Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy
Showing posts with label Malpractice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Malpractice. Show all posts

Monday, March 18, 2024

Mega Malpractice Verdicts Against Physicians on the Rise

Alicia Gallegos
Originally posted 2 Feb 24

Here is an excerpt:

Why Are Juries Awarding Higher Verdicts?

There's no single reason for the rise in nuclear verdicts, Henderson said.

One theory is that plaintiffs' attorneys held back on resolving high-dollar cases during the COVID pandemic and let loose with high-demand claims when courts returned to normal, he said.

Another theory is that people emerged from the pandemic angrier.

"Whether it was political dynamics, masking [mandates], or differences in opinions, people came out of it angry, and generally speaking, you don't want an angry jury," Henderson said. "For a while, there was the halo effect, where health professionals were seen as heroes. That went away, and all of a sudden [they] became 'the bad guys'."

"People are angry at the healthcare system, and this anger manifests itself in [liability] suits," added Bill Burns, vice president of research for the Medical Professional Liability Association, an industry group for medical liability insurers.

Hospital and medical group consolidation also reduces the personal connection juries may have with healthcare providers, Burns said.

"Healthcare has become a big business, and the corporatization of medicine now puts companies on the stand and not your local community hospital or your family doctor that you have known since birth," he said.

Plaintiffs' attorneys also deploy tactics that can prompt higher verdicts, White said. They may tell a jury that the provider or hospital is a threat to the community and that awarding a large verdict will deter others in the healthcare community from repeating the same actions.

Juries may then want to punish the defendant in addition to assessing damages for economic harm or pain and suffering, White said.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Doctors With Histories of Big Malpractice Settlements Now Work for Insurers

P. Rucker, D. Armstrong, & D. Burke
Originally published 15 Dec 23

Here is an excerpt:

Patients and the doctors who treat them don’t get to pick which medical director reviews their case. An anesthesiologist working for an insurer can overrule a patient’s oncologist. In other cases, the medical director might be a doctor like Kasemsap who has left clinical practice after multiple accusations of negligence.

As part of a yearlong series about how health plans refuse to pay for care, ProPublica and The Capitol Forum set out to examine who insurers picked for such important jobs.

Reporters could not find any comprehensive database of doctors working for insurance companies or any public listings by the insurers who employ them. Many health plans also farm out medical reviews to other companies that employ their own doctors. ProPublica and The Capitol Forum identified medical directors through regulatory filings, LinkedIn profiles, lawsuits and interviews with insurance industry insiders. Reporters then checked those names against malpractice databases, state licensing board actions and court filings in 17 states.

Among the findings: The Capitol Forum and ProPublica identified 12 insurance company doctors with either a history of multiple malpractice payments, a single payment in excess of $1 million or a disciplinary action by a state medical board.

One medical director settled malpractice cases with 11 patients, some of whom alleged he bungled their urology surgeries and left them incontinent. Another was reprimanded by a state medical board for behavior that it found to be deceptive and dishonest. A third settled a malpractice case for $1.8 million after failing to identify cancerous cells on a pathology slide, which delayed a diagnosis for a 27-year-old mother of two, who died less than a year after her cancer was finally discovered.

None of this would have been easily visible to patients seeking approvals for care or payment from insurers who relied on these medical directors.

The ethical implications in this article are staggering.  Here are some quick points:

Conflicted Care: In a concerning trend, some US insurers are employing doctors with past malpractice settlements to assess whether patients deserve coverage for recommended treatments.  So, do these still licensed reviewers actually understand best practices?

Financial Bias: Critics fear these doctors, having faced financial repercussions for past care decisions, might prioritize minimizing payouts over patient needs, potentially leading to denied claims and delayed care.  In other words, do the reviewers have an inherent bias against patients, given that former patients complained against them?

Transparency Concerns: The lack of clear disclosure about these doctors' backgrounds raises concerns about transparency and potential conflicts of interest within the healthcare system.

In essence, this is a horrible system to provide high quality medical review.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Diagnostic Mistakes a Big Contributor to Malpractice Suits, Study Finds

Joyce Friedan
Originally posted 26 May 21

Here are two excerpts

One problem is that "healthcare is inherently risky," she continued. For example, "there's ever-changing industry knowledge, growing bodies of clinical options, new diseases, and new technology. There are variable work demands -- boy, didn't we experience that this past year! -- and production pressure has long been a struggle and a challenge for our providers and their teams." Not to mention variable individual competency, an aging population, complex health issues, and evolving workforces.


