The Midwest Medical Legal Advisor provides legal information for healthcare providers and administrators, malpractice insurance professionals, and attorneys.

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13 Aug, 2015

August Reflections on the “July Effect”

2018-04-23T23:52:19-05:00August 13th, 2015|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

Now that we are safely in mid August, I feel comfortable addressing the so called “July effect” without causing a mass exodus of hospital patients from their hospital beds.  What is the July effect you ask?  It’s the alleged rise in medical mistakes that coincidentally (or not) coincides with the increase of new medical residents at teaching hospitals starting July 1. While there is some research that mortality rates increase [...]

23 Mar, 2015

Malpractice Payments Decrease

2018-04-23T23:57:54-05:00March 23rd, 2015|Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management, Tort Reform|

According to a new study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in the past ten years, the rate of medical malpractice claims resulting in some sort of payment has seen a drastic reduction. The study examined data from the National Practitioner Data Bank and the American Medical Association's Physician Masterfile to identify trends in the frequency of claims against doctors over a 19 year time period ending [...]

3 Feb, 2015

Why you shouldn’t view your spouse’s PHI (and share with a coworker).

2018-04-23T23:57:54-05:00February 3rd, 2015|Health Care Law, HIPAA, HITECH, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

Recently, a federal court judge dismissed a lawsuit that an Ohio woman filed claiming that a hospital did not safeguard her EMR (electronic medical records). In an interesting twist, the woman alleged that her husband, who worked at the hospital, was able to access her EMR and share them with a co-worker.  This was not just any co-worker.  Allegedly, it was a co-worker with whom the husband was having an [...]

30 Dec, 2014

It’s HIPAA time!

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00December 30th, 2014|Disciplinary Actions, HIPAA, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

I thought I'd spend the next few blogs discussing the joy that is HIPAA compliance.  Previously, I blogged about two NMC employees who had been fired after viewing the protected health information of Dr. Richard Sacra, one of the patients treated at the NMC for ebola.  The potential fines and penalties that come with a HIPAA violation likely played a large role in these firings. But let's start from the very [...]

23 Dec, 2014

Selfies are fun (unless you are performing surgery)!

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00December 23rd, 2014|Disciplinary Actions, Health Care Law, HIPAA, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

Let's be honest.  Selfies are fun.  They are great ways of capturing the moment.  Like my daughter and I on the merry-go-round at FunPlex this summer.  Selfies can also get you in lots of trouble. I can honestly say I have  never had a doctor or other health care provider ask whether taking a selfie during surgery is a good idea.  It's not.  As some doctors in China recently discovered. [...]

16 Dec, 2014

Contracts for Doctors

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00December 16th, 2014|Health Care Law, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

It is not unusual for a doctor to be asked to sign a contact governing his or her employment and/or ownership of a business as a doctor.  The issues to consider in reviewing these contracts are many: -          Med mal insurance -          Staffing (nurses, assistants, etc) -          Provision of medical equipment -          Billing -          Compensation structure -          Employee versus owner -          Non complete clauses -          Non solicitation clauses -          Scope of [...]

10 Dec, 2014

Black box to be used to record surgery?

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00December 10th, 2014|Health Care Law, HIPAA, Litigation Tips, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Nebraska Hospital-Medical Liability Act, Risk Management|

Surgeons: how would you like every move of the surgeries you perform recorded with a “black box” type device?  Such a device would make a record of every movement during a surgery, and potentially, provide real-time feedback to identify mistakes.  Not only would it record the surgery itself, it could record every word uttered by the medical team during a surgery. The potential and hopeful benefits include improved results and reduced [...]

11 Nov, 2014

“Landmark” Informed Consent Case: Physician Not Liable

2018-04-24T00:00:14-05:00November 11th, 2014|Health Care Law, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

In a case decided in June of 2014 described as “landmark,” the Washington Supreme Court held in favor of a physician as to claims of lack of informed consent. Generally, informed consent addresses the need for a physician to advise the patient of the risks, benefits and alternatives to certain treatment or procedures for a medical condition before the care is undertaken.  The usual standard is then that a reasonably [...]

7 Oct, 2014

Ebola in Texas!

