May 29, 2007

Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Would this fly in Kentucky?

Doctors Attempt 'No Sue by Steven Klearman

Steveven Klearman of Reno has a very interesting read about OB/GYNS making their patients sign waivers containing arbitration agreements and caps on pain and suffering at $250,000.

Citing the high cost of medical malpractice insurance, more than a dozen ob-gyns have joined Obstetricians & Gynecologists Risk Retention Group of America (OGRRGA), a new Montana-based company that is reportedly reducing their premiums by about 50 percent. As part of their participation in the group, these physicians are requiring patients to sign agreements stating that they will pursue any subsequent disputes through binding arbitration.

They also must agree that pain-and-suffering awards will be capped at $250,000.

Clearly, this type of agreement would be unconstitutional in Kentucky.  But don’t think local doctors won’t try it.
June 13, 2006

Medical Malpractice Essentials: Sentinel Event and Root Cause Analysis

If you have handled medical malpractice cases in and around Kentucky you have no doubt practiced a case with Kirsten Daniel. She spent the last 8 years defending doctors and hospitals in Kentucky medical malpractice cases and gained extensive trial experience in the process. I am pleased and proud to say that she recently made the switch from the dark side and joined our firm.

On our way to meet with clients yesterday, Kirsten and I started talking about Sentinel Event and Peer Review materials and their importance in med mal litigation. She informed me that many plaintiff's lawyers don't even request Sentinel Event or Peer Review materials, which came as a big surprise to me. I can only assume this is because these lawyers don't know about the JCAHO's Sentinel Event policy. And that is a big problem, as these materials often contain a wealth of information which is not discoverable by any other means.

It is essential that any lawyer handling medical malpractice cases have a firm grasp of Sentinel Event, Root Cause Analysis and Peer Review procedures. The JCAHO website is a great place to start educating yourself on the subject.

Sentinel Event Links

Joint Commission Sentinel Event Main Page

Sentinel Event Policy and Procedures - Joint Commission

Joint Commission website search for "Sentinel Event"

JCAHO Sentinel Event Flow Chart

Here are two books which should be in the library of any medical malpractice lawyer:

Sentinel Events: Evaluating Cause and Planning Improvement, Second Edition

Root Cause Analysis in Health Care: Tools and Techniques, Third Edition

Medical Malpractice Essentials: "Patient Safety Essentials for Health Care"

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has released the Fourth Edition of its book "Patient Safety Essentials for Health Care." This is a valuable reference which should be in the library of any Kentucky malpractice lawyer.

The blurb: "This book is the complete guide to the Joint Commission's safety standards for ambulatory care, behavioral health care, critical access hospital, home care, hospital, and long term care organizations. It includes the standards, rationales, elements of performance, and scoring information in one handy resource. This book also identifies the commonalities among the standards to help readers understand which standards apply to which settings."

Order it for $75.00 here.

Thanks to John Day of MedMalBlog.com for bringing this important resource to our attention.

May 27, 2006

For the Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorney: Medical Resources on the Internet

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Janabeth Evans Taylor, R.N., R.N.C of Attorney's Medical Services has compiled a FANTASTIC list of medical resources on the internet. Below is a list of links ... to read the entire article, click: Utilizing the Power of the Web: Medical Resources for Attorneys

Medical information on the Internet is growing and diversifying. Every month more information is added and it becomes more challenging to sift through the many sites to find the content you are looking for. Traditional search engines do not focus on medical sites, and therefore some very valuable sites are overlooked or not updated into the index.

To date, there is no all-inclusive engine for searching medical sites. Nor is there a single engine that adequately and throughly indexes just the most reputable sites. These are a sampling of sites that will search for and retrieve up-to-date, applicable and current postings from peer-reviewed sources.

Continue reading "For the Kentucky Medical Malpractice Attorney: Medical Resources on the Internet" »

May 3, 2006

For the Louisville Injury Lawyer: LBA posts HIPAA compliant forms for download on website

click here for a complete list of LOUISVILLE BAR ASSOCIATION DOWNLOADABLE HIPAA COMPLIANT FORMS

On April 14, 2003, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy regulation took effect and created standards that most every entity and provider in the medical industry must adopt in order to protect the privacy of patient information.

One section of the regulation will have a significant impact on the process by which attorneys may obtain patient information from medical providers. In the past, attorneys have provided medical providers with a subpoena or written request for such information, and in many cases patients have signed a short authorization to release such records to attorneys.

HIPAA, however, changes the rules by which attorneys may obtain patient information. If the patient signs an authorization to release records to an attorney, the authorization must contain specific language. If an attorney sends a subpoena to obtain the documents, there must be additional action taken before the records can be released.

If patient information is released without the proper steps being taken, there could be potential violations of HIPAA. That is why the Louisville Bar Association (LBA), the Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys, and other groups have taken action action to address this issue. The LBA hosted a seminar on this subject where attendees obtained sample forms and additional information in an attempt to standardize, as much as possible, the process by which attorneys obtain patient information. This seminar is available on video from the LBA.

The LBA wanted to make you aware of this material so you will know what must be done in order to release patient information. Forms are available for download from the right column of this page. We encourage you to provide a link to this information on your website.

The LBA believes that this information may assist both attorneys and health care providers in complying with HIPAA and preventing significant disruptions of needed disclosures of patient information.

Should you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact Kimberly Farmer by phone, (502) 583-5314, or email (kfarmer@lba.win.net).

MODEL COVER LETTER FOR AUTHORIZATION

MODEL PLAINTIFF'S AUTHORIZATION

MODEL PSYCHOTHERAPY NOTES AUTHORIZATION

MODEL NOTICE TO TAKE PHYSICIAN'S DEPOSITION

PLAINTIFF'S MODEL LETTER TO TREATING PHYSICIAN WITH AUTHORIZATION

MODEL QUALIFIED PROTECTIVE ORDER

DEFENDENT'S MODEL LETTER TO RECORD'S CUSTODIAN (QPO)