Category Archives: Kentucky

November 2017 Newsletter

Physician opinions: medical liability lawsuits and impact on care Holding strong opinions about the current liability climate, its impact on patient care, and the way to discourage medical lawsuit abuse, physicians weighed in on the way toward comprehensive medical liability reform. Surveying over 4100 physicians across more than 25 specialties currently practicing in the US, Medscape captured the prevailing thoughts of physicians who bear the brunt of a broken system that costs too much, takes too long, and undermines their relationship with their patients. With 55 percent of those taking part in the survey responding that they had been named in a medical liability lawsuit, specialists across surgery and OB/GYN practices were found to be most likely to be sued. Eighty-five percent of respondents in each specialty noted that at one point or another in their careers, they were forced to spend countless hours on defense preparation and in court for lawsuits, that, 40 percent of the time, took between one to two years to resolve. As a result, 45 percent of physicians report that the threat of medical liability lawsuits are on their mind all or most of the time – a driving factor in the practice of defensive…

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Court Stays Order Striking Down Medical Review Panel Law

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Court of Appeals has stayed a lower court’s ruling striking down a state law requiring a panel of doctors to review medical malpractice cases before going to trial. Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd’s Oct. 30 order prevented state officials from enforcing the law. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration asked the appeals court for an emergency stay until the case can be heard on appeal. The court noted 89 cases are pending before the medical review panels, and if it did not order a stay, the statute of limitations would expire on at least one of those cases. Bevin spokesman Woody Maglinger said the Bevin administration is encouraged by the ruling and is ready to resume enforcing the law.

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Judge strikes down new Kentucky law creating medical review panels

Dealing a major blow to efforts to curb supposedly frivolous malpractice claims, a judge has struck down a new Kentucky law creating medical review panels to screen such cases before they go to trial. In a ruling Monday, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd found the law passed this year by the Kentucky General Assembly is unconstitutional, because it restricts the right of people to plead their cases in court. “The effect of the medical review panel process is not the reduction of frivolous negligence claims, but rather, the erection of barriers to the court system,” Shepherd’s order said. “Those that cannot afford the additional delays and costs should not be prevented from pursuing their constitutional right to a ‘remedy by due course of law.’ ” Shepherd’s order bans the state from enforcing the law that requires a three-member panel of health professionals review medical malpractice claims before a lawsuit is filed. Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed the bill into law, and his administration touts it as “the first step toward tort reform” on the website of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which administers it. A Bevin spokeswoman said Monday the administration will challenge Shepherd’s decision. “We are…

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Tort reforms facing legal challenges in three states

In contrast with the federal government—where a House-passed medical liability reform bill languishes in the Senate—many states have found success enacting tort reforms that better serve patients and physicians. But court cases are challenging reforms in place in at least three states. In Maryland and Michigan, plaintiffs’ attorneys are using what is described as “artful pleading” to skirt pre-trial measures that assess the merits of a complaint and its worthiness for going to court. And in Kentucky, a suit has challenged the constitutionality of its new law authorizing medical review boards to assess the merits of a complaint. The Litigation Center of the American Medical Association has filed amicus briefs in the Maryland and Michigan cases in which patients sued for injuries incurred after falling. By claiming ordinary negligence instead of medical malpractice, the plaintiffs bypassed review processes. The cases have gone through the trial and appellate courts and are now before the high court in both states. Dispute-resolution office bypassed in Maryland In Davis v. Frostberg Facility Operations, patient Sheila Davis was admitted to a nursing facility following back surgery. At one point, her mattress came loose and she fell on the floor. A nurse placed her on a mechanical lift to help her…

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