By Mary Ann Porucznik
On Feb. 10, Doctors for Medical Liability Reform (DMLR) launched a national media campaign via press conferences in Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. Among the featured speakers was Stuart L. Weinstein, MD—then second vice president (and currently first vice president) of the AAOS and chair of the AAOS Medical Liability Reform Spending Oversight Committee.
“I am here,” he said, “representing a membership of almost 26,000 orthopaedic surgeons who are committed to providing the best health care…[But] across the country, surgical practices and emergency rooms are closing or reducing their hours available to patients due to the substantially increased rates in medical liability insurance premiums, compounded by the unavailability of insurers willing to provide coverage.”
The DMLR is a coalition of specialty physician organizations, which together represent more than 230,000 specialty physicians. In addition to the AAOS, the DMLR membership includes: Neurosurgeons to Preserve Health Care Access; American College of Emergency Physicians; Society of Thoracic Surgeons; American College of Surgeons Professional Association; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American College of Cardiology; American Academy of Dermatology Association; National Association of Spine Specialists and American Urological Association.
Protect Patients Now
This ad appeared in USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.
The DMLR's Protect Patients Now initiative seeks to educate and inform patients, physicians, business leaders and legislators about the destructive effects that this crisis is having on the nation's health care and the national economy. The initiative will highlight states that are facing serious health care and economic crises, including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington.
In crisis states with U.S. senatorial races, DMLR asks that candidates sign a pledge to protect patients by supporting medical liability reform, “seeking passage of federal legislation that would include an effective limit on noneconomic damages, also known as ‘pain and suffering.'” The pledge specifies that the cap will not limit economic compensation awarded for lost income, inability to work, long-term care or medical expenses.