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00October 7th, 2014|Health Care Law, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

Earlier, I blogged about two NMC employees being fired for viewing Dr. Sacara’s medical records without authorization.  Dr. Sacara had been treated for Ebola at NMC. Recently, a man in Texas was diagnosed with Ebola.  This is different from Dr. Sacara, who was being treated at NMC for Ebola.  In other words, NMC knew of Dr. Sacara’s condition.  The Texas patient contacted Ebola in Liberia, traveled to the United States [...]

29 Sep, 2014

Ebola in Omaha leads to firing of two NMC employees

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00September 29th, 2014|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

The Omaha World Herald has recently reported that two employees from the Nebraska Medical Center were fired for viewing Dr. Rick Sacra’s medical records.  Dr. Sacra is the doctor-missionary who contracted the Ebola virus while treating others afflicted with the virus in Africa.   According to the Medical Center, “based on the results of the investigation conducted, two employees no longer work for the organization and other corrective action has [...]

28 Aug, 2014

No Sweeping Under the Rug

2018-04-24T00:00:14-05:00August 28th, 2014|Health Care Law, Litigation Tips, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management, Tort Reform|

It happed in California several weeks ago.   After 2 ½ days of jury deliberation, the jury awarded a $4 million verdict against a hospital for allegedly covering up the cause of the post-operative death of a patient.  The jury did not find that the hospital committed malpractice and did not award punitive damages (which cannot be awarded in Nebraska). The patient had a surgical cervical disc.  Post operatively he had [...]

21 Aug, 2014

Who is getting the money?

2018-04-24T00:00:14-05:00August 21st, 2014|Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Tort Reform|

When it is determined that a medical malpractice / professional negligence lawsuit or claim needs to be settled, or when one of the few times a jury sides with the patient, money is paid.   Don’t be dismayed by what actually happens to the money.  Between contingent fee lawyer contracts paying the plaintiff’s lawyers up to 50% (these actually happen in Nebraska), to exorbitant expert witness fees to huge health are [...]

7 Aug, 2014

Doctors beware: tax-fraud scheme targets the medical profession.

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00August 7th, 2014|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

An increasing number of doctors have reported that they have been targets of tax fraud.  Here’s what happens: you, happy that it is April 15, go to file your tax return.  The IRS kindly informs you that your return has already been filed.  What is this, you think?  Has my accountant already handled this?  The IRS then gives you some odd news: you were awarded a large refund.  As reported [...]

29 Jul, 2014

A success story: one clinic’s reduction of med-mal claims.

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00July 29th, 2014|Health Care Law, Litigation Tips, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management, Tort Reform|

A hospital in Connecticut recently reported a drastic drop in both claims made and settlements paid after a safety training regime aided by the hospital’s med-mal insurer. In 2004, the hospital joined with its med-mal insurer in an effort to increase patient safety and in turn decrease claims made and amounts paid. Here’s what they did: -          standardized care, -          implemented new teamwork protocols, and -          enhanced oversight of clinical [...]

22 Jul, 2014

John Hopkins to pay $190 million for spying doctor.

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00July 22nd, 2014|Health Care Law, HIPAA, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

A recent report by CNN indicates that John Hopkins has agreed to a whooping $190 million settlement in a case involving a gynecologist who was alleged to have secretly photographed and recorded his more than 7000 patients. Dr. Nikita Levy was fired in February 2013 after the Baltimore based health care system discovered he had been using a pen-like camera around his neck to snap photographs of patients.  A diligent co-worker suspected [...]

15 Jul, 2014

Will Obamacare increase the cost for med-mal insurance?

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00July 15th, 2014|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Tort Reform|

A recent report by the Rand Corporation, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, concludes that the cost of medical malpractice insurance may actually increase under the Affordable Care Act a/k/a Obamacare.  The increase could be up to 5% in some areas, although this is an early and inexact estimate. According to David Auerbach, the study's lead author and a policy researcher at RAND, “the Affordable Care Act [...]

8 Jul, 2014

Florida throws out caps in med mal cases

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00July 8th, 2014|Health Care Law, Litigation Tips, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Nebraska Hospital-Medical Liability Act, Tort Reform|

It's time for my somewhat regular update regarding the latest state to address the constitutionality of caps on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.  Previously, I have discussed Kansas and Missouri and their judicial treatment of such caps. In its recent decision, the Florida Supreme Court threw out the state's statutory cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases as violating the Equal Protection Clause of Florida's Constitution.  In a blistering [...]

23 Apr, 2014

Heineman vetos bill to give NPs more freedom

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00April 23rd, 2014|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

Gov. Dave Heineman vetoed Legislative Bill 916, which would have allowed nurse practitioners to practice  without a supervising doctor.  Currently, Nebraska state law requires nurse practitioners to have a practice agreement with a doctor.  Gov. Heineman has made sure that continues. According to the Omaha World Herald, the supporters of LB 916 claim that the current model - requiring NPs to have a supervising doctor - contributes to a shortage [...]

15 Apr, 2014

Mandatory Vaccinations?

2018-04-23T23:52:19-05:00April 15th, 2014|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

Vaccinations or rather, the lack thereof - has been a hot topic in the news lately. The media is reporting increased outbreaks of communicable diseases with the finger pointed at those individuals who choose to not vaccinate out of a fear, amongst others, that vaccinations cause autism. Studies conducted in the scientific community have largely discredited any association between vaccinations and autism.  Most recently, a March 2013 study published in [...]

27 Mar, 2014

He said she said he heard it from a friend….

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00March 27th, 2014|Health Care Law, HIPAA, Litigation Tips, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

REO Speedwagon might have been discussing the Nebraska Supreme Court's recent opinion in C.E. v. Prairie Fields Family Medicine, P.C., 287 Neb. 667 (2014) in their famous song, "Take it on the Run." The Prairie Fields case dealt with the issue of whether a patient could sue a medical provider for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress for the alleged unauthorized disclosure of that patient's testing positive for HIV. In [...]

12 Mar, 2014

Obama on Between Two Ferns

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00March 12th, 2014|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

Who would have ever thought that President Obama would appear on "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis" on the Funny or Die website.  See the video here.  Obama was there to pitch, what else, Obamacare.  To do so, he had to answer the following questions painfully posed by Galifianakis: "What is it like to be the last black president?" "What should be done about North Ikea?" Obama was not without [...]

21 Feb, 2014

Nebraska scores well on amount paid for med-mal claims.

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00February 21st, 2014|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

In 2010, the last year in which data is available, Nebraska scored 44th in the amount paid per capita for medical malpractice claims.  The total?  A whooping $4.92. This figure represents the total amount paid in Nebraska divided by the total population of the state.  You can see the entire report here.  By my math, that equates to approximately $9 million in claims paid in Nebraska in 2010. Iowa was almost twice as [...]

17 Feb, 2014

The Doctor’s White Coat Days Are Likely Numbered

2018-04-23T23:52:19-05:00February 17th, 2014|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

What is thought to be one of the most common vehicles for spreading germs in a hospital?  The answer might surprise you: the white lab coat.  Also ranking high are neck ties and wrist watches worn by health care practitioners. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America has released new guidelines  suggesting that the white lab coat be eliminated altogether or hung on an outside hook prior to entering a patient’s [...]

13 Feb, 2014

Questionable Autopsy Could Lead to Exposure for Physician

2018-04-23T23:57:55-05:00February 13th, 2014|Health Care Law, Litigation Tips, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

 In an opinion released last week by the Nebraska Supreme Court, it indicated that a forensic pathologist who performed a poor autopsy could be liable for malicious prosecution when that autopsy formed part of the basis of criminal charges against a daycare provider. In McKinney v. Okoye, 287 Neb. 261 (2014) the Nebraska Supreme Court considered a malicious prosecution claim brought against a forensic pathologist whose testimony contributed to charges [...]

22 Jan, 2014

A Dose of Perspective on Doctor Tardiness

2018-04-23T23:52:19-05:00January 22nd, 2014|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

There is a blog being circulated right now that addresses frustrations over doctor tardiness.  The woman who writes the blog is married to a pediatric physician and wants everyone to remember the reason why a physician might be running late to a dinner /next appointment/ anniversary date night / sporting event.  There is always an appointment before our own.  She writes: “We may never know what struggles the child and [...]

