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October 2020 Newsletter

PPN | National, News, Newsletter | Source | October 29, 2020

Alternative approaches to COVID-19 liability As the COVID-19 pandemic reaches new heights into the fall and winter, an opinion piece highlights the medical liability crisis that could lie ahead — and an alternative resolution. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, legal and medical experts William M. Sage, MD, JD; Richard C. Boothman, JD; and Thomas H. Gallagher, MD; analyzed liability insurance trends and non-traditional approaches to reform amid COVID-19. While some states have passed or enacted liability protections related to health care delivery during the health emergency, the opinion piece highlighted that the medical liability insurance market entered a new period of growth in 2018, with rates growing 5.4%. Rates for 2019 rose another 1.2%. The authors advocate for consideration of communication and resolution programs — such as the well-known ‘Michigan model’ — that allowed the health system to forgo excess coverage. This approach “reduced financial uncertainty by promptly resolving most well-founded claims without litigation,” the authors state. Now, the writers are urging policymakers to incorporate this alternative model in COVID-19 liability initiatives. “Applying communication and resolution program principles during the pandemic could both improve quality of care and avert high-dollar claims, which in turn could potentially…

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September 2020 Newsletter

PPN | National, News, Newsletter, Oregon | Source | September 29, 2020

Oregon court errs in liability ruling The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled against the state’s limits on non-economic damages for personal injury cases, with the state’s wrongful death cap remaining, putting an attractive place to practice medicine in limbo. Initially enacted in 1987, the reasonable limit of $500,000 on non-economic damages was found unconstitutional in 1999, but reinstated when the court overruled itself in 2016, before again changing its mind this year. This roller coaster ride created significant uncertainty for patients and physicians alike. The Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies, the Oregon Medical Association (OMA) and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) filed an amicus brief with the court urging the limits be maintained. “While physicians continue to provide quality healthcare to their patients as they have done for centuries, the burdens on the profession continue to increase. No one does their best work while under duress and physicians are no exception. For all patients to be able to receive quality health care and for our medical system to continue functioning, there must be reasonable limits on liability,” the brief stated. Unfortunately, the court ruled in a different direction. In striking down…

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August 2020 Newsletter

PPN | Michigan, National, News, Newsletter | Source | August 27, 2020

Just the facts: COVID-19 liability reforms As the need to head off a COVID-19 medical liability crisis grows, the American Medical Association (AMA) highlights the Health Coalition on Liability and Access’ (HCLA’s) advocacy efforts in building support for the facts of the matter. With COVID-19 cases building at a rate nearing 50,000 per day, risks of unwarranted lawsuits remain for physicians treating pandemic patients. This risk also threatens patient access to aspects of the health care system that may be disrupted as a result. Pending in the House of Representatives is H.R. 7059, the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act. Similar protections are included in S. 4317, the SAFE TO WORK Act, under consideration for the Senate pandemic stimulus bill. “Physicians and other health care professionals are putting themselves at risk every day while facing shortages of medical supplies and safety equipment, as well as changing directives and guidance from all levels of government,” then-AMA President Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, said previously. While opposition arguments exaggerate the reach and intent of the bill, the AMA highlights six arguments developed by the HCLA that spells out the reality of how pending legislation would address COVID-19 liability issues: • Providing limited and targeted protection…

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