Category Archives: Michigan

House Passes Health Care Apology Bill

Governor is expected to sign bill that keeps statements of concern out of court. There may be a good reason patients sometimes feel they get the cold shoulder from their doctors after being injured in a medical setting. The physicians may be afraid that even the slightest expression of concern or sympathy for the patient’s pain might be used against them in court. That fear could be alleviated in a bill Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to sign Wednesday after it passed the state House of Representatives on Tuesday. The “benevolent gesture” legislation would allow doctors to offer words of apology, condolence, explanation, compassion or commiseration to patients without fear of their words coming back to haunt them in court. The House passed the bill 202-0. The Senate approved the measure unanimously in June. “Medicine is not an exact science, and outcomes may be unpredictable. Benevolent gestures are always appropriate and physicians should not have to fear giving them,” said Dr. C. Richard Schott, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. With passage of the bill, “doctors will feel more comfortable doing so, knowing that an apology is inadmissible unless their expression admits fault.” The bill, which is part of Corbett’s…

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Without Reforms, Michigan Faces Physician Shortages

It's not in Gov. Rick Snyder's health care plan, but medical malpractice tort reforms could help Michigan deal with a nationwide doctor shortage. Other states — Texas most recently — have overtaken reforms Michigan adopted in the 1980s and 1990s. Loopholes and ambiguous legal provisions are eroding controls that once made this state a national leader in avoiding unwarranted and overblown liability awards, according to the Michigan State Medical Society. That could make it harder to recruit enough doctors to meet the growing needs of an aging population, not to mention the expected surge in newly insured families under the 2009 federal affordable health care act. Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, a cardiologist, argues that without new reforms Michigan's doctor dearth is likely to grow. Even if we take this step, trends aren't in our favor. One in every four Michigan doctors is older than 60 and approaching retirement, says the Medical Society, which represents about 16,000 Michigan doctors. Studies suggest the state will have a shortage of more than 4,500 physicians in fields such as pediatrics and internal medicine by 2020. Almost two-thirds of the state's doctors told the Medical Society in 2010 that their practices were full and they…

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