Cognitive biases can also trigger diagnostic errors, Siegal said. "Anchor bias" occurs when "a provider anchors on a diagnosis, early on, and then through the course of the journey looks for things to confirm that diagnosis. Once they've confirmed it enough that 'search satisfaction' is met, that leads to premature closure" of the patient's case. But that causes a problem because "it means that there's a failure to continue exploring other options. What else could it be? It's a failure to establish, perhaps, every differential diagnosis."

To avoid this problem, providers "always want to think about, 'Am I anchoring too soon? Am I looking to confirm, rather than challenge, my diagnosis?'" she said. According to the study, 25% of cases didn't have evidence of a differential diagnosis, and 36% fell into the category of "confirmation bias" -- "I was looking for things to confirm what I knew, but there were relevant signs and symptoms or positive tests that were still present that didn't quite fit the picture, but it was close. So they were somehow discounted, and the premature closure took over and a diagnosis was made," she said.

She suggested that clinicians take a "diagnostic timeout" -- similar to a surgical timeout -- when they're arriving at a diagnosis. "What else could this be? Have I truly explored all the other possibilities that seem relevant in this scenario and, more importantly, what doesn't fit? Be sure to dis-confirm as well."

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Complicit silence in medical malpractice

Volume 395, Issue 10223, p. 467
February 15, 2020

Clinicians and health-care managers displayed “a capacity for willful blindness” that allowed Ian Paterson to hide in plain sight—that is the uncomfortable opening statement of the independent inquiry into Paterson's malpractice, published on Feb 4, 2020. Paterson worked as a consultant surgeon from 1993 to 2011 in both private and National Health Service hospitals in West Midlands, UK. During that period, he treated thousands of patients, many of whom had surgery. Paterson demonstrated an array of abhorrent and unsafe activities over this time, including exaggerating patients' diagnoses to coerce them into having surgery, performing his own version of a mastectomy, which goes against internationally agreed oncological principles, and inappropriate conduct towards patients and staff.

The inquiry makes a range of valuable recommendations that cover regulatory reform, corporate accountability, information for patients, informed consent, complaints, and clinical indemnity. The crucial message is that these reforms must occur across both the NHS and the private sector and must be implemented earnestly and urgently. But many of the issues in the Paterson case cannot be regulated and flow from the murky waters of medical professionalism. At times during the 87 pages of patient testimony, patients suggested in hindsight they could see that other clinicians knew there was a problem with Paterson but did not say anything. The hurt and disappointment that patients felt with the medical profession are chilling.

The info is here.

Monday, June 10, 2019

A Missed Opportunity for the Malpractice System to Improve Health Care

Aaron Carroll
The New York Times
Originally posted May 27, 2019

Here are two excerpts:

First, the good news: These doctors quit at higher rates than other physicians. And they also tend not to pick up and move somewhere else to start fresh (which many thought they’d do given that licenses and malpractice are regulated at the state level).

But the overwhelming majority of doctors who had five or more paid claims kept on going. And they also moved to solo practice and small groups more often, where there’s even less oversight, so those problematic doctors may produce even worse outcomes.

We have long known that some doctors are likelier than others to be sued. Those who practice in certain higher-risk specialties — like surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, and emergency medicine — are more likely to be sued than those in lower-risk specialties like family medicine, pediatrics and psychiatry. Men are more likely to be sued than women. Lawsuits seem to peak when doctors are around 40.


Those who accumulated more claims were more likely to stop practicing medicine. Even though they were more likely to retire, more than 90 percent of doctors who had at least five claims were still in practice.

Physicians with more claims were also not any more likely than those with fewer or no complaints to move to another state and continue practicing. This is actually one of the reasons the practitioner data bank was created — to prevent doctors from running away from their history by moving between states. In that respect, it appears to be working.

What’s worrisome, though, is that physicians with more claims shifted their type of practice. Those with five or more claims had more than twice the odds of moving into solo practice.

The info is here.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Prominent psychiatrist accused of sexually exploiting patients

Michael Rezendes
The Boston Globe
Originally posted February 21, 2019

A prominent North Shore psychiatrist is facing lawsuits from three female patients who say he lured them into degrading sexual relationships, including beatings, conversations about bondage, and, in one case, getting a tattoo of the doctor’s initials to show his “ownership” of her, according to court documents.

