Friday, October 31, 2014

Shame on California Teachers Association (CTA) for opposing Prop 46; is CTA in the pocket of the Medical Association?

The California Medical Association has been wining and dining Democrats.  California Teachers Association seems very vulnerable to such attentions.  CTA has been campaigning to protect negligent doctors, keeping shamefully low caps on damages for extreme harm to patients.  Prop 46 is a positive step in the right direction for protecting patients in California.  Why is CTA opposing it?  CTA is playing politics and ignoring basic principles of fairness.

We test kids who play basketball.  We test pilots.  Why don't we test doctors?  Think of how many lives would be saved if more doctors were thinking clearly when they see patients, and if doctors had to pay a reasonable amount when they ruin lives.  See below Consumer Watchdog press release and LA Times article.

Doctors That Harm - The Real Stories Insurance Companies Against Prop 46 Don't Want You To Know: Dr. Carl Bergstrom
Lisa Cohen

 CARMEL, CA: Dr. Bergstrom was arrested based on a report of sexual assault after a night of drinking.

During the trial, the prosecution produced an audiotape which Dr. Bergstrom had accidentally created when he left his office dictation machine on. Dr. Bergstrom was heard buying cocaine, using cocaine, and trading cocaine for sex on the 5.5 hours-long audiotape. Dr. Bergstrom admitted at trial that he traded prescription drugs for cocaine.

The audiotape also recorded Dr. Bergstrom issuing medical orders, dictating patient chart notes, and providing telephone consultations to patients after using, and while under the influence of, cocaine.
During the trial, two other women testified that they were similarly assaulted by Dr. Bergstrom. Both testified that they believed that they may have been drugged.

Dr. Bergstrom was ultimately sentenced to prison for felony sexual battery. As a result, Dr. Bergstrom's medical license was revoked.

Proposition 46, the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, will enact the first law in the nation to require random drug and alcohol tests of physicians in hospitals, modeled after the Federal Aviation Administration testing program that has successfully reduced substance abuse by pilots. Doctors found to be impaired on the job will have their license suspended. If Prop 46 had been in effect, Dr. Bergstrom's drug abuse may have been detected, possibly preventing threats to patient safety in the process.

Hall of Shame: Insurance Companies Backing No on 46

NorCal Mutual Insurance Company    $11,000,000.00
The Doctors Company    $10,500,000.00
Cooperative of American Physicians    $10,161,489.04
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan    $5,000,000.00
Medical Insurance Exchange of California    $5,000,000.00
The Dentists Insurance Company    $1,620,000.00
The Mutual Risk Retention Group    $1,000,000.00

All Insurers:     $44,613,583.22

Total:     $59,169,984.79

Insurance companies have spent nearly $45 million dollars to oppose Prop 46 in order to shield dangerous doctors like Dr. Bergstrom from punishment, at the expense of patient safety, in order to protect their already substantial profits. In total, the opposition to Prop 46 has over $59 million dollars in their warchest, outspending consumer and patient safety advocates more than 8:1.

Learn more about Proposition 46 and the campaign for patient safety at:

Your Neighbors for Patient Safety, a Coalition of Consumer Attorneys and Patient Safety Advocates - Consumer Attorneys of California Issues
Initiative Defense Political Action Committees
Kabateck, Brown, Kellner, LLP

A voter guide to California's boring but important ballot propositions
George Skelton Los Angeles Times
Oct. 30, 2014

...Prop. 46 would return the limit on medical malpractice pain-and-suffering payouts to the same dollar value it was in 1975. Inflation has greatly eroded it.

Doctors, hospitals and insurers have raised more than $55 million to kill the measure. They claim it would cause healthcare costs to skyrocket. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, however, calculates the increased cost as practically infinitesimal: less than 0.5%.

Back in 1975, then-Gov. Brown and the Legislature set the cap on noneconomic damage awards at $250,000. If that had been adjusted annually for inflation, it would be $1.1 million today. That's where Prop. 46 would reset it.

Opposition ads are demonizing trial lawyers, contending Prop. 46 is all about enriching them. But it's really about securing justice for malpractice victims, who now have difficulty hiring lawyers because the potential awards are so low.

The measure also does two other things. It would require drug and alcohol testing of hospital doctors. And to fight pain pill addiction, it would force doctors to use a state database that tracks patients' prescription histories.

It's long past time to bring the medical malpractice cap into the 21st century. And there's nothing wrong with requiring hospital doctors to undergo drug testing, as pilots and bus drivers do. Controlling pain pill addiction through modern technology also makes sense...

No comments: