Frivolous Law Suits Called Legalized Extortion

LawInfo.com reports that lawyers could lose their licenses for a year for repeatedly filing frivolous lawsuits under a bill sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and headed for passage in the House.

"All they want is for the defendant to settle," Smith said of the lawyers for these plaintiffs. "This is legalized extortion.  Insurance premiums and health care costs have risen as a result."

The American Bar Association says the measure would infringe on states’ rights by setting policy in state as well as federal courts.

http://blog.lawinfo.com/2005/10/27/bill-would-punish-frivolous-lawsuit-filers/

All the World’s a Stage

CareerBuilder.com reports that many executives are turning to acting classes to help build their confidence and create a stronger presence.

Whether you’re looking to be a corporate star or simply to communicate more effectively, here are 10 techniques actors use to improve their performance:

  • Become the audience
    Breathe
    Carry yourself with presence
    Voice control
    Inflection
    Appreciate silence
    Use eye contact to connect
    Never look desperate
    Have enthusiasm
    Make graceful exits

Find out how to use these tips at work:
http://www.careerbuilder.com/jobseeker/careerbytes/0405acting.htm

Grand Rounds 2.05

Grand Rounds 2.05, the best of the medical blogosphere, is up at Hospital Impact, where Tony Chen posts a letter from Jan Itor to the CEO, Mr. Hoss Pitle.  I must say Jan Itor has some odd friends… 

Speaking of Tony, if you’d like to hear him speak, he was recently intereviewed by Kent Bottles of SoundPractice.net and the podcast can be found here.   

Next week’s Grand Rounds will be hosted by KidneyNotes.

Technorati Tag: Grand Rounds

Murder and Malpractice

From Medical Economics:
Murdered – A popular young doctor lay dead. The prime suspect: A fellow physician

The story of the murder of David Brian Stidham, M.D., a pediatric ophthalmologist from Tuscon, Arizona.  The prime suspect? Another pediatric ophthalmologist from Tuscon,  Bradley Schwartz, M.D.

From Texas Monthly Dr. Evil

The account of Eric Scheffey, M.D., a Houston Orthopaedic surgeon who has been sued 78 times.

The Ugly Truth about Credentialing & Privileging – Part II

In Part I of this lesson you learned that the credentialing/privileging process is deep, dark, and sometimes painful.
 
The Purpose of Part II is to show you that there can indeed be light at the end of the tunnelIf you fill out your application honestly and carefully, that light at the end of the tunnel will Train_2likely lead you straight to privileges, patients, and prosperity (well, privileges and patients anyway.) If however, you’ve tried to pull the wool over the eyes of your intrepid medical staff service professional and medical staff leaders by not revealing the truth, the whole truth, and  nothing but the truth, well, let’s just say there may be something far heavier heading your way at the end of that tunnel.   

I have a few simple tips to share with physicians and other providers who apply for hospital privileges.  Most of these tips will also work well if you’re applying for privileges at another type of healthcare organization, or for membership on a managed care panel.

Top Ten Things Physicians Do To Derail The Application Process:

  • 10. Write illegibly
  • 9. Leave numerous areas of the application blank with “see CV” scrawled across the page
  • 8. Shave a few years off your date of birth.  Who’s going to notice, right?
  • 7. Refuse to give your social security number, date of birth, year of medical school graduation etc., and write “none of your business” on the application.
  • 6. Fail to include requested supporting documents.
  • 5. Guess at your dates of medical school graduation, residency completion, etc.
  • 4. List your parents as professional references.  After all, if Mom thinks you’re a good doctor, you must be okay.
  • 3. List professional references who cannot, do not, will not, respond to our requests for information. 
  • 2. Forget to mention that you were named in one or more malpractice actions, lost one or more medical licenses, had one or more institutions revoke your privileges, etc.
  • 1. Give your name as Michael Swango, M.D.  (If by unfortunate chance that really is your name, considering going into another line of work.)

And now, for a bit of detail:

Number 10 – Write illegibly
You may think that if you write illegibly no one can accuse you of not answering accurately.  Here’s the scoop.  We who work in the world of credentialing generally have way more things to do than time to do them.  That means that if you attempt to make us decipher terrible handwriting on your application you are likely to either A) get the thing back with a request that it be redone, or B) find that your application consistently gets shuffled to the bottom of our stack while we work on the ones we actually can read.

Number 9 – Write See CV
While writing “see CV” works on many applications, it is unacceptable on an application for medical staff membership and privileges.  At the end of your application you will be asked to sign a statement that says something along the lines of “I swear that everything I’ve written down here is true to the best of my knowledge.”  Courts have been less than inclined to accept “see CV” as a fulfillment of that statement.   Keep writing.

