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December 2020 Newsletter

PPN | National, News, Newsletter | Source | December 23, 2020

HCLA continues push for COVID-19 liability protections 2020 was another active year for HCLA advocacy. Although this year’s final COVID-19 stimulus legislation failed to include liability protections for healthcare providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, HCLA will continue its advocacy into the new year to actively push for these necessary measures at the federal level. Letters were sent to individual members of the Senate COVID-19 bi-partisan working group in early December that highlighted four key principles and beliefs of the HCLA and its member organizations: Liability protections should apply to all care affected by the pandemic, including care that was altered due to government guidance, and not just to care for COVID-19 patients or suspected patients; Liability protections should be for a limited duration; Liability protections should be limited to care provided under the scope of licensure/certification, but not limited to normal scope of practice; and Care that constitutes gross negligence or willful misconduct should not be protected. Accompanying the letters were recommendations that highlighted existing bills in each chamber (S. 4317 — the SAFE TO WORK Act and H.R. 7059 — the Coronavirus Provider Protection Act) and adjustments to the bills that would maintain the necessary…

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November 2020 Newsletter

PPN | National, News, Newsletter | Source | November 24, 2020

Neurosurgery journal examines medicolegal issues across the practice The November issue of Neurosurgical Focus closely examines the overlap between medical and legal challenges faced by neurosurgeons both in the U.S. and around the world. With 22 peer-reviewed articles and studies on medical liability, physician experiences with lawsuits, the impact of telemedicine, and the global legal climate for neurosurgeons, the edition is one of the most in-depth resources on medicolegal issues available to neurosurgeons and the physician community. The journal’s introduction sets the tone for the current landscape, highlighting that “the majority of [liability] claims fail in their attempt to establish breach, as the standard of care is loosely defined, and most consented risks are not viewed as a deviation from standard care.” It also highlights the risk faced by the neurosurgeon community as a whole, with 20% of all practicing neurosurgeons in the U.S. facing medical liability litigation each year. This risk is compounded by the fact that the average indemnity payment for a closed neurosurgical civil claim is $439,146 — the highest of all medical specialties. Reviewing the current reforms underway at the state level, the study titled ‘Status of current medicolegal reform in the United States: a neurosurgical…

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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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