November 30, 2009
According to a Harvard study, only one in eight instances of medical negligence ever becomes a malpractice lawsuit. There have been numerous studies on frivolous lawsuits. Harvard University School of Public Health found in a study that 97 percent of all malpractice claims are meritorious. Meritorious means that the claims were brought after an injury and with a good faith basis in believing that a doctor committed medical negligence.
Subsequent to this study, “The New England Journal of Medicine” conducted further studies in 2006 into frivolous medical malpractice suits and determined that 75 percent of all malpractice lawsuits filed were justified and deserved payment. The article in The Journal stated: “The malpractice system performs reasonably well in its function of separating claims without merit from those with merit and compensating the latter.” The Journal further stated that the: “portrait of a malpractice system stricken with frivolous lawsuits is overblown.”
November 29, 2009
The fact is that companies and doctors have never lost their rights under the guise of so-called “tort reform” because these laws never limit the rights of corporations or professionals to sue to recover money. Unfortunately for most of the rest of us, our rights to go to court have been severely weakened – if not eliminated – against reckless companies, fraudulent misconduct or grossly negligent professionals.
In 1995, for example, Texas limited governmental and professional liability, decimated Texas’ Deceptive Claims Practices Act and severely limited punitive damages for companies whose misconduct is especially bad. Over the next decade, Texas went on to make it nearly impossible for patients injured by medical malpractice to get into court, laws so unfair that the state constitution had to be changed to allow it. At the same time, the Texas Medical Association was running to court to make sure managed care companies paid their doctors.
November 29, 2009
Read this article about the attempts at tort reform in Oregon. It is amazing to me that insurance miss-information machine is so well oiled and is working at full steam!
American Bar Association studies reflect that in the states which have embraced tort reform, there has been little or no reduction in the costs of medical malpractice insurance. And, keep in mind that the huge punitive damage verdicts which get our attention are returned by juries, not the judges or the lawyers. The people of the community must feel that the defendant needs to be punished, or they would not impose such large sums.
November 24, 2009
* Myth #1: There are too many “frivolous” malpractice lawsuits.
Fact: There’s an epidemic of medical negligence, not lawsuits. Only one in eight people injured by medical negligence ever file suit. Civil filings have declined eight percent over the last decade, and are less than one percent of the whole civil docket. A 2006 Harvard study found that 97 percent of claims were meritorious, stating, “portraits of a malpractice system that is stricken with frivolous litigation are overblown.”
* Myth #2: Malpractice claims drive up health care costs.
Fact: According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the total spent defending claims and compensating victims of medical negligence was just 0.3% of health care costs, and the Congressional Budget Office and Government Accountability Office have made similar findings.
* Myth #3: Doctors are fleeing.
Fact: Then where are they going? According to the American Medical Association’s own data, the number of practicing physicians in the United States has been growing steadily for decades. Not only are there more doctors, but the number of doctors is increasing faster than population growth. Despite the cries of physicians fleeing multiple states, the number of physicians increased in every state, and only four states saw growth slower than population growth; these four states all have medical malpractice caps.
* Myth #4: Malpractice claims drive up doctors’ premiums.
Fact: Empirical research has found that there is little correlation between malpractice payouts and malpractice premiums paid by doctors. A study of the leading medical malpractice insurance companies’ financial statements by former Missouri Insurance Commissioner Jay Angoff found that these insurers artificially raised doctors’ premiums and misled the public about the nature of medical negligence claims. A previous AAJ report on malpractice insurers found they had earnings higher than 99% of Fortune 500 companies.
* Myth #5: Tort reform will lower insurance rates.
Fact: Tort reforms are passed under the guise that they will lower physicians’ liability premiums. This does not happen. While insurers do pay out less money when damages awards are capped, they do not pass the savings along to doctors by lowering premiums. Even the most ardent tort reformers have been caught stating that tort reform will have no effect on insurance rates.
Read more about it along with corresponding charts and graphs here (pdf).
November 19, 2009
Consumption of alcohol in almost any quantity is associated with a nearly one-third reduction in the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) — at least in men, a large Spanish study confirmed.
Reporting online in Heart, Larraitz Arriola, PhD, of the public health department in San Sebastian and colleagues wrote that a multivariate analysis determined the following reductions of CHD risk at these consumption levels:
* Low levels of alcohol (0 to 5 mg/day), HR 0.65 (95% CI 0.41 to 1.04)
* Moderate levels (5 to 30 g/day), HR 0.49 (95% CI 0.32 to 0.75)
* High levels (30 to 90 g/day), HR 0.46 (95% CI 0.30 to 0.71)
* Very high levels (more than 90 g/day), HR 0.50 (95% CI 0.29 to 0.85)
No significant associations were seen for women, however.
Many studies have examined the association between alcohol use and CHD. Most have suggested that moderate intake reduces the risk, with effects on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, clotting factors, insulin sensitivity, and inflammation providing biologic plausibility for the observation.
However, scientists still debate whether the the association is truly causal, and whether the studies have been marred by “abstainer error.”
Abstainer error refers to classification of participants who had recently stopped drinking — usually because of declining health, frailty, or disability — as nondrinkers.
November 17, 2009
16 Deaths Per Day
Under existing laws, these employers get a slap on the wrist, or walk away scot-free. Meanwhile, workers who blow the whistle face threats and retaliation at the workplace. It is time to change the feeble and antiquated rules that fail to protect workers on the job. Visit 16deathsperday.com and sign the petition protecting American workers’ rights.
November 17, 2009
Even after adjusting for injury severity and comorbidities, trauma patients who did not have insurance had higher mortality rates than those who did, researchers said.
Lack of insurance increased the risk of death following traumatic injury by up to 89%, relative to individuals with commercial insurance, for various subgroups chosen to control for comorbidities, reported Heather Rosen, MD, MPH, of Children’s Hospital Boston, and colleagues.
These differences were seen in patients 18 to 30 years old, who would be expected to have few comorbidities; those whose records indicated that they had at least one comorbidity; and victims of head injuries, the researchers said in the November issue of Archives of Surgery.
The findings were not a function of income, according to their report: trauma victims with Medicaid coverage fared no worse, and in some cases better, than those with commercial insurance.
November 15, 2009
“In assessing the current tort system, it is at least as important to consider the victims of malpractice in comparison to those who cause them personal injury,” he said. “We have seen in the past that the attack of tort reformers is a movement that favors cost savings over quality and that emphasizes the corporate bottom line over safety of the public.”