The women allege that Dr. Keith Ablow, an author who was a contributor to Fox News network until 2017, abused his position while treating them for acute depression, leaving them unable to trust authority figures and plagued with feelings of shame and self-recrimination.

“He began to hit me when we engaged in sexual activities,” wrote one plaintiff, a New York woman, in a sworn affidavit filed with her lawsuit. “He would have me on my knees and begin to beat me with his hands on my breasts,” she wrote, “occasionally saying, ‘I own you,’ or ‘You are my slave.’”

The malpractice lawsuits, two of them filed on Thursday in Essex Superior Court and a third filed last year, paint a picture of a therapist who encouraged women to trust and rely on him, then coaxed them into humiliating sexual activities, often during treatment sessions for which they were charged.

When the New York woman had trouble paying her therapy bills, she said, Ablow advised her to work as an escort or stripper because the work was lucrative.

Although the women used their real names in their lawsuits, the Globe is withholding their identities at their request.  The Globe does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse without their consent.

The info is here.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Serious Ethical Violations in Medicine: A Statistical and Ethical Analysis of 280 Cases in the United States From 2008–2016

James M. DuBois, Emily E. Anderson, John T. Chibnall, Jessica Mozersky & Heidi A. Walsh (2019) The American Journal of Bioethics, 19:1, 16-34.
DOI: 10.1080/15265161.2018.1544305


Serious ethical violations in medicine, such as sexual abuse, criminal prescribing of opioids, and unnecessary surgeries, directly harm patients and undermine trust in the profession of medicine. We review the literature on violations in medicine and present an analysis of 280 cases. Nearly all cases involved repeated instances (97%) of intentional wrongdoing (99%), by males (95%) in nonacademic medical settings (95%), with oversight problems (89%) and a selfish motive such as financial gain or sex (90%). More than half of cases involved a wrongdoer with a suspected personality disorder or substance use disorder (51%). Despite clear patterns, no factors provide readily observable red flags, making prevention difficult. Early identification and intervention in cases requires significant policy shifts that prioritize the safety of patients over physician interests in privacy, fair processes, and proportionate disciplinary actions. We explore a series of 10 questions regarding policy, oversight, discipline, and education options. Satisfactory answers to these questions will require input from diverse stakeholders to help society negotiate effective and ethically balanced solutions.

Monday, February 4, 2019

What “informed consent” really means

Stacy Weiner
Originally published January 19, 2019

Here is an excerpt:

Conflicts around consent

The informed consent process is not without its thornier aspects. At times, malpractice suits shift the landscape. For example, in a 2017 Pennsylvania case with possible implications in other states, the court ruled that the physician performing a procedure — not a delegate — must personally ensure that the patient understands the risks involved.

And sometimes, informed consent grabs headlines, as happened recently with allegations that medical students are performing pelvic exams on anesthetized women without consent.

That claim, Orlowski notes, relied on studies from more than 10 years ago, before such changes as more detailed consent forms. Typically, she says, students practice pelvic exams with special mannequins and standardized patients who are specifically trained for this purpose. When students and residents do perform pelvic exams on surgical patients, Orlowski adds, specific consent must be obtained first. “Performing pelvic examinations under anesthesia without patients’ consent is unethical and unacceptable,” she says.

In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that “pelvic examinations on an anesthetized woman … performed solely for teaching purposes should be performed only with her specific informed consent obtained before her surgery.”

Marie Walters, a student at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, says she was perplexed by the allegations, so she checked with fellow students at her school and elsewhere. Her explanation: medical students may not know that patients agreed to such exams. “Although students witness some consent processes, we’re likely not around when patients give consent for the surgeries we observe,” says Walters, who is a member of the AAMC Board of Directors. "We may be there just for the day of the surgery,” she notes.

The info is here.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

VA knowingly hires doctors with past malpractice claims, discipline for poor care

Donovan Slack
USA Today
Originally published December 3, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

A VA hospital in Oklahoma knowingly hired a psychiatrist previously sanctioned for sexual misconduct who went on to sleep with a VA patient, according to internal documents. A Louisiana VA clinic hired a psychologist with felony convictions. The VA ended up firing him after they determined he was a “direct threat to others” and the VA’s mission.

