Archives: July 2010

November 2006 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 1, Issue 7 NOVEMBER Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: • Looking Forward • Nationwide Audience Hears Reform Message • Special Report on Texas: A Miracle in the Making • New Study Reveals Increase in Severity Claims  • Signs of Improvement Looking Forward: Educating New Members About Protecting Patients With the new Congress soon to be sworn in, Protect Patients Now will be actively engaged in educating new Members and providing their staffs with resources and information about the medical liability crisis and what it means to patients’ access to quality medical care. The priority for all of us must be protecting patients and ensuring that Americans get the best medical care possible. We want to thank all of those concerned citizens who signed our voter pledge. And we would like to send a special thank you to those in the Senate and on the campaign trail who signed our candidate pledge and helped our nation move forward toward commonsense reform of our broken medical liability system.   Nationwide Audience Hears Reform Message Over 11 million Americans across the country tuned in to hear plastic surgeon Dr. Phillip C. Haeck in a series…

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December 2006 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 1, Issue 8 December Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: • An Interview with Dr. Troy Tippet: Florida Neurosurgeon • Health Courts Alone Can’t Solve Crisis • “Lawyers on the Howl” • AMA President Calls Liability Rates “Obscene”  • DMLR Spokesman Weighs In On Reform Alternatives An Interview with Dr. Troy Tippett: Florida Neurosurgeon We recently sat down with Dr. Troy Tippett, a Florida neurosurgeon and past president of the Florida Medical Association, to talk about the worsening liability crisis in Florida. “The first thing to understand,” Dr. Tippett explains, “is that the reforms that the politicians are so proud of simply aren’t working, primarily because the so-called cap is too high – it’s $500,000 – and has more holes in it than a piece of Swiss cheese. It’s easy to push it up to $1 million, and a million dollar cap does nothing to reduce insurance premiums.” How bad are premiums? “I pay $80,000 a year for $250,000 worth of coverage. Which is close to absurd. If it goes up to $100,000, I won’t be able to afford it,” says Dr. Tippett. One glimmer of hope comes from the constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters that limits…

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January 2007 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 2, Issue 1 JANUARY Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: • A Message from Dr. Weinstein  • The “Halo Effect” • Public Citizen Perpetrates “Hoax.” • PPN Interviews Dr. Scott Maizel: Maryland’s “Perfect Storm” A Message from Dr. Weinstein Asked to reflect on the first year in action for PPN’s grassroots campaign, Dr. Weinstein, Chairman of DMLR, had this to say: “We should all be proud of the great progress Protect Patients Now has made in just one short year. We’ve grown our grassroots network by some 800% and educated the public and our federal lawmakers on the magnitude of the national medical liability crisis.” “Furthermore, we crossed a major milestone in 2006 when two leading Democratic Senators – and potential Presidential candidates – Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama conceded that there is indeed a medical liability crisis that is undermining patients’ ability to get the care they need. This is a dramatic change from the rigid denials of reform opponents in the past, and will help bring the debate on medical liability into the national spotlight in 2007 and as we gear up for the election in 2008.” “Medical liability reform is…

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February 2007 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 2, Issue 2 FEBRUARY Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: The Good The Bad The Ugly The Good, the Bad and the Ugly The Good….. This month, we start with the good news on the medical liability front. Medical liability reform, including reasonable limits on non-economic damages, is working in West Virginia and Nevada. Texas is overwhelmed by the positive effects of their reform efforts. Louisiana’s reform laws were upheld by that state’s Supreme Court. And the pro-reform forces in Illinois have gained a powerful advocate as they take their case to their Supreme Court. In West Virginia, the Charleston Area Medical Center is attributing a rise in new doctors to medical liability reforms passed in 2003 that put a $250,000 limit on non-economic damages. They’re now recruiting around 20 new doctors every year, says the hospital’s CEO, compared to almost zero before reform. See the full story here. In Nevada, doctors are coming back and insurance premiums are declining since the 2004 “Keep Our Doctors in Nevada” initiative placed reasonable limits on non-economic damages. See the full story here. In Texas, the anti-reform Houston Chronicle complains that reforms have been much too effective. That’s…

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March 2007 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 2, Issue 3 MARCH 2007 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: So It Isn’t a Figment Study Finds Majority of Claims Closed Without Payment News from the Frontlines So It Isn’t a Figment In January, we reported that Public Citizen was claiming that the medical liability crisis is a figment of our imaginations. Public Citizen should give a call to the Brookings Institution, the esteemed left-of-center think tank. Just this month, Alice Rivlin, OMB Director under President Clinton and former Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, co-authored a Brookings study on health care that makes some interesting observations on the medical liability crisis, to wit: it’s real and it’s driving insurance premiums sky-high. “The medical liability insurance system is in upheaval, with rapid increases in insurance premiums and the exit of major insurance carriers from the medical liability market. Between 2000 and 2002, malpractice insurance premiums rose by 15 percent on average for all physicians. High-risk specialties faced even larger premium hikes: 22 percent for obstetricians-gynecologists and 33 percent for internists and general surgeons. A general surgeon in Miami could expect to pay at least $174,000 a…

