Indiana Med Mal Caps Change
Way back in 2016, then Governor Pence approved changes to Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Caps in two steps. The second cap amounts increase provided in that law will take place on July 1, 2019. The Caps will increase to $1.8 Million. Check with your insurance carrier to make sure all of your med mal coverage, whether yours individually or yours with the hospital or clinic, is changed to match the new law. Since this process can take months, you need to begin the process now.
As the new political season starts and candidates for President of the United States appear, the chants of Medicare for everyone have begun. It is likely the discussion on this issue will be loud and frequent. However, not all candidates seem to mean the same thing when they say “Medicare for all.”
Some candidates mean a government-run single payor system. Some mean a Medicare buy-in plan where individuals can choose whether to have private medical insurance or buy-in to the government run Medicare insurance plan.
There are many more variations of this and it is important candidates for President or Congress be clear on what they intend for our healthcare system. It is likely to be several more years before we have a cohesive health care funding system.
Hide and Seek
The FDA has apparently created a non-public database to track medical device failures. An excellent report on this is contained in Kaiser Health News on its website and describes at least 1.1 million incidents flowing into the FDA’s internal “alternative summary reporting” repository instead of flowing into the public database known as MAUDE. The article is well worth reading and raises profound questions:
- Who does the FDA Work for?
- Should you and your doctor have access to this database before implanting a device in your body?
The FDA Commissioner this week responded to the Kaiser Health News story I cited above by beginning to publish previously undisclosed reports of harm, suddenly updating the data on breast implant injuries or malfunctions. The new data is unsettling, as was expected, since it shows tens of thousands more device harm/injuries than had been previously disclosed. Hospitals and medical groups which utilize devices in human care, should re-review the FDA database before making patient care decisions.
Rutland Regional Medical Center recently disclosed more than 72,000 of Rutland patients may have had their PHI, Social Security, financial information, date of birth, health insurance and other clinical information disclosed as part of a breach in 2018. Rutland is following the usual post breach dance of apologizing, promising to beef up its security, etc. Rutland is just another in a long line of PHI and healthcare database breaches. The takeaway-it’s not a question of whether your insurer, medical provider or hospital system will be breached, it’s a question of when.
Yet another example closely followed the Rutland breach when the Rush System for Health had 45,000 patients’ data compromised because of a breach at one of Rush’s claims processing vendors. Rush followed that up with another breach shortly thereafter exposing the names of another 900 patients when communicating about the retirement of a certified NP.
Columbia Surgical Specialists of Spokane, Washington recently reported a breach due to a hacking of a network server reportedly affecting nearly 400,000 patients and Seattle based University of Washington Medicine is notifying nearly 1,000,000 patients of a database configuration error that exposed PHI on the internet for several weeks.
Although the report should be taken with at least a grain of salt, Doximity has issued a report that indicates for the first time in years, overall physician compensation in metro areas has gone flat. After years of steady increases, overall compensation levels for physicians plateaued in 2018.
The only real good news in Doximity’s report is the wage gap between female and male physicians seems to be shrinking. This news would be even better if overall physician compensation had continued to rise.
This newsletter is edited by Paul Wallace of Jones • Wallace, LLC, a member of the American Bar Association Healthcare Law Section and the American Health Lawyers Association who has been representing physicians and healthcare practices for over 25 years. Mr. Wallace assists physicians, practices and hospitals in contract items, federal legal compliance, practice entity creation, estate and wealth planning and similar issues. Please feel free to call if you have any questions on this newsletter or legal matters at (812) 402-1600 or email@example.com.