As a result of USA TODAY’s investigation of Schneider, VA officials determined his hiring — and potentially that of an unknown number of other doctors — was illegal.

Federal law bars the agency from hiring physicians whose license has been revoked by a state board, even if they still hold an active license in another state. Schneider still has a license in Montana, even though his Wyoming license was revoked.

VA spokesman Curt Cashour said agency officials provided hospital officials in Iowa City with “incorrect guidance” green-lighting Schneider’s hire. The VA moved to fire Schneider last Wednesday. He resigned instead.

The article is here.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

After medical error, apology goes a long way

Science Daily
Originally posted October 2, 2017

Summary: Discussing hospital errors with patients leads to better patient safety without spurring a barrage of malpractice claims, new research shows.

In patient injury cases, revealing facts, offering apology does not lead to increase in lawsuits, study finds

Sometimes a straightforward explanation and an apology for what went wrong in the hospital goes a long way toward preventing medical malpractice litigation and improving patient safety.

That's what Michelle Mello, JD, PhD, and her colleagues found in a study to be published Oct. 2 in Health Affairs.

Mello, a professor of health research and policy and of law at Stanford University, is the lead author of the study. The senior author is Kenneth Sands, former senior vice president at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Medical injuries are a leading cause of death in the United States. The lawsuits they spawn are also a major concern for physicians and health care facilities. So, hospital risk managers and liability insurers are experimenting with new approaches to resolving these disputes that channel them away from litigation.

The focus is on meeting patients' needs without requiring them to sue. Hospitals disclose accidents to patients, investigate and explain why they occurred, apologize and, in cases in which the harm was due to a medical error, offer compensation and reassurance that steps will be taken to keep it from happening again.

The article is here.

The target article is here.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Professional Liability for Forensic Activities: Liability Without a Treatment Relationship

Donna Vanderpool
Innov Clin Neurosci. 2016 Jul-Aug; 13(7-8): 41–44.

This ongoing column is dedicated to providing information to our readers on managing legal risks associated with medical practice. We invite questions from our readers. The answers are provided by PRMS, Inc. (www.prms.com), a manager of medical professional liability insurance programs with services that include risk management consultation, education and onsite risk management audits, and other resources to healthcare providers to help improve patient outcomes and reduce professional liability risk. The answers published in this column represent those of only one risk management consulting company. Other risk management consulting companies or insurance carriers may provide different advice, and readers should take this into consideration. The information in this column does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice, contact your personal attorney. Note: The information and recommendations in this article are applicable to physicians and other healthcare professionals so “clinician” is used to indicate all treatment team members.


In my mental health practice, I am doing more and more forensic activities, such as IMEs and expert testimony. Since I am not treating the evaluees, there should be no professional liability risk, right?

The answer and column is here.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sorry is Never Enough: The Effect of State Apology Laws on Medical Malpractice Liability Risk

Benjamin J. McMichaela, R. Lawrence Van Hornb, & W. Kip Viscusic

State apology laws offer a separate avenue from traditional damages-centric tort reforms to promote communication between physicians and patients and to address potential medical malpractice liability. These laws facilitate apologies from physicians by excluding statements of apology from malpractice trials. Using a unique dataset that includes all malpractice claims for 90% of physicians practicing in a single specialty across the country, this study examines whether apology laws limit malpractice risk. For physicians who do not regularly perform surgery, apology laws increase the probability of facing a lawsuit and increase the average payment made to resolve a claim. For surgeons, apology laws do not have a substantial effect on the probability of facing a claim or the average payment made to resolve a claim. Overall, the evidence suggests that apology laws do not effectively limit medical malpractice liability risk.

The article is here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Medical errors: Disclosure styles, interpersonal forgiveness, and outcomes

Hannawa, A. F., Shigemoto, Y., & Little, T. (2016).
Social Science & Medicine, 156, 29-38.



This study investigates the intrapersonal and interpersonal factors and processes that are associated with patient forgiveness of a provider in the aftermath of a harmful medical error.


This study aims to examine what antecedents are most predictive of patient forgiveness and non-forgiveness, and the extent to which social-cognitive factors (i.e., fault attributions, empathy, rumination) influence the forgiveness process. Furthermore, the study evaluates the role of different disclosure styles in two different forgiveness models, and measures their respective causal outcomes.


