Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Providing news to the San Francisco Medical Community.


Calif. Attorney General Files Brief Supporting Health Reform Law

California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) has joined nine other attorneys general in filing a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the constitutionality of the federal health reform law, SF Weekly's "The Snitch" reports. The brief was filed with the St. Louis-based Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is reviewing a lawsuit challenging the reform law (Jamison, "The Snitch," SF Weekly, 8/22). Background A number of lawsuits are challenging the constitutionality of the law. Most recently, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month ruled that the law's requirement that U.S. citizens purchase health insurance exceeded the scope of federal power. However, the California-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the law. Observers say the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately will rule on the law (California Healthline, 8/15). Details of the Brief Harris filed the brief with attorneys general from:
  • Connecticut;
  • Delaware;
  • Hawaii;
  • Iowa;
  • Maryland;
  • New York;
  • Oregon;
  • Vermont; and
  • The District of Columbia.
The brief supports the constitutionality of the reform law and urges the court to affirm states' rights to protect the health and safety of their citizens. Harris said in a statement that the law "strikes an appropriate, constitutional balance between federal and state authority over the health care system." She added that the law "establishes federal standards, backed by federal funding, to expand access to affordable coverage" while giving states leeway to design systems that work best for their residents (Highland Community News, 8/22). Read more: http://www.californiahealthline.org/articles/2011/8/23/calif-attorney-general-files-brief-supporting-health-reform-law.aspx#ixzz1Vt4KZUvG

Prescription Drug Shortages Forcing Physicians and Pharmacists To Scramble

Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle reported record shortages of prescription drugs in the United States are forcing pharmacists and doctors to scramble to find medications for their patients, suitable alternatives, or to delay potentially lifesaving treatments. Federal recalls, production problems and corporate decisions to discontinue certain medications for financial reasons are cited as the chief causes of the dwindling drug supplies. In 2006, 70 drugs were in short supply. By the end of last year, the number had jumped to 211, according to the University of Utah Drug Information Service, which tracks prescription drug shortages. Some 190 drugs are currently hard to come by. More than 90 percent of U.S. hospitals polled by the American Hospital Association in June reported experiencing a drug shortage in the past six months, and nearly 45 percent said they had experienced at least 21 shortages during that time. [caption id="attachment_1223" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="Source: California Society of Health-System Pharmacists. * Reasons given by manufacturers."][/caption] Read the full article at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/21/MNJ71KMGDU.DTL.

Career Fair for Residents and Fellows: September 27

Calling all residents, fellows, and employers! SFMS will be hosting our second annual Career Fair next month. This is an excellent opportunity for physicians looking to practice in the Bay Area to network with representatives from a variety of practice types and settings, and for employers to connect with physician job seekers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011                                                               

5:00 pm to 8:00 pm; Exhibitor setup from 4:30 pm to 5:00 pm        

The Enright Room                                                                                          

California Pacific Medical Center, Pacific Campus                

Employers: As part of an effort to make participation accessible to all, we are offering a tired pricing structure for employers ranging from $100 to $250; solo practices can exhibit free-of-charge. To reserve your table, download and complete the Career Fair Employer Registration Form. Questions? Contact the Membership Department at (415) 561-0850 or email membership@sfms.org.


Join SFMS for a SF Symphony Night!

Join the SFMS on Friday, October 28, for an evening at the SF Symphony! Reserve your seat today to see Alan Gilbert of the New York Philharmonic conduct Beethoven and Hayden. Program includes Beethoven Symphony No. 8, Henri Dutilleuz L’Arbre des songes, and Haydn Symphony No. 99. The $75 package includes access to the Green Room with complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres and one ticket in the Orchestra section. Space is limited, please contact SFMS by September 27, 2011 to reserve your space for this event. Friday, October 28, 2011                                                                                                          6:00 pm - SFMS Mixer (Green Room)                                                      8:00 pm - SF Symphony Programming                                          Davies Symphony Hall Click here to RSVP for the SFMS Night at the Symphony. Questions? Contact SFMS at (415) 561-0850 or membership@sfms.org.

CMA Defends MICRA Before Appellate Court

California Medical Association, California Hospital Association, California Dental Association, and the American Medical Association will participate today in oral argument defending the constitutionality of MICRA.

The California Medical Association will argue in favor of maintaining California’s successful Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) before the 5th Appellate District Court in Fresno today. The court will hear oral arguments in the case of Stinnett v. Tam, a case challenging the constitutionality of MICRA’s cap on non-economic damages.  Counsel for amici California Medical Association-California Hospital Association-California Dental Association and the American Medical Association, will participate in the proceedings.

“MICRA is the national model for medical liability reform,” said Francisco Silva, CMA General Counsel. “The law was passed in response to a crisis to protect patients and ensure that physicians be able to practice medicine. The law has worked to keep medical liability rates low and has allowed doctors to remain in practice treating their patients.” The entire medical and health care community is supportive of MICRA and has stood firmly behind it throughout each legal challenge.  Stinnet v. Tam is the latest of these challenges funded by trial lawyer groups from around the country. Under MICRA, injured patients are fairly compensated, medical liability rates are kept in check, and physicians and clinics can remain in practice treating patients. MICRA allows patients with justifiable medical negligence claims to receive the following forms of compensation:
  • Unlimited economic damages for past and future medical costs.
  • Unlimited damages for lost wages, lifetime earning potential or any other economic losses.
  • Unlimited punitive damages.
  • Up to $250,000 for non-economic damages, also called pain and suffering.
  • MICRA also includes a sliding pay scale to control attorney contingency fees, ensuring that more money goes to patients, not lawyers.
MICRA has proven effective in reducing and stabilizing medical liability insurance costs, which in turn has helped limit the rate of growth in health care costs and increased access to health care for all Californians. Not surprisingly, trial lawyers have long sought to overturn the limits on non-economic damages. Each attempt has been unsuccessful. That’s why in addition to challenging the law in the court, trial lawyers also will be seeking changes in the California State Legislature.  It is expected their changes to MICRA will include quadrupling the non-economic damages cap to $1 million.

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