14 Jan, 2014

Nebraska Slowly Buying into Obamacare

2018-04-23T23:57:56-05:00January 14th, 2014|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Tort Reform|

The Omaha World Herald recently reported that Nebraska has seen a surge in applicants for coverage under the Affordable Health Care Act aka Obamacare.  In its article, Obamacare: Health Plan Enrollment Surges in Iowa, Nebraska, the World Herald reports that, in Nebraska, 14,464 people had enrolled in a plan by the end of December.  That's more than seven times as many as the 1,965 Nebraskans who had enrolled through the [...]

20 Nov, 2013

How Was Your Day? Combating Physician Burnout

2018-04-23T23:52:19-05:00November 20th, 2013|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

My husband, a local hospitalist in town, came home from work a few nights ago very tired. During his 14 hour work day, he had seen and treated quite a few sick patients and I could tell several of the sickest were still on his mind.  Sensing he needed to unwind, I sat quietly on the couch with him for a few minutes – both of us deep in our [...]

1 Nov, 2013

Rocky Rollout for the Affordable Healthcare Act

2018-04-23T23:52:19-05:00November 1st, 2013|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

Six people.  That's the number of people who registered with the new healthcare website on Day 1 of its unveiling.  Documents released yesterday by the House of Representatives showed this number modestly increased to 248 individuals successfully enrolled on Day 2 of the rollout. These numbers shine a light on the rocky introduction of President Obama's health care legislation to the American people.  Criticisms of the new healthcare law include the [...]

29 Oct, 2013

Do Furloughs Harm Public Health?

2018-04-23T23:57:56-05:00October 29th, 2013|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

The government shutdown impacted more than most people would think, including, as Sarah Macdissi noted in her last post, food safety. During the government shutdown, all inspections of domestic food except meat and poultry were halted: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention furloughed more than two-thirds of its workers.  What did this mean?  No issuing of daily updates on global outbreaks to world health officials; 9 of 10 global disease detection systems [...]

11 Oct, 2013

The 411 on the Government Shut Down and the Healthcare Industry

2018-04-23T23:52:19-05:00October 11th, 2013|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

The obvious and immediate impacts of the government shut down are visible before everyone’s eyes – the closing of the national parks, federally owned museums, IRS call centers advising taxpayers and offices handling federal grants, and the furloughing of thousands of federal employees. What’s not so visible is the impact on America’s already vulnerable healthcare system.  No, I am not talking about the hot button topic of Obamacare here.  What [...]

1 Oct, 2013

Health Care Exchanges Go Live (Or Not?)

2018-04-24T00:08:02-05:00October 1st, 2013|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

October 1, 2013 marks the anticipated start of open enrollment for health care products offered on state health care exchanges. The federal government has a website to help potential health insurance buyers choose an insurance plan. Expect the Internet's version of a long line (delays, error messages and glitches). It took me 30 minutes to get past the following message: We have a lot of visitors on our site right [...]

1 Oct, 2013

Living in a Post Antibiotic Era? Part II

2018-04-23T23:52:19-05:00October 1st, 2013|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

Diagram published by the CDC. Last week I discussed a report issued by the Centers for Diseases Control (“CDC”) that addressed the ever increasing prevalence of antibiotic resistance.  One author, commenting on the potential demise of antibiotics, went as far as to compare a modern post antibiotic era to the plight of our ancestors during the “Black Death.”  Piling on, the CDC declared antimicrobial resistance to be “one [...]

20 Sep, 2013

Living in a Post Antibiotic Era?

2018-04-23T23:52:19-05:00September 20th, 2013|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

This week, the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) issued a report that addressed, in detail, the threat of antibiotic-resistant organisms to our world.  Dr. Todd Friedman, the director of the CDC, cautioned that, “[i]f we are not careful, we will soon be in a post antibiotic era.”  Antibiotic-resistant organisms account for 2,049,442 illnesses and 23,000 deaths each year.  The estimated cost to society?  $20 billion in additional healthcare spending and $35 [...]

18 Sep, 2013

Thanks, but no thanks: Insurance companies opting out of Obamacare exchanges.

