by Gregory L. Pemberton, Ice Miller, Indianapolis, IN
I celebrated a birthday recently. Do not even try to guess which one. When you are as old as dirt, it is understandable that the celebration is pretty calm. In any event, celebrating the anniversary of my birth and not being a year older suits me just fine. Aging, gracefully or otherwise, beats the alternative.
Disclosure Of Medical Errors Is Honesty The Best Policy Legally?
by Ken Braxton and Kip Poe, Stewart Stimmel LLP, Dallas, TX
A majority of states have adopted or are considering apology laws that exempt expressions of regret, sympathy or compassion from being considered as admissions of liability in medical malpractice lawsuits. The intent is to encourage physicians and other healthcare providers to apologize to patients when a medical error, accident or unanticipated outcome occurs without the apology being taken as an admission of guilt. The consensus is that healthcare providers have become reluctant to explain to patients and their families what happened when procedures go wrong because they fear the information will be used against them in court. Many healthcare providers have struggled with their desire to explain and apologize to their patient, but have often been strongly advised against such open discussions by their defense attorneys. Is the reluctance justified or is honesty really the best policy?
EMTALA: An Update on Call Coverage and Payments for Services to Undocumented Aliens
by Hilary H. Young, Joy & Young, L.L.P., Austin, TX
During 2003 and 2004, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) underwent some changes. Congress passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) in November 2003 and established a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) charged with reviewing the EMTALA rules and offering recommendations. Section 1011 of the MMA also allocated $1 billion to be spent over the ensuing four fiscal years to reimburse eligible providers for EMTALA-related services rendered to undocumented aliens (referred to here as the Section 1011 program). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) adopted revised EMTALA regulations effective November 10, 2003 and then revised the EMTALA interpretive guidelines, effective May 13, 2004. On-call coverage continues to pose challenges; the TAG has met only three times; and the Section 1011 program was not implemented until early in the second fiscal year for which money has been allocated.
Interest Group Spotlight
Healthcare Facility Operations
This Healthcare Facility Operations Interest Group focuses on the laws, regulations, and policies governing the operations of hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The IG deals with areas of the law and regulations included within Medicare, Medicaid, EMTALA, state and local licensure laws and regulations, and standards of national organizations such as the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), and the National Committee on Quality Assurance.
The IG is led by Chair Alexandria Hien Nguyen , Baylor Health Care System, Dallas, TX and Vice Chairs Cyndi M. Baily , Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX; Amos Carty, Jr. , Roy L. Schneider Hospital, St. Thomas, VI; Lisa Sooter , Stewart & Stimmel, Dallas, TX and Edward M. Sosa, El Paso County Hospital District, El Paso, TX
If you would like to join the Interest Group, continue by clicking the following link: Health Law Section IG Sign-up Form.
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The opinions expressed are those of the authors and shall not be construed to represent the policies or positions of the ABA or the ABA Health Law Section.
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