In January 2011, 318 outpatients at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in the United States were randomly assigned to three hypothetical error disclosure vignettes that operationalized verbally effective disclosures with different nonverbal disclosure styles (i.e., high nonverbal involvement, low nonverbal involvement, written disclosure vignette without nonverbal information). All patients responded to the same forgiveness-related self-report measures after having been exposed to one of the vignettes.


The results favored the proximity model of interpersonal forgiveness, which implies that factors more proximal in time to the act of forgiving (i.e., patient rumination and empathy for the offender) are more predictive of forgiveness and non-forgiveness than less proximal factors (e.g., relationship variables and offense-related factors such as the presence or absence of an apology). Patients' fault attributions had no effect on their forgiveness across conditions. The results evidenced sizeable effects of physician nonverbal involvement-patients in the low nonverbal involvement condition perceived the error as more severe, experienced the physician's apology as less sincere, were more likely to blame the physician, felt less empathy, ruminated more about the error, were less likely to forgive and more likely to avoid the physician, reported less closeness, trust, and satisfaction but higher distress, were more likely to change doctors, less compliant, and more likely to seek legal advice.


The findings of this study imply that physician nonverbal involvement during error disclosures stimulates a healing mechanism for patients and the physician-patient relationship. Physicians who disclose a medical error in a nonverbally uninvolved way, on the other hand, carry a higher malpractice risk and are less likely to promote healthy, reconciliatory outcomes.

The article is here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Complaints about doctors rarely lead to formal discipline

By Holly Moore
CBC News 
Originally posted January 29, 2016

Nearly 8,000 Canadians filed a complaint about a physician last year, but on average only about 54 doctors were formally disciplined in each of the past 15 years. Of those complaints, just over half were determined to require no further action.

Historical data examined by CBC News found cases of 817 physicians that resulted in formal discipline, which is the only part of the disciplinary process for colleges of physicians and surgeons that is consistently made public across Canada.

"That number's not anywhere near what's actually happening. Those are the ones you could get to," said Ann Van Regan, a volunteer responder with TELL (Therapy Exploitation Link Line), a network of survivors of sex abuse by physicians and psychotherapists. "They say they're taking it seriously, but their actions show that they are not."

The article is here.

Prevalence and Characteristics of Physicians Prone to Malpractice Claims

D. M. Studdert, M. M. Bismark, M. M. Mello, H. Singh, and M. J. Spittal
N Engl J Med 2016; 374:354-362
January 28, 2016


The distribution of malpractice claims among physicians is not well understood. If claim-prone physicians account for a substantial share of all claims, the ability to reliably identify them at an early stage could guide efforts to improve care.


Using data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, we analyzed 66,426 claims paid against 54,099 physicians from 2005 through 2014. We calculated concentrations of claims among physicians. We used multivariable recurrent-event survival analysis to identify characteristics of physicians at high risk for recurrent claims and to quantify risk levels over time.


Approximately 1% of all physicians accounted for 32% of paid claims. Among physicians with paid claims, 84% incurred only one during the study period (accounting for 68% of all paid claims), 16% had at least two paid claims (accounting for 32% of the claims), and 4% had at least three paid claims (accounting for 12% of the claims). In adjusted analyses, the risk of recurrence increased with the number of previous paid claims. For example, as compared with physicians who had one previous paid claim, the 2160 physicians who had three paid claims had three times the risk of incurring another (hazard ratio, 3.11; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.84 to 3.41); this corresponded in absolute terms to a 24% chance (95% CI, 22 to 26) of another paid claim within 2 years. Risks of recurrence also varied widely according to specialty — for example, the risk among neurosurgeons was four
times as great as the risk among psychiatrists.


Over a recent 10-year period, a small number of physicians with distinctive characteristics accounted for a disproportionately large number of paid malpractice claims.

The article is here.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

When Bad Doctors Happen to Good Patients

By Thomas Moore and Steve Cohen
The New York Times
Originally published August 31, 2015

Here is an excerpt:

That Lavern’s Law wasn’t allowed to come up for a final vote is Albany’s shame. The greater shame is that hospitals don’t put more emphasis on patient safety. As the Lavern’s Law travesty makes clear, we need better solutions. Don’t limit what injured people may collect, and don’t make it more difficult for victims to get their cases heard. Even better for all concerned, keep the negligent act from ever happening in the first place. And there are practical ways to do that.

