April 2015 Newsletter

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  • April 30, 2015

A Win in Washington for Patients

Legislators in Washington gave patients a win earlier this month, passing legislation that will improve the nation’s medical liability climate and ensure greater access to care.

By a bipartisan vote of 92-8, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, which includes a provision to protect against the potential abuse of health care quality measures and payment methodologies. President Obama signed the bill into law on April 16.

The language, taken from the Standard of Care Protection Act, ensures that federal health care guidelines and regulations will not unintentionally open up new avenues for the pursuit of meritless lawsuits. The House of Representatives passed this bill last month by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 392-37.

“Under the bill that passed the House and Senate, health care providers need no longer fear that federal health care programs may be used, outside their intended purpose, to create new causes of action for medical liability lawsuits,” said Mike Stinson, HCLA Chair. “We are pleased with the bipartisan work of Congress to protect the physician-patient relationship as well as the integrity of federal programs intended to improve our health care system.”

The Health Coalition on Liability and Access applauds the bipartisanship in Washington that closed the loophole on medical liability and gave patients and physicians reassurance that quality care would not be in jeopardy.

An Optimal Outcome for Iowa Candor Legislation

The medical community and attorneys came together in Iowa for a rare partnership that led to an optimal outcome for patients across the state.

Signed into law by Governor Branstad, the Communication and Optimal Resolution (Candor) legislation was modeled on successful programs in Michigan, Massachusetts, and other states that have chosen this path when results of medical procedures differ from the intended outcome.

The bill passed in Iowa establishes an alternative way to settle adverse medical outcomes that allows patients and physicians to have open and honest discussions – but with an avenue to go through the court system at any time.

These alternatives allow deserving patients to be compensated in a timely manner and give physicians closure on difficult and unexpected cases.

The Candor bill was the culmination of three years of work between the Iowa Medical Society and the Iowa Association of Justice – with success achieved on improving the state’s medical liability reform for the first time since 2006.

To read the Candor bill in full, click here.