Archives: September 2019

September 2019 Newsletter

Longer statutes of limitation could invite in lawsuit abuse A challenge to Kentucky’s longstanding statute of limitations on medical liability lawsuit filings could open the door for additional litigation – and medical lawsuit abuse. A case is currently pending before the Supreme Court of Kentucky, seeking permission for a lawsuit to continue outside the statute of limitations under a narrow doctrine intended to apply in situations where continuous care is provided after an instance of negligence. In this case, the plaintiff is challenging that the statute of limitations should be waived anytime a patient is receiving follow up care from any health care provider at the same institution. Ruling in support of expanding that window would have negative repercussions. The Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies, along with the Kentucky Medical Association, filed an amicus brief with the court. The brief detailed the effect overturning current law would have in permitting patients with lifelong conditions such as diabetes or asthma who receive continuous follow up care to be able to file lawsuits indefinitely. “Such a result would destroy the predictability and certainty essential to the ‘peace and welfare of society’ that the General Assembly sought…

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Coalition launches MICRA ballot initiative with backing from wealthy trial lawyer

SOURCE: POLITICO SACRAMENTO — A deep-pocketed lawyer and a coalition led by Consumer Watchdog are launching a November 2020 ballot initiative that would multiply the amount medical negligence victims stand to receive in court, potentially resurrecting a political dogfight involving attorneys, hospitals and doctors. Opponents of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, passed in 1975, are seeking to pass a November 2020 ballot initiative that would index the legal payout cap for inflation — initially raising it to $1.2 million for people injured as a result of what’s referred to as “non-economic” damages such as pain and suffering, loss of limbs or hearing and wrongful death, according to a document obtained by POLITICO. The coalition estimates it will need $4 million to gather signatures and qualify the initiative. The effort comes nearly five years after another MICRA initiative was roundly defeated amid opposition from major health industry groups. Three initiative filers said they’re getting involved because they’ve been personally affected by the cap and are expected to submit the “Fairness for Injured Parents Act” Thursday. Trial lawyer Nick Rowley said the lungs of his own infant son were “blown up” as a result of medical malpractice. He told POLITICO he…

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Electronic-related med mal claims increasing: The Doctors

SOURCE: Business Insurance The number of medical malpractice claims stemming at least in part from electronic health records is increasing and may become a more frequent risk factor, says a report by a medical malpractice insurer. An analysis of 216 claims closed from 2010 to 2018 indicates the pace of these claims grew from a low of seven in 2010 to an average of 22.5 cases per year in 2017 and 2018, according to the study by Napa, California-based The Doctors Co. Electronic health records “are typically contributing factors rather than the primary cause of claims, and the frequency with an EHR factor continues to be low (1.1 percent of all claims closed since 2010),” says the study by Darrell Ranum, vice president of patient safety and risk management at the insurer. “Still, as EHRs approach near-universal adoption, they may become a more prevalent source of risk.” The report says the EHR-related claims closed from 2010 to 2018 were caused by either system technology and design issues, such as electronic systems or technology failure, or by user-related issues. One example presented in the study was of an elderly female patient with sinus complaints, for whom the physician intended to order…

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Don’t create unintended loopholes for medical liability cases

SOURCE: AMA A Kentucky law that, in most cases, gives patients one year to file a medical liability lawsuit does the job it was designed to do—ensuring claims are promptly and fairly adjudicated—and the judicial system shouldn’t create any unintended loopholes, physicians tell the state’s high court. Stay current on the latest on the issues impacting physicians, patients and the health care environment with the AMA’s Advocacy Update Newsletter. The Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies along with the Kentucky Medical Association on July 24 filed an amicus brief in a case before the Supreme Court of Kentucky, Sneed v. University of Louisville Hospital, that challenges the limits that the Kentucky General Assembly established. The AMA Litigation Center brief asks the court to uphold the one-year limitation period patients and attorneys have abided by for years, advising justices that letting this lawsuit go forward under a narrow doctrine that carves out longer limits in certain cases would open up a loophole and expose health care providers to “indefinite medical liability claims.” Patients with lifelong conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma, or cancer and heart disease patients who require lengthy treatments, could sue…

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