April 1998 Bulletin

Brief items from the states


The country’s first city-based managed care consumer protection office opened in Chicago in March with the establishment of a consumer "help line" as its first order of business. The city’s Managed Care Consumer Protection Ordinance created the office, a division of the Chicago department of public health, to collect statistical data on managed care organizations; receive complaints and refer consumers to the appropriate state and federal regulatory agencies; investigate managed care organizations; and monitor managed care’s effects on public health, access and availability of health care.


The Missouri State Orthopaedic Association sent letters encouraging orthopaedists in the state to contact their representatives and senators to voice concern over HB 1361 (the Physical Therapy Act), which allows patients direct access to physical therapists and also widens their scope of practice, allowing them to perform debridements as well as to refer persons under their care to other health care practitioners. The association says that physical therapists are not surgically trained to perform debridement and are not trained to make the medical diagnoses necessary to refer patients to other practitioners.


A bill (SB 3060) was introduced that provides for a disclaimer on physician profiles stating that settlement of a claim does not necessarily reflect negatively on the physician’s competence or conduct and that payment of a medical malpractice claim should not be construed as a presumption that medical malpractice occurred. The bill also provides for a physician’s paid medical malpractice claims to be compared with a specialty average.


The Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers and the Ohio AFL-CIO have filed legal action in the Ohio Supreme Court in an effort to overturn tort reform legislation that went into effect in January 1997.

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