Protect Patients Now

Volume 7, Issue 7 July 2012 Newsletter


Special points of interest:

Liability Causes Long Term Care Costs to Skyrocket
New Jersey Patients Coming Up Short
Leading Voice on Health Care Supports Liability Reform

Liability Causes Long Term Care Costs to Skyrocket

Long term care facilities, already in demand and facing dwindling reimbursements and resources, find themselves on the brink of a cost crisis – unless reforms are made to our broken medical liability system.

This is according to a new report by Aon Risk Solutions, which led to calls for medical liability reform by the American Health Care Association/National Coalition for Assisted Living, a long term care advocacy organization.

“Lengthy, costly litigation drives up costs for our residents, long term care facilities and ultimately taxpayers. This analysis shows costs exploding in states without meaningful, effective medical liability reform. As state and federal governments search for ways to contain health care costs, this is one area that warrants close examination,” said Mark Parkinson, Governor and CEO of the National Coalition for Assisted Living.

The report found that since 2005, liability costs have grown from $1,040 per bed to a projected $1,480 in 2012; they’re expect to rise again in 2013 to $1,540.

Preserving access to long term care for our elderly patients requires a long term solution that includes comprehensive medical liability reforms at the federal level. To read more about how our nation’s broken medical liability reform system is hurting our long-term care facilities and patients, click here.

New Jersey Patients Coming Up Short

Patients in New Jersey, especially women, are faced with long waiting times for appointments, and limited access to obstetricians and other specialty physicians.The reason? Physician shortages in New Jersey have left a 12 percent gap between physician supply and demand, thanks to staggering liability costs and the threat of meritless lawsuits.

While New Jersey’s medical schools graduated 860 physicians in 2009, only 370 stayed in the state. By 2020, New Jersey is expected to be short an additional 3,000 physicians needed to care for its population.

Marcus Raynor, executive director of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance, has heard from doctors up and down the state about how they are forced to change the way they run their practice in order to avoid the threat of meritless lawsuits.

Raynor writes that without fixing the state’s medical liability system, “we will continue to educate other states’ doctors at the expense of our own access to health care.” Click here to read more about how liability reforms can ensure that New Jersey patients get the care they need when they need it.

Leading Voice on Health Care Supports Liability Reform

In an opinion piece this month, former Health and Human Services Secretary and current U.S. Senate candidate from Wisconsin Tommy Thompson lays out his ideas for fundamental health care changes – including federal medical liability reform.

“Frivolous and excessive litigation is driving up medical costs through burdensome medical malpractice insurance, court interference and pressure on doctors to practice so-called ‘defensive medicine,'” Thompson writes.

His proposal – to make comprehensive reforms to our current health care system that include reasonable limits on noneconomic damages and penalties for frivolous lawsuits.

By doing so, Thompson believes we can enact a “market-based solution that relies on the efficiency and innovation of the private sector to solve our most pressing health care challenges.” To read his op-ed in full, click here.

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