Number 8 – Shave a few years off your date of birth
We check.  If the DOB you give us doesn’t match up to the one on your records, we figure that either A) you have such a bad memory for detail that your ability to practice medicine must be questioned, or B) you don’t ascribe to that “honesty is the best policy” tenet, which makes us wonder what else you’ll lie to us about. 

Number 7 – Write “none of your business” on your application
Sorry, if we’re going to entrust our patient’s, friend’s, and family’s lives to you, it is our business.  Health care providers do have to supply a considerable amount of personal information in order to get membership and privileges.  Your patients don’t have a right to ask, but they trust that we have, and that we’ve gotten the answers.  We take that trust seriously.

Number 6 – Don’t send requested documents
Without copies of the requested documents your application is incomplete.  Incomplete = no privileges.  Which means of course, that as you collect those various documents over the years, keep them in an easy to locate file, it will make all of our lives simpler.

Number 5 – Guess at dates
If you tell us that you graduated from medical school in 1983, but the medical school says you graduated in 1985, we get very suspicious.  (As you may have guessed, having a suspicious mind is a job requirement for my line of work.)  We wonder, do you not remember when you graduated?  Refer back to conclusions A and B in statement #8.

Number 4 – List relatives as references
We’re really glad your parents (aunts, uncles, siblings, etc.) like you.  Happy families make for happy doctors.  Relative references however make us wonder if A) anybody who actually works with you likes you, and B) whether your relatives might be influenced by the hope that you get a job and pay back all the money they loaned you while you were in medical school.  Avoid references with obvious conflict of interest issues.

Number 3 – List professional references who don’t respond
Admittedly you may not know this about these people at first.  However, in cases where you have a choice about who to list (as opposed to tell us the name of your last program director) give us people to contact who will actually respond.  It is very helpful if you tell them you’ve submitted an application with their name listed, and ask them to please return the requested reference as soon as possible. This is often our number one hold-up in moving an application through the process.

Number 2 – “Forget” to mention something adverse
We check.  Chances are quite high that we will uncover whatever you haven’t told us.  Adverse events in your history MAY keep you from being granted privileges.  Lying about or omitting adverse events will almost ALWAYS keep you from being granted privileges.  It could also cause a denial or revocation of membership and privileges, which may result in a report being filed about you with the National Practitioner Data Bank.  You’ve spent so much time, energy, and money training to be a physician; don’t throw it away by lying to us.

Number 1 – Be Michael Swango Blindeye_1
If you’ve never read the book “Blind Eye – How the medical establishment let a doctor get away with murder” by James Stewart, pick up a copy.  It’s the story of MD serial killer Michael Swango.

It will help you understand why Medical Staff Service Professionals, as well as Credentials Committee, Medical Executive Committee and Board members tend to be so paranoid and picky.  None of us want to look into the eyes of a grieving family member and say, “We just didn’t know.” 

It’s our job to know.  And it’s your job to help us.

Federal Agencies Fail to Report to the National Practictioner Data Bank

The New York Times reports that the new Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services has uncovered yet another failure in reporting to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) - that of the government itself.

Federal health agencies routinely flout a requirement to report any cases in which they pay medical malpractice claims against the government, federal investigators said.  Such reports are meant to protect the public against incompetent doctors. Hospitals and health plans check such information before hiring doctors or granting them privileges.

Federal health officials told the inspector general that they did not want to report payments if they believed that the care provided by a doctor measured up to an appropriate standard of care.

New York Times article – Study Finds Failure to File Malpractice Data
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/19/politics/19docs.html

Emergiblog – on the Virtue of Humility

There’s a great post on Emergiblog (My Life and Times an as Emergency Department RN) where Kim, our intrepid and experienced Emergency Department nurse, shares a few thoughts on the virtue of humility.  She keeps her sense of humor and her dignity while admiting

  • Doctors are doctors for a reason. I am not a doctor, although I will occasionally play one in my mind.
  • Nobody’s perfect (sniff)!

Perhaps this blog appeals to me because I worked in an ED.  It’s a world like no other.  Or, maybe it’s just that I’ve ingested more than my share of humble pie over the years.

Take a look – it’s a good read. 
http://emergiblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/contusion-that-wasnt.html

I’m not a Doctor – I just play one to pick up women!

I was browsing KevinMD and came across a reference to this bizarre news story.

An Orlando, FL man has been arrested for impersonating a doctor in order to impress women. "He told me that he was Dr. Ofari Mays, a cardiothorasic surgeon," one woman
said.
"He came over in his doctor outfit, the lab coat, the green scrubs, the
shoes…" 

Orlando Regional Medical Center states that they found nothing to indicate that this man had any contact with
patients, although one hospital employee said she watched (West)
review patient records and discuss treatments with nurses and other doctors.

http://www.wftv.com/news/5127864/detail.html