minnesota Legislature, 12 pertinent elements of any constructive health care reform

SOURCE: Star Tribune “A wise man begins at the end while a fool ends at the beginning” is a proverb worth considering in any discussion of health care reform. Minnesota legislators on both sides of the aisle have been meeting with stakeholders to determine what such an endpoint might look like. Allow me to explore 12 pertinent ideas about our health care crisis, several of which have already inspired bill proposals. 1) We must transform the health care discussion, making a clear distinction between insurance against unpredictable, calamitous occurrences and, on the other hand, routine care that can be foreseen and budgeted for, such as preventive dental visits, tetanus shots or screening tests. There is a real difference between wants and needs, and a reasonable perspective distinguishes between a catastrophic need and an elective desire. 2) We must blow open the doors of the internal financial workings of our healthcare system by expanding transparency across the board — on prescription-drug pricing, physician and hospital charges, facility fees, trade secrets between insurers and big clinics, and profiteering by middlemen such as pharmacy benefit managers. Only with clear information can patients truly become “their own best champion” regarding health care. We must outlaw any…

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Physicians say Pennsylvania ‘Venue Shopping’ Rule Could Result in Skyrocketing Malpractice Premiums

SOURCE: Physicians News Digest HARRISBURG, Pa. – A proposed rule change from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court could usher the return of skyrocketing medical liability premiums for physicians and threaten patient access to quality care, says the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED). Escalating medical liability premiums created a crisis in Pennsylvania when the state lost approximately 10 percent of its physicians between 1997-2000. Reforms by the state legislature and court system in 2002 stabilized the medical liability insurance market and reversed the crisis. However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently proposed to eliminate one of the key pieces of those reforms. Currently, medical liability claims can only stand trial in the county where the alleged medical error occurred. The rule change would eliminate this restriction and allow attorneys to move medical liability claims to counties that award higher payoffs – a practice known as “venue shopping.” The proposed rule is open for public comments between now and Feb. 22. The court argues that venue restrictions are no longer necessary because Pennsylvania’s physicians no longer face skyrocketing medical liability rates. A coalition that includes PAMED, the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), and the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform (PCCJR) says the…

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