2018-04-23T23:57:56-05:00September 18th, 2013|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

Aetna, in announcing last week that it will not participate in the state-based health insurance exchange in New Jersey, is just the latest insurer to pull out of such exchanges.  A big deal?  Maybe.  As noted by CNN, while Aetna has 1.1 million customers, just 2600, that’s .2 per cent, buy individual plans.  But, this could signal a larger trend.  Neither Aetna nor Conventry Health Plans will be represented on [...]

30 Aug, 2013

Physician Reimbursement for End of Life Discussions

2018-04-23T23:52:19-05:00August 30th, 2013|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

Representative Earl Blumenauer from Oregon has introduced into legislation the “Personalize Your Care Act of 2013” that would provide Medicare and Medicaid coverage for end of life discussions.  Mr. Blumenaur has been dubbed “the death panel guy” for his continued role in introducing bills that tackle end of life care.   In 2009, he wrote it was “perverse” that Medicare pays for most medical procedures but does not reimburse physicians “for having a [...]

27 Aug, 2013

Think twice before accepting that drug rep pen.

2018-04-23T23:57:56-05:00August 27th, 2013|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

Going into effect earlier this month, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act will require pharmaceutical companies to report most of the payments and gifts they give to doctors and teaching hospitals.  The major exception to the Physician Payments Sunshine Act?  Compensation from businesses to doctors speaking at accredited, continuing medical education events. According to The Wall Street Journal, information regarding payments from pharmaceutical companies to doctors and teaching hospitals will be [...]

20 Aug, 2013

HHS Releases $67 Million for Health Care Navigators

2018-04-23T23:52:19-05:00August 20th, 2013|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

This past Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services released $67 million dollars to fund health care "navigators," intended, as the name states, to navigate uninsureds and other individuals through the new health care law. In total, 105 organizations received grant funds to assist with coverage in states where the government is running exchange programs.  Navigators will receive 20 to 30 hours of training and are subject to prosecution [...]

13 Aug, 2013

Risks of Social Media in Medicine

2018-04-24T00:10:06-05:00August 13th, 2013|Disciplinary Actions, Health Care Law, HIPAA, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

A twenty-year-old nursing student had finally realized her dream and was caring for patients on her pediatric oncology rotation.  She fell in love with the courage of her young patients.  One patient, in particular, captured her heart.  She took a picture of the three-year-old boy grinning from ear-to-ear despite his chemotherapy.  When she posted the picture to her Facebook page, she put the following caption: "This is my 3-year-old leukemia [...]

9 Aug, 2013

Covenants Not to Compete and Physician Employment Agreements

2018-04-23T23:52:20-05:00August 9th, 2013|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

Covenants not to compete are common in physician employment agreements but are they enforceable?  The American Medical Association (AMA) has taken the position that physician non-compete agreements impact negatively on health care and are not in the public interest. Stopping short of completely prohibiting covenants not to compete, the AMA strongly discourages them.  In line with the AMA, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Delaware have passed laws invalidating contractual provisions restricting a [...]

6 Aug, 2013

When Enough is Enough: a Growing Number of Doctors Say “NO” to Medicare

2018-04-23T23:57:56-05:00August 6th, 2013|Health Care Law, HITECH, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

A growing number of doctors are declining to participate in the Medicare health program, due in part to disagreements with the program’s rate policies and an ever increasing list of regulations.  The current number of doctors refusing to accept Medicare may still be an immaterial figure; however, this growing trend should be cause for alarm. For the first time, the agency administering the Medicare program has released figures documenting this [...]

29 Jul, 2013

The Threat of HIPAA Penalities

2018-04-23T23:57:56-05:00July 29th, 2013|Health Care Law, HIPAA, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

Does inadvertent disclosure of protected health information keep you up at night?  It should.  Unlawful disclosure, or allowing unauthorized access to protected health information, case be costly. Since 2009, 65,000 breach reports, where protected health information is exposed or wrongfully accessed, have been filed with Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights.  The vast majority of these breaches do not lead to any type of formal enforcement action.  But the Office of [...]

23 Jul, 2013

Malpractice Litigation: The Neverending Story?