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April 2007 Newsletter

Click here to download pdf Protect Patients Now Volume 2, Issue 4 APRIL 2007 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: DMLR Spokesman Featured on Primelife Radio Show Trouble in Paradise Women and Children First 14 Closed Maternity Wards and Counting… DMLR Spokesman Featured on Primelife Radio Show DMLR spokesman Dr. Troy Tippett was recently featured on Pennsylvania’s Primelife radio program. In his interview with host Mark Daniels, Dr. Tippett discussed the crisis in our nation’s emergency rooms caused by medical lawsuit abuse. “It’s a silent storm in this country,” Dr. Tippett told his audience, and many patients “don’t really realize they may not have access to all the specialists they would like to have available. This is particularly true in some of the smaller communities, where there is just no availability of specialists such as neurosurgeons, trauma surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, all of whom have had to cut back on their practice in certain situations because they just can’t afford the liability insurance.” To listen to the full interview, click here. Trouble in Paradise A newly released report by the Palm Beach County Medical Society projects a shortfall of 356 doctors by 2011, with general surgeons, ob-gyns, thoracic surgeons and colorectal surgeons among…

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May 2007 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 2, Issue 5 MaY 2007 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: CBS Highlights Medical Liability Crisis Trial Lawyers Never Rest Absurd But All Too Familiar Why not the real thing? CBS Evening News Highlights Patient Access to Care Crisis CBS News anchor Katie Couric shone a national spotlight on the escalating medical liability crisis in Philadelphia last week and its impact on patient access to care.  Reporting on the closing of the fourteenth maternity ward in the Philadelphia area, Couric began her report with the harrowing account of Melissa Suszynski, whose placenta burst just two weeks before her due date. “I said, ‘What am I going to do? What am I going to do? I’m bleeding all over the place!’” …[Melissa] was rushed to the nearest hospital, Jeanes Medical Center, just seven miles away. Twelve minutes after she was admitted, she gave birth. “They said if it was five minutes longer, I wouldn’t have made it; my baby or I wouldn’t have made it,” Suszynski said. Living close to Jeanes saved their lives. But next week, Jeanes won’t be an option for new mothers: the hospital is closing its maternity ward. The…

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June 2007 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 2, Issue 6 JUNE 2007 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Comprehensive Reform Bill Introduced in U.S. Congress A Faustian Bargain In Pennsylvania? Texas Lawyers Trolling for Clients An Eloquent Plea for Sanity Comprehensive Reform Bill Introduced in U.S. Congress On June 6, Congressman Phil Gingery (R-GA) introduced The Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare Act (The HEALTH Act, H.R. 2580) to fix our broken medical liability system. This comprehensive reform legislation includes unlimited compensation for economic damages and places reasonable limits on non-economic damages. Doctors for Medical Liability Reform Chairman Stuart L. Weinstein, M.D. hailed the legislation and called on Congress to heed the will of the American people who support these reform measures in overwhelming numbers. Read the full statement by Stuart L. Weinstein, M.D. here. Congress can also heed the overwhelming mass of evidence supporting commonsense medical liability reform. That mountain of evidence just grew larger with a new meta-study (a study of studies) by scholars at The Lister Hill Center for Health Policy at the University of Alabama and The Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham. According to lead author Leonard J. Nelson III,…

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July 2007 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 2, Issue 7 JULY 2007 NEWSLETTER E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Medical Liability Reform As Campaign Issue The Media is Catching On Leading Think Tank Hosts Medical Liability Summit An Irreversible Crisis? Medical Liability Reform As Campaign Issue Health care has emerged as the number one domestic policy issue on the minds of presidential candidates of both parties. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have all proposed major overhauls of our health care system. The health care reform plan championed by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts went into effect July 1 and is getting extensive scrutiny. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani, as part of his broader heath care initiative, has decided to take personal injury lawyers head on. In a speech in Council Bluffs, Iowa on July 18, Giuliani condemned the “trial lawyer tax on our economy” that “costs over $9,000 for a family of four.” “They’re allowed to abuse the system,” the one-time Mayor of New York City said, promising that if he’s elected he’ll institute a loser pays rule and limit both non-economic damages and legal fees. Additionally, in a speech earlier this month in Cleveland, President…

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August 2007 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 2, Issue 8 August 2007 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Who Pays for Medical Lawsuit Abuse? The ER Crisis Hits Delaware Good News from Two Former Crisis States New York, New York, What a Mess! Who Pays for Medical Lawsuit Abuse? It’s not just patients and doctors. It’s every single taxpayer and wage earner in America. According to a new study published by “Health Affairs,” escalating medical liability awards and premiums pushed up Medicare spending by an astounding $15 billion between 2000 and 2003. Not surprisingly, much of this added cost came from an increased use of imaging services, commonly associated with the practice of defensive medicine. Read the full study here. The ER Crisis Hits Delaware Delaware’s trauma system is generally thought to be one of America’s best, but unfortunately, Delaware patients may soon experience first hand the spreading patient access to care crisis that is crippling our nation’s emergency rooms. Last week, The News Journal, of Wilmington, Delaware, reported that two of the state’s four downstate hospitals were forced to downgrade their trauma status due to a shortage of orthopaedic surgeons. “This glitch is a warning sign,” said Dr….

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