Archives: December 2013

December 2013 Newsletter

Protect Patients Now Volume 8, Issue 12 December 2013 Newsletter E-Newsletter Special points of interest: Missouri Lawmakers Add Liability Reform to Top of 2014 Agenda The Cure for Too Much Treatment Wishing You a Joyous Holiday Season Missouri Lawmakers Add Liability Reform to Top of 2014 Agenda Looking ahead to 2014, lawmakers in Missouri have filed a bill to rein in health care costs and reduce medical lawsuit abuse throughout the state. The past several years have brought uncertainty to the state’s liability climate as reforms passed in 2005 were opposed by personal injury lawyers who were subsequently successful in persuading the State Supreme Court to overturn them in 2012. With a system that works for neither patients nor physicians, Representative Eric Burlison has introduced a bill (HB 1173) to restore reasonable limits on noneconomic damages and reduce medical lawsuit abuse. “As we look for ways to contain health care costs for Missourians and retain medical professionals, reasonable medical malpractice limits are a vital component,” said Rep. Burlison. “Many other states, including Missouri before the Supreme Court’s decision, have used limits effectively to keep the cost of health care affordable for everyone. We need limits in place again to bring the kind…

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Missouri to Revisit Medical Lawsuit Limit

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers plan to try again to limit how much money people can receive in medical malpractice lawsuits. Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones said the liability limits are a priority for the 2014 session. And Rep. Eric Burlison of Springfield already is promoting a bill. Republican lawmakers want to reinstate a $350,000 limit on noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, which was struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court in July 2012. The court said the limit violated a common-law right to seek damages for medical malpractice that predated the adoption of a state constitution in 1820. The proposed legislation would abolish that common-law right and instead make medical liability lawsuits subject to state law. A similar bill stalled earlier this year in the Senate.

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You’re Getting Too Much Healthcare

For people who had been awaiting the rollout of the Affordable Care Act in order to obtain health insurance for the first time, the major problem associated with American healthcare has been a lack of access to it. But for a surprising number of Americans, the greater problem may be exactly the opposite: They are receiving too much healthcare. And that’s not good news for either their wallets or their physical well-being. The most recent estimate from the Institute of Medicine is that about 30 percent of total healthcare expenditures in America go toward unneeded care. Doctors, too, have acknowledged the problem: In a 2011 survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 42 percent of American primary care physicians said that patients in their own practice were getting more care than necessary. Excessive care typically takes the form of overabundant referrals to specialists, more diagnostic tests than would be medically necessary, or too many prescriptions—but in some cases, it can extend to actual treatments or surgeries that are not clinically indicated. Richard Baron, president of the American Board of Internal Medicine, is candid about the problem. “There were and are lots of things being done in healthcare that don’t…

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