Category Archives: Nevada

September 2017 Newsletter

Liability concerns drive up defensive medicine, cost of care Providing treatment above what is medically necessary to fend off the threat of a lawsuit continues to be a trend – and a major driver of health care cost increases. A study of over 2100 physicians conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that more than two-thirds of respondents believe that 15-30% of tests, procedures, and prescriptions were unnecessarily recommended. The reason? Liability concerns. Over 80% of the physicians surveyed cited the fear of medical liability lawsuits as the justification for practicing defensive medicine. “Addressing overtreatment can have a major impact on rising healthcare costs in the U.S.,” the authors wrote. “Using the Institute of Medicine’s estimate of excess costs arising from overtreatment, a 50% reduction in ‘unnecessary services’ would result in $105 billion in savings each year, or about 4% of total national healthcare spending.” With a patchwork of laws leaving uncertainty about the liability climate from state to state, physicians surveyed recommended a series of changes that could help in the interim, including improved training on appropriate criteria for care, more accessible medical records, and evidence-based practice guidelines. To read more about the Johns Hopkins study on defensive medicine, click…

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Brace Yourself for an Ob/Gyn Shortage by 2020

Depending on where you live in the United States, it could already be tough to find an obstetrician/gynecologist—almost half of U.S. counties lack one, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But recent studies show that the problem is only going to get worse, with some cities at risk for a severe shortage in the coming years. In July, Doximity, a social networking site for health care providers, released a study identifying 10 metropolitan areas that are most at risk for an ob/gyn shortage. After surveying 30,000 ob/gyns across the country and considering their age and workload, they found that the top five cities deemed most “at risk” are Las Vegas; Orlando, Florida; Los Angeles; Miami; and Riverside, California. Doximity’s study is hardly the only research on the shortage. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently estimated that by 2020, there will be up to 8,000 fewer ob/gyns than needed across the country. “One of the reasons we put this report together was because of anecdotal stuff we were hearing,” Joel Davis, vice president of strategic analytics and growth at Doximity, tells SELF. “We wanted to bring transparency to the trend, because through that, policy decisions can be made. It can take…

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Nevada justices uphold medical malpractice damages cap

The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday upheld major provisions of the state’s medical malpractice law, overturning a judge who found that a $350,000 cap on non-economic damages was unconstitutional. The unanimous decision, written by Chief Justice James Hardesty, said the state statute in question does not violate a plaintiff’s constitutional right to trial by jury. The court also overturned the lower court determination that the $350,000 cap applied separately to each plaintiff and defendant. Finally the court overturned the finding by Clark County District Judge Jerry Wiese that said the tort reform law applied only to professional negligence and not to medical malpractice. The opinion granted a petition filed by Dr. Stephen Tam related to a medical malpractice case out of Clark County. A lawsuit was filed in 2011 against Tam and others alleging they did not provide proper care to Charles Cornell while he was a patient at Desert Lane Care Center and that he died as a result. Cornell died in 2010 when he was discharged without medication or a prescription for insulin to treat his diabetes. The case has not yet proceeded to trial. Tam asked the Supreme Court to intervene first. Wiese, in a preliminary ruling…

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