2018-04-24T00:00:15-05:00July 23rd, 2013|Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Tort Reform|

 You have been sued.  How long until there is resolution of a professional negligence lawsuit?  Six months?  A year?  Maybe two?   Pyramids have been built faster than some cases get resolved. All participants want civil litigation over in a reasonable time, but medical malpractice lawsuits can become long and drawn out.  As noted in the Nebraska Supreme Court opinion of Simon v. Drake, M.D.,285 Neb. 784, __ N.W.2d __ (2013), [...]

19 Jul, 2013

Prescribing of Controlled Substances Under Nebraska Law

2018-04-23T23:52:20-05:00July 19th, 2013|Litigation Tips, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

Under Nebraska law, it is unprofessional conduct to prescribe controlled substances to oneself, a spouse, child, parent, sibling, or “any person living in the same household as the prescriber.”  The only exception to this prohibition is in times of medical emergency.  The phrase "medical emergency" is not defined under the statutes - although it would presumably entail situations in which a family member would not have sufficient time to seek treatment elsewhere. The way [...]

17 Jul, 2013

More doctors are selling their practices

2018-04-23T23:57:56-05:00July 17th, 2013|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Tort Reform|

More and more doctors are selling their practices due to rising business expenses and shrinking payouts from insurers.  The buyers?  Hospitals. According to a recent article from CNN, Doctors Bail out on their Practices, the number of physicians selling their practices to hospitals is up 30% to 40% in the last five years.  In the normal transaction, the selling doctor will then become an employee of the hospital along with [...]

13 Jul, 2013

Oregon Experiment May Reduce ER Frequent Flyers

2018-04-24T00:10:06-05:00July 13th, 2013|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

One of the little discussed features of the Affordable Care Act (better known in some circles, for better or worse, as Obamacare) is the authorization of federal funds to be given to states so that they can set up test programs that experiment with ways to reduce Medicaid costs.  One such program is underway in Oregon and is receiving positive preliminary reviews. The program establishes "coordinated care organizations" to care [...]

9 Jul, 2013

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now (to the E.R.)?

2018-04-23T23:52:20-05:00July 9th, 2013|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

America's healthcare system has been no stranger to controversy over the years.  A large piece of the current debate pertains to the cost of healthcare – with the finger often pointed at the rising expense of emergency medicine and unnecessary treatments.  One of the goals of the new healthcare overhaul is to lessen this burden with more access to primary care physicians.  Another proposed solution is to make patients front the [...]

5 Jul, 2013

Key requirement of the Affordable Care Act delayed

2018-04-23T23:57:56-05:00July 5th, 2013|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Tort Reform|

On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced a one-year delay in a key provision of President Barack Obama's sweeping health care law, the Affordable Care Act.  It postponed the provision that required businesses with more than 50 employees to provide their workers with health insurance or face fines.  The Treasury Department explained in its blog that the government needs time to simplify reporting requirements, and businesses need breathing room to adapt [...]

28 Jun, 2013

Is this the end or just the beginning?

2018-04-23T23:52:20-05:00June 28th, 2013|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

Today marks my husband’s last day of residency.  As he walks out of his last call shift, he says a bittersweet farewell to not only his on call pager (the sound of which will likely trigger a nervous twitch for many years to come) - but to an army of mentors and a group of colleagues bonded through three years of work with little sleep.  The topic of residency has [...]

25 Jun, 2013

The Impact of Unnecessary Surgery

2018-04-23T23:57:56-05:00June 25th, 2013|Health Care Law, Litigation Tips, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Nebraska Hospital-Medical Liability Act, Risk Management, Tort Reform|

A recent article in USA Today posits that doctors perform thousands of unnecessary surgeries every year.  It claims that unnecessary surgeries might account for 10% to 20% of all operations in some specialties, including a wide range of cardiac procedures.  It generally cites three reasons as the cause of the problem: - doctors who enrich themselves by bilking insurers for operations that are not medically justified; - doctors who simply lack the competence [...]

18 Jun, 2013

Protecting Emergency Services Providers from Communicable Diseases

2018-04-23T23:52:20-05:00June 18th, 2013|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

It’s a scene straight from a movie – someone is injured and you rush to render aid.  Of course, there’s blood – and with blood comes the potential exposure to communicable diseases.  So, what should you do if you do not know whether the person you have been assisting may have placed you at risk? The Nebraska statutes and regulations provide some protection to emergency services providers (including individuals rendering [...]