Doctors and hospitals must do a better job of policing themselves. Six percent of all doctors were estimated to be responsible for 58 percent of all malpractice payments between 1991 and 2005. State licensing agencies must do a much better job of keeping those worst of the worst out of hospitals. The threshold for state medical licensing agencies to initiate reviews should be reduced; in New York it takes six malpractice judgments or settlements. It should be three at most.

The entire article is here.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Instilling empathy among doctors pays off for patient care

By Sandra G. Boodman via Kaiser Health News
CNN website
Originally posted March 26, 2015

Here is an excerpt:

Clinical empathy was once dismissively known as "good bedside manner" and traditionally regarded as far less important than technical acumen. But a spate of studies in the past decade has found that it is no mere frill. Increasingly, empathy is considered essential to establishing trust, the foundation of a good doctor-patient relationship.

Studies have linked empathy to greater patient satisfaction, better outcomes, decreased physician burnout and a lower risk of malpractice suits and errors. Beginning this year, the Medical College Admission Test will contain questions involving human behavior and psychology, a recognition that being a good doctor "requires an understanding of people," not just science, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges. Patient satisfaction scores are now being used to calculate Medicare reimbursement under the Affordable Care Act. And more than 70 percent of hospitals and health networks are using patient satisfaction scores in physician compensation decisions.

The entire article is here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Psychologist in "Kids for Cash" Scandal Surrenders License

By Roger DuPuis
The Times Leader
Originally published November 12, 2014

The psychologist brother-in-law of disgraced former Luzerne County judge Michael T. Conahan has given up his license for “gross incompetence, negligence or misconduct” carrying out his past work evaluating juveniles in the county court system, state officials said Wednesday.

The Pennsylvania Board of Psychology said Frank James Vita, of Dorrance Township, “grossly deviated from ethical and professional standards” after reviewing 76 of the cases he had handled.

Vita once was linked to the county’s “Kids for Cash” judicial scandal in a civil suit that alleged he conspired with Conahan and fellow former judge Mark Ciavarella to perform evaluations that led to juveniles being incarcerated in facilities in which the judges had a financial interest.

The entire article is here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

8 Malpractice Dangers in Your EHR

By Neil Chesanow
Originally published August 26, 2014

Many physicians are so concerned about being sued for malpractice that they routinely order unnecessary tests and procedures to practice defensive medicine. And yet, when it comes to legal risks in using their electronic health records (EHRs), their concern is often nonexistent, experts assert.

Many doctors use their EHRs in nonstandard ways, without considering how this may affect them in a liability suit. Or they gloss over other aspects of using an EHR.

"Every aspect of EHR selection, implementation, and use may be examined in the course of medical malpractice discovery to uncover the source of the incident, or undermine the records that are being presented in defense of the malpractice claim," warns Ronald B. Sterling, CPA, MBA, an EHR expert in Silver Spring, Maryland, and author of Keys to EMR Success.

"Anything could be a malpractice issue," Sterling says, "from the product itself, to the way it was set up, to how you've been using it."

Are your EHR practices setting you up for a rude awakening should a patient sue you for malpractice? Let's take a look.

The entire article is here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

VA Is Broken: Death, Medical Mistreatment, Claims Backlogs And Neglect

By Jamie Reno
International Business Times
Originally posted on November 27, 2013

Here is an excerpt:

One presidential administration after another has vowed to fix the embattled VA, which employs more than 300,000 men and women and is the second largest department in the federal government after the Pentagon. President Obama has even increased VA's annual budget to an all-time high of $150 billion. But VA’s health care system continues to worsen in more and more dangerous ways, severely underserving the nearly 7 million veterans who rely on the network for care annually.

In just the past year, we've learned about at least 21 preventable deaths of military veterans at VA facilities across the nation as well as the spread of infectious diseases at these hospitals and clinics. In addition, there is evidence of bonuses awarded to executives at troubled VA hospitals and a lengthy ongoing disability claims backlog. Meanwhile, frustrated lawmakers hold hearings on VA shortcomings, adopt new rules in hopes of turning the VA around, and even create websites highlighting VA's many problems -- to no avail.

“It’s become apparent to me and many others that there is a culture of complacency among the agency’s middle management,” Rep. Jeffrey Miller (R-Fla.), chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC), told International Business Times.

The entire story is here.