Archives: December 2019

December 2019 Newsletter

Personal injury attorneys target definition of a patient With courts increasingly reviewing physician liability for patients they have never treated, the answer to what defines a patient could shape the future of access to care. The issue stems from a recent case in which a Minnesota physician was held liable for harm to a patient he had never examined, reviewed her records or spoke to directly. Under review was whether or not the physician still had a “legal duty of care” following a conversation with a Nurse Practitioner, in which he recommended that the patient not be admitted to the hospital-based on a series of symptoms. The AMA’s Litigation Center, in an amicus brief, argued that the duty of care was premised on a patient-physician relationship, which was not present in this case. While lower courts agreed, highlighting the importance of informal consultations among health care professionals, the Minnesota State Supreme Court overruled these verdicts. A moot court review of the case at the 2019 AMA Interim Meeting saw audience members raise concerns about a number of issues arising from the decision, including “the chilling effect of the decision, decision-making authority of NPs and physician assistants, legal ethics and medical…

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Hospitals Need to Brace for Upward Trend in Malpractice Claims

SOURCE: Healthleaders There has been a dramatic upward trend in hospital medical malpractice claims over the past two decades, according to a new report from Aon and Beazley Group. Over the past two decades, the medical professional liability insurance marketplace has been hardening in response to higher paid claims. The evolving market is putting upward pressure on premiums and downward pressure on insurance industry capacity. Average paid claims in 2018 were 50% higher than in 2009, Valentina Minetti, U.S. hospitals focus group leader at Beazley, said in a prepared statement. “The average paid claim with indemnity closing in 2018 was 6% higher than in 2017. While that is only a single-digit increase from year to year, the cumulative effect of similar rises has taken the average paid claim from $400,000 in 2009 to almost $600,000 last year.” Multimillion-dollar paid claims are taking a toll on insurers and healthcare organizations alike, she said. “The double-digit million-dollar claims are having a chilling effect on the medical liability community. Awards of this size drive hospitals to increase their self-insurance, can cause premiums to rise and industry capacity to decrease, so there is certainly a shared interest in seeing these rising costs stabilize.” Multimillion-dollar…

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More physicians being sued by patients they’ve never treated

SOURCE: American Medical Association Can physicians be held liable in cases in which they’ve never treated the patients experiencing the adverse outcome? That’s a question that is increasingly being put before the courts, and one explored during a recent education session held by the Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies. The mission of the Litigation Center is to represent the interests of the medical profession in the courts. It brings lawsuits, files amicus briefs and otherwise provides support or becomes actively involved in litigation of general importance to physicians. The Litigation Center held a moot court session in which it presented arguments from Warren v. Dinter, a case in which a physician was held liable for harm to patient he had never examined, reviewed her records or spoke to her directly. Arguments were presented by Leonard Nelson, director of the Litigation Center, and Mark R. Whitmore, a Minnesota attorney who wrote the amicus brief in the case. Jack R. Bierig, the AMA’s principal outside counsel for more than 40 years, played the role of the Minnesota Supreme Court with the help of the audience. At issue was whether Dr. Dinter had “legal duty of care”…

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