Archives: July 2010

September 2007 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 2, Issue 9 September 2007 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: John Edwards’ Medical Liability Reform Proposals – a “Nothingburger?” Texas Legislator Introduces National Reform Bill in Congress Illinois on the Edge Mississippi on the Mend The EMS Shortage John Edwards’ Medical Liability Reform Proposals – a “Nothingburger?” Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said this week that some reform of America’s medical liability system is needed. The former trial lawyer believes that attorneys should have to demonstrate the merit of their medical liability cases before they file them. He added that attorneys with a history of frivolous suits should be prohibited from bringing further cases (sic). This sounds like the “certificate of merit” laws already in effect in some states, which generally require a third party expert to pass on the merit of the case. Protect Patients Now believes that certificate of merit laws can be useful, but they are not a substitute for comprehensive reform and will not alone end the access to care crisis that patients are facing across the country. For once, Protect Patients Now actually agrees with the personal injury lawyer lobby. As Bill Schulz, spokesman for…

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October 2007 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 2, Issue10 October 2007 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: McCain Calls for Medical Liability Reform The Continuing Patient Access to Care Crisis I The Continuing Patient Access to Care Crisis II Meanwhile, Back At the Ranch…. McCain Calls for Medical Liability Reform In a rousing speech on healthcare in Iowa earlier this month, Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain joined the growing number of candidates calling for reform of our broken medical liability system. “We cannot let the search for high-quality care be derailed by frivolous lawsuits and excessive damage awards,” McCain said. “We must pass liability reform.” The candidate known for his “straight talk” laid down a direct challenge to the opposing party, saying that if they “are sincere in their conviction that health care coverage and quality is their first priority, then they will put the needs of patients before the demands of trial lawyers. But they can´t have it both ways.” You can read Senator McCain´s full speech here. The Continuing Patient Access to Care Crisis I A new eye-popping survey of U.S. physicians highlights the growing crisis in patient access to quality medical care. Conducted by the national…

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November 2007 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 2, Issue11 November 2007 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Sunshine State Looking Cloudy for Patients Patient Access to Care Crisis Erupts in Hawaii What, Me Worry? Déjà vu All Over Again in Illinois Mitt Romney Calls For an End to Frivolous Lawsuits Sunshine State Looking Cloudy for Patients In April, Protect Patients Now reported on the growing physician shortage in Florida’s Palm Beach County, and the tragic outcome when one emergency patient couldn’t find the care he needed at a critical time. A new study released by Florida State University has found that the shortage is statewide and worse than previously believed. Earlier estimates had pegged the number of Florida physicians at about 50,000. But the FSU study found the number is actually closer to 34,000. None of this is good news for patients. With medical lawsuit abuse and out-of-control liability costs discouraging new doctors from setting up practice in Florida and forcing many others to leave the state or retire early, the future looks increasingly cloudy for patients in the sunshine state. The study found that a full 13 percent of Florida’s doctors plan to leave or significantly reduce…

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December 2007 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 2, Issue12 December 2007 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: A Time for Choosing in the US Senate Personal Injury Lawyers — Hoist on Their Own Petard The Floodwaters Have Stopped Rising – For Now Family Doctors and Their Patients Feel the Pinch A Time for Choosing in the US Senate On December 12, Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) offered an amendment to this year’s farm bill designed to address the severe shortage of OB-GYN doctors in rural America. His Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Rural Access to Care amendment would help pay medical expenses and put reasonable limits on non-economic damages in medical liability lawsuits.  Unfortunately, the amendment failed.  But DMLR applauds Senator Gregg’s efforts to bring this important issue to the forefront. Today, nearly half of all the States in our nation are suffering a crisis in the availability of high-quality obstetrical care services because frivolous lawsuits have driven thousands of OB-GYNS to stop delivering babies.  Senator Gregg’s home state of New Hampshire is a case in point, where double-digit premium increases have left only one practicing obstetrician in the entire rural North Country. Once again, it was the “Time…

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January 2008 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 3, Issue 1 JANUARY 2008 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: A “Silent Crisis” for Maryland Patients For Patients, A Dangerous Precedent Personal Injury Lawyers Uncork the Champagne Doctors Fight Back A “Silent Crisis” for Maryland Patients A new study on the shortage of physicians in Maryland warns of a “silent crisis” that will become increasingly acute without reform of the state’s medical liability laws among other measures. The Maryland Physician Workforce Study, which was commissioned by the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) with support of MedChi, found the state has 16% fewer physicians in clinical practice than the national average, based on population. The shortage is particularly severe in medical specialties, including emergency medicine, anesthesiology, hematology/oncology, thoracic and vascular surgery, psychiatry and dermatology, but the shortage also extends to primary care. Rural areas of the state are hardest hit, but all regions are having trouble finding specialists to cover their ER’s. The report warns that the access to care crisis will continue to deepen as the population ages and medical residents choose more patient-friendly states in which to settle and practice. As Maryland physician and DMLR spokesman, Dr. Scott Maizel, writes…

