June 15, 2003 Recent News




Hospital Firing Doctors

Oregon May Ration Care Even More


In Florida, a neurosurgeon has partially closed his office for a month in order to to to the state capitol during the special session.  He is especially going after the contributors of one Republican Senator who is for strip mall developers during the special session but not the malpractice problem.

In Orlando the only real transplant surgeons in central Florida will discontinue doing them due to their high risk for malpractice. The transplant program will send other surgeons to Orlando to do transplants.  The reason for the decision is the doubling of the malpractice insurance rate with less coverage than is necessary for the renal transplants. 

About half of the cardiologists of West Palm Beach will stop seeing hospital patients July 1. They will continue to see office patients.  This lowers their malpractice risks and costs of insurance.  This goes along with other physicians that are temporarily quitting the local hospitals.  These include internists and surgeons.  

In the meantime Garden Hospital in Palm Beach is getting inundated with law suits over their infection rates in their open heart program.  This is the same program that the JCAHO gave a clean bill of health just before the infections came to light and after the Feds almost closed the hospital. The JCAHO then came back and chastised the hospital and later again gave it a clean bill.  Politics rule.  

In Jacksonville, Florida a group of Orthopods will go back to work after three months.  They had stopped due to the lack of general surgeons at the hospitals.  The general surgeons have not gone back but the Orthopods are presumably running low on money and so are going back.  

The future of Florida medicine is now speaking.  The medical students are saying they will not stay in the state to practice after their training ends.  

The Sun Sentinel reports that the fight over malpractice in Florida is between the Republicans and the Trial Attorneys.  The attorneys have given millions in contributions to the Democrats and now want their money's worth. 

United Healthcare in Florida is allowing its physician to go bare.  This follows the hospital lead since the choice was to lose their physicians or allow the change.  This would decrease the size of panels which patients want in an insurance product. The interesting twist is when the first HMO is sued for their deep pockets when the physician doesn't have enough money.

In Pennsylvania, the Pew Trust put out a report on the crisis in the state.  They point a big finger at the state's malpractice catastrophe loss fund (MCARE).  The report states that it postponed past costs to the present.  The report also shows the difference in venue to the court result.  In 2001 the Pennsylvania payouts were well above the national average for in both size and number.  They recommend subsidies for health care providers.  

A second Pew report states that caps for pain and suffering do not reduce malpractice premiums.  They do state that if there is no limits placed the insurance problem may worsen and the limitation on patients receiving care will increase.  They also recommend limitation on attorneys fees, payment of damages over time and not as a lump payment, stronger regulation of insurers and other measures to stop frivolous suits.

The Olympia, Washington paper has a story about their community and malpractice problems.  Many of the physicians have been dropped by their California insurance company who was losing money insuring physicians in Washington.  Washington has failed to pass caps the past few years. 

Nevada lawmakers have seen the light and it is green.  They plan to rescind the prior cuts in the Medicaid budget for pediatric specialists.  This after a group of pediatric surgical specialist cut off treatments.  The Director of Nevada's health Care Financing got a reality check.  He thought and I use that word loosely that physicians would continue to care for people when their money had been cut by over one-half.  That is one smart cookie, a ginger snap that has.     Top


The AMA continues to make money by its business operations but is losing membership hand over fist.  Since 1999 its membership 11.3%.  In 2002 the loss was 18,000 members.  The physicians are telling the AMA something but the AMA does not wish to hear.  They are now looking for money from the specialty organizations that actually work for their members.  Currently the dues only make up about 20% of the total revenue.  Most of the money is made by the publishing business.        Top

Hospital Firing Doctors

Los Angeles is firing 79 physicians at the Martin Luther King Drew Medical Center as a cost cutting move.  This accounts for about 10% of the total jobs cut at the facility.  Also to go are 152 nurses and 210 administrative support positions.  These physicians are part of a union and will fight the dismissals via this.  Most of the cuts are in the pediatric sub-specialty arena, an area that more private hospitals are taking over.  The union is stating the county is removing permanent position before removing temporary positions.  

Although not a hospital Univera Healthcare HMO has dropped 32 Promeducus Health Group physicians.  The Medical Group had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy January, 2003. The HMO sent letters to all patients that after the end of June they will no longer pay for any services from these physicians except for those women in their second trimester of pregnancy. The physicians believed they had been credentialed into the HMO but indeed they had not.  The two organizations had sued each other in the past and had taken out newspaper ads regarding each other.          Top

Oregon May Ration Care Even More

Oregon, already well known for their medical lists is still short of money.  The Legislature is now deciding how to ration even more by cutting benefits.        Top


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.