Archives: December 2010

May 2009 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 4, Issue 5 MAY 2009 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Sooner, Rather Than Later Liability Reform Leverage Crisis in PA Far From Over Reform Relapse in Arkansas Sooner, Rather Than Later Oklahoma’s moniker as the Sooner State may now take on a different meaning – passing medical liability reform sooner, rather than later. Under the Comprehensive Lawsuit Reform Act that overwhelmingly passed the Oklahoma House and Senate and was signed by Governor Brad Henry, reasonable limits on non-economic damages cannot exceed $400,000. The bill also protects doctors and preserves access to care for patients in Oklahoma by reducing the number of frivolous lawsuits brought on by trial lawyers and requiring a certified expert to testify in medical liability cases. According to an Oklahoma House of Representatives statement, 70% of medical liability claims were dismissed between 2004 and 2007, but Oklahoma’s major physician insurance company spent $50 million defending those cases. As we have seen in other states, these reforms should have an immediate impact on keeping doctors practicing in Oklahoma – instead of fleeing across the Red River to friendlier liability climates in Texas. Oklahomans will have access to the care they need, when they need…

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June 2009 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 4, Issue 6 JUNE 2009 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: PPN Joins Forces with National Coalition Let’s Be Serious A Surge of Support PPN Joins Forces with National Coalition Protect Patients Now is pleased to announce a new strategic partnership with the Health Coalition on Liability and Access, bringing together two of the most influential groups in the medical liability reform debate to ensure that this important issue is included in any comprehensive health care reform effort considered by the U.S. Congress. The HCLA is a national coalition made up of organizations representing physicians, hospitals, health care insurers, businesses, producers of medicines and health care consumers, and is dedicated to enacting comprehensive federal medical liability reform. “As Congress and the President tackle the monumental task of reforming our health care system, we must make sure that medical liability reform is included,” said DMLR Chair Stuart L. Weinstein, M.D. “The current system is not good for patients — it drives up health care costs, and drives good doctors out of the practice of medicine, leaving patients without care.” “By working with the HCLA, we’re bringing together the key stakeholders in the debate to advance a coordinated…

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July 2009 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 4, Issue 7 JULY 2009 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: PPN Launches Patient Petition to Support Medical Liability Reform Advances for Arizona Patients Do No Harm Washington Post Sees the Light on Reform PPN Launches Patient Petition to Support Medical Liability Reform Just last week, PPN launched a petition drive to gather support for including medical liability reform in any health care reform legislation passed by the US Congress. If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to review the petition and add your name to our growing list of supporters. As you well know, there is widespread agreement among policy makers, opinion leaders, health care policy experts, and the public that our nation’s medical liability system does not serve the needs of patients. Medical liability reform is necessary to bring down health care costs for all patients, reduce the billions of dollars spent each year on defensive medicine, and to ensure patient access to quality medical care. True health care reform is only possible if it includes changes to our medical liability system. Click here to sign the Protect Patients Now medical liability reform petition. Thank you for your continued support! Advances for Arizona Patients…

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August 2009 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 4, Issue 8 AUGUST 2009 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Court Rulings Increase Lawsuit Abuse, Reduce Patient Care Too Much, Too Soon A Bit of Good News Sign the Medical Liability Reform Petition Court Rulings Increase Lawsuit Abuse, Reduce Patient Care In separate rulings by both the Maryland and Wisconsin State Supreme Courts, physicians face increased liability risks for failing to present patients with all relevant treatment alternatives and risk. Further, both courts clarified that proof of negligence is not required for plaintiffs to file informed consent claims. Of course, physicians have a responsibility to properly advise their patients on treatment options and risks, but many fear the rulings could do more harm than good to patient care. “No physician wants a patient who is uninformed. But giving them a whole lot of technical information they can’t understand or use doesn’t increase choice. It makes the right choice less likely,” said Ruth Heitz, Wisconsin Medical Society General Counsel. In Maryland, medical liability defense attorney J. Mark Coulson said the ruling gives plaintiffs another avenue for recovery even when a doctor has met the standard of care. “This opens up the area of physician judgment to patient…

