The Mississippi Legislature in a public forum was asked to take on the malpractice crisis. The forum was of the insurance, business and medical industries. The trial lawyers call the statements at the meeting that he did not attend half truths and exaggerations. There was a special committee formed to deal with tort reform. The panel will reconvene on August 14. A member of that committee was at the meeting at told the audience that the members are serious about finding a solution.
Nevada passed unanimously tort reform for $350,000 non-economic damages. Also passed was a $50,000 damage limit for the physicians working on acute trauma. This does not extend to their offices when they follow-up a patient. The trauma center has enough support until August 27. It is unknown if their is any support past that date. The legislation also allows for exceptions to the caps for gross malpractice or clear and convincing evidence that the damage should exceed the cap. I wonder what those words mean. To me, they are vague enough to get the cap thrown out as unconstitutional or to get more money in most cases. The OBs have not started to take more patients since their malpractice premiums are predicated on how many deliveries they do. The Governor, who pushed hard for the bill, signed it into law. Top
The California Medical Association has withdran its opposition to the legislation that will allow more physician information to be published. The Board would have to prioritize its investigations as to patients that have died or harmed as a result of perceived misconduct. This takes the Board out of the mode of looking at physicians who practice alternative medicine as a priority. The Board can only publish settlements if the physician is in a low risk specialty and has three or more settlements in a ten year period. Those physicians in high risk specialties would need four or more settlement to trigger disclosure. The settlements are future, not past. The only ones not at all happy with the compromise is the insurance companies who believe that physicians will now avoid settlements and go to court more often. Top
David Arndt, MD had his license suspended by the Massachusetts Medical Board for leaving a patient in the middle of a spinal fusion operation in order to make a bank deposit. The anesthesiologist reported the incident to the hospital which immediately suspended the surgeons privileges and reported the incident to the Board.
Dr. Gary Lustgarten, a neurosurgeon, had his license revoked by the North Carolina Board for his testimony in a malpractice case. The Board chastised the physicians for misstating the standard of care in a neurosurgical case and that the defendant falsified records, when no evidence existed that such occurred. The Board stated that giving testimony falls within the state practice of medicine standard. This could keep other physicians from testifying, but it shouldn't if they stick to the truth. Other physician sin the past have been disciplined by their Boards for their testimony. This has been upheld in the courts. Dr. Lustgarten did not show for the hearing on his license since he practices in Florida and has no intention of practicing in North Carolina.
The Florida Pharmacy Board is investigating the pharmacies in west Palm beach. A psychiatrist, Dr. George Kubski, had prescribed over 19,000 pills for a 30 year old female who died of a drug overdose. The investigation will center on why the pharmacies did not question the amounts and types of pills prescribed. Dr. Kubski has had his license suspended by the state. Top
In May the CMS discussed in a preliminary rule the physician on call question. The CMS has now delayed the final rule regarding this question. Top
WE HAVE LIFT-OFF!! On August 14, the final privacy regs
were released on the Federal Register. The consent requirement is
gone. However, the notice of privacy practices will need to be signed at
the first face to face or electronic visit or a notice in the record as to why
it wasn't signed. The minimum necessary requirement for treatment, payment, or health
care operations is gone. The notice of privacy practices is in but is much
kinder and gentler than its consent cousin. (Whoops, wrong Bush). Patients
must give specific authorization before disclose of health information for
non-routine things such as marketing or release of information to employers.
These disclosures would require telling a patient about all of them if the
patient asks. The patient still has the right to access their own information
and to REQUEST an amendment to the information. The entire document is 440
pages in length and more detail will come out as we read it more
DISCLAIMER: Although this article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented.