Archives: April 2013

NY Physicians Demand Liability Cost Reduction, Protest Medicare Cuts , at Annual Meeting

At a time when New York physicians face a combustible mix of significant Medicare sequestration cuts, the requirement to implement costly mandatory electronic medical record and ICD-10 reporting systems, and deal with new federal health care reforms, New York State must do all in its power to bring down the extraordinary cost of medical liability insurance, urged physicians at the Medical Society of the State of New York’s Annual House of Delegates meeting this past weekend. “The public needs to be aware that expanding the availability of health insurance coverage to New Yorkers will not enhance timely quality care for patients unless steps are taken to assure that physicians can remain in practice to provide this care” stated Dr. Sam Unterricht, a Brooklyn ophthalmologist who became MSSNY’s new President at this meeting. “To do this, we need to reduce our egregious overhead costs, reduce unnecessary and time-consuming administrative burdens and receive fair payment from insurers for the care we provide to our patients.” New York physicians, particularly those who practice in the NYC-metropolitan region, pay medical liability premiums that are far more than most of their colleagues across the country. For example, for just a single year of coverage, the…

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Doctors win first safe harbor against ACA use in liability suits

Physician leaders hope a first-of-its-kind bill approved in Georgia protecting doctors from civil liability for breaching federal health system reform requirements will be replicated in other states. Medical associations long have been concerned that federal quality-of-care and payment reform measures, such as those authorized by the Affordable Care Act, could be used to fuel negligence accusations against individual physicians. The Georgia law, drafted from American Medical Association model legislation, prevents such health reform metrics from being used as evidence in liability cases. Georgia’s law states that payer guidelines and quality criteria under federal law shall not establish a legal basis for negligence or a standard of care for the purposes of determining medical liability. “We’re saying if it’s a breach in those federal guidelines based on administrative behavior, let’s make sure that evidence is not admissible in court, and more than anything, let’s make sure that evidence is not being used as a determinant in the standard of care,” said Marcus Downs, director of government relations for the Medical Assn. of Georgia, which advocated for the enactment of the shield law. “There could be some [administrative] wrongdoing, but it is definitely not malpractice. It’s definitely not negligence.” The passage of…

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