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February 2008 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 3, Issue 2 FEBRUARY 2008 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: New Medical Liability Reform Legislation Sent to Congress Personal Injury Lawyers Never Sleep (Unfortunately) New Study Finds Medical Liability Reform Works Hawaii Update Good News from Ohio New Medical Liability Reform Legislation Sent to Congress On February 15, President Bush sent legislation to the US Congress, under the Medicare Modernization Act, that would reduce overall spending in the Medicare program. The legislation includes medical liability reform provisions, including reasonable limits on non-economic damages. According to federal law, the administration is required to submit remedies if more than 45% of Medicare spending is derived from general revenues for two years in a row. As such is the case, the White House has submitted legislation that would implement the President’s medical liability reform agenda as one element in a three-part plan to lower costs. In his letter to Nancy Pelosi and Dick Cheney (in his role as President of the Senate), HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt points out that our “courts are littered with junk lawsuits” and that the current system encourages defensive medicine, “which raises the costs of Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs,…

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March 2008 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 3, Issue 3 MARCH 2008 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Citizen Action at Work in Colorado Doctors Rally For Reform in New York Oregon Dodges a Bullet — Again Personal Injury Lawyers Up the Ante Thirty-eight Million Dollars Citizen Action at Work in Colorado A movement in the Colorado House to dramatically raise the limits on awards in medical liability cases (as the Senate did earlier) has been temporarily halted, as the House committee hearing the bill delayed action after being flooded with calls and emails from Colorado citizens fearful that the move would imperil their access to care and drive up medical costs. Protect Patients Now – and the people of Colorado – want to thank those who responded to our email blast alerting our readers to the impending vote and used our website to send emails to their Colorado lawmakers. It is now more important than ever to keep up the pressure. To read a report on the vote, click here, and to add your voice to those who want to save reform in Colorado, click here. Doctors Rally For Reform in New York About 1,500 doctors in…

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April 2008 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 3, Issue 4 APRIL 2008 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Patients and Physicians Held Hostage by Politics In Pennsylvania Good News from Ohio and Illinois New Study Compares Tort Systems — Reform Improves Health Care for Patients Voter Victory In Wisconsin Patients and Physicians Held Hostage by Politics In Pennsylvania Pennsylvania’s inability to reform its broken medical liability system has forced it to provide insurance premium subsidies to some 35,000 of its physicians and other medical professionals to keep them from fleeing the state. That subsidy has now fallen victim to a dispute between Governor Rendell and the Pennsylvania Senate, with the Governor refusing to approve its extension until lawmakers agree to a $1 billion expansion of healthcare coverage to the uninsured. This kind of politicking strikes PPN as a good way to make a bad situation worse, for the uninsured and every other patient whose access to care is being limited by Pennsylvania’s physician shortage. Without the subsidy, primary-care doctors will have to pay out an additional $12,500 a year, while high-risk specialists will see their premiums spike an additional $13,000 (for general surgeons) to $18,000 (for neurosurgeons) over…

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May 2008 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 3, Issue 5 MAY 2008 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Medical Liability Reform Helps Cover the Uninsured McCain Stumps for Medical Liability Reform Blunt Talk in Missouri on Reform Judicial Reversal In Georgia Florida’s Legal Climate: From Worse to Worser Short Takes Good Reading Medical Liability Reform Helps Cover the Uninsured A new study by the Perryman Group on the effect of lawsuit reform for Texas residents and patients concludes that 8.5% of the Lone Star State’s economic growth since 1995 is attributable to reform, including $2.6 billion extra in tax revenue and the creation of 499,000 permanent jobs that would not have existed otherwise. But those interested in reforming our nation’s health system — especially those concerned with covering the uninsured — should pay particular attention to the Perryman study’s finding: that 430,000 additional Texans have health insurance today as a result of the state’s 2003 medical liability reforms. You can read the full study, which covers the wide ranging “domino effect of immediate, positive developments” brought on by medical liability reform here. The Perryman study adds support to the analysis by the Pacific Research Institute, reported on in…

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June 2008 Newsletter

Click here to download PDF Protect Patients Now Volume 3, Issue 6 June 2008 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Personal Injury Lawyers Target Michigan Reforms More Proof of Why We Need National Medical Liability Reform Good Reading Personal Injury Lawyers Target Michigan Reforms A new report released this month by the Manhattan Institute as part of their “Trial Lawyers Inc.” series highlights the stepped up legal assault on Michigan’s successful legal reforms, including medical liability reform.  “Michigan on Trial: Litigation Industry Looks to Recapture Great Lakes State,” focuses on the formidable lobbying and public-relations resources that personal injury lawyers have marshaled to take back the courts, most recently as part of the efforts to unseat “Top Target” Supreme Court Justice Clifford W. Taylor, an expert in tort law who has been at the forefront of the effort to improve the legal climate in Michigan. The report warns that if personal injury lawyers are successful in turning back the clock on Michigan’s reforms, “the consequences for Michigan’s already suffering economy could be severe.” You can read the full report here.  Elsewhere, it’s been a mixed bag this month in the on-going legal battles by personal injury lawyers to overturn medical…

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