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September 2009 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 4, Issue 9 september 2009 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Is Congress Serious About Medical Liability Reform? PPN Delivers Petitions to Capitol Hill New Poll Says 78% Support Medical Liability Reform Personal Injury Lawyers Even More Aggressive Not to be Missed Is Congress Serious About Medical Liability Reform? Following President Obama’s remarks in support of medical liability reform during his address to Congress on health care reform, many of us were hopeful that Congress would follow his leadership and include this important issue in legislation. Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed when Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus released his proposal the following week, only mentioning medical liability reform in an expression of a “Sense of the Senate” that there should be consideration of state-based demonstration projects on liability reform. The proposal did not even move to codify or formalize these demonstration projects – it merely expressed support for considering them. During the second day of the Finance Committee’s consideration of the health care bill, three senators introduced amendments to include meaningful medical liability reforms, which were promptly denied by Senator Baucus, who deemed them out of the committee’s jurisdiction. DMLR Chairman Stuart L. Weinstein, MD released a…

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October 2009 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 4, Issue 10 OCTOber 2009 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: New Poll Shows Americans Want Medical Liability Reform CBO Concludes that Medical Liability Reform Reduces Health Care Costs Paging Dr. Weinstein New Poll Shows Americans Want Medical Liability Reform A new poll released this week by the Health Coalition on Liability and Access, a strategic partner of Protect Patients Now, shows that the public overwhelmingly supports meaningful medical liability reform and believes it should be included in health care reform legislation passed by the Congress. According to the poll, 62% of those surveyed responded that they want their elected representatives in Washington to support medical liability reform, and 69% believe that reform should be included in health care legislation. Further, 72% of survey respondents were concerned that a lack of doctors might impact the availability and quality of the care they receive, 70% support reform that includes reasonable limits on non-economic damages, and 68% favor a law that limits personal injury lawyers’ fees. The public has voiced their support for medical liability reform loud and clear. It’s time for Congress to listen to their constituents. Read the complete poll results here. CBO Concludes that Medical Liability…

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November 2009 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 4, Issue 11 November 2009 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: PPN Petition Going to US Senate – Last Chance to Sign Missouri Gives Thanks to Liability Reform Medical Liability Land Mine Public Opinion Says It All PPN Petition Going to US Senate – Last Chance to Sign If you haven’t signed PPN’s congressional petition supporting medical liability reform, please due so now. As the health care reform debate begins on the Senate Floor, we are making another push to include as many signatures as possible before delivering this important information to Capitol Hill. Please take a moment to tell your Senators that medical liability reform must be included in health care reform legislation. Many thanks to all PPN supporters who signed the petition earlier this year. As reported in this newsletter, more than 14,000 doctors, patients, and concerned citizens from all across the country have signed our petition urging Congress to include medical liability reform in health care legislation. This information was delivered prior to the debate in the Senate Finance Committee. Make your voice heard. Together, we can stop medical lawsuit abuse. Click here to sign the PPN Congressional petition today. Missouri Gives Thanks to Liability…

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OPINION: Alaska’s legal climate far from harsh

Obamacare has been passed with great fanfare, but many Americans, unsure how the massive government program will work for them, are taking to the streets voicing their protests. Personal injury lawyers, on the other hand, are drinking champagne and voicing their approval, because they know Obamacare will work well for them. The American Association for Justice (AAJ), formerly and more accurately called the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, is ecstatic that the health care bill lacks any provisions to protect doctors and hospitals from abusive lawsuits. One AAJ boss bragged about defeating tort-reform measures and blocking a cap on attorneys’ fees. Americans can thank the AAJ for thus explaining why health care is expensive and complicated now, and is certain to get more so under Obamacare, while lawyers’ profits are certain to rise. For a better path to reform, consider Alaska, a state that appreciates and welcomes doctors, instead of targeting them with predatory lawsuits. As the just-released U.S. Tort Liability Index: 2010 Report points out, Alaska has the sixth-lowest medical liability costs in the country, after controlling for the size of each state’s health care sector. In contrast, New York has the highest costs and alone accounted for…

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