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State Supreme Court Removes Limits on Malpractice Damages

On March 13, 2014 the Florida State Supreme Court ruled that the 2003 law that capped damages at $500,000 or $1,000,000 (depending on circumstances and number of people involved) is unconstitutional.
According to Chief Justice, Ricky Polston, who dissented with the majority opinion, this reversal of the 2003 law jeopardizes the state’s efforts to “reduce medical malpractice insurance rates and increase healthcare affordability and availability in Florida.”

Medical Malpractice Payouts and Excess Judgments

• 2012 national payouts in dollars: $3.6 billion
• Total number of payouts for medical malpractice: 12,142 (one every 43 minutes)
• Payouts resulting from judgments: 5 percent
• Payouts resulting from settlements: 93 percent
• Florida medical malpractice payouts: $203,671,100

Improper Billing and RAC

(Recovery Audit Contractors)
• Allegations of improper billing can take up to 24 months to close.
• More than $100,000 can be incurred in legal expenses.
• Healthcare providers may be audited every 45 days.
• The cost of a shadow audit (3rd party billing auditors) may be more expensive than the cost of an attorney.
• An unprecedented $4.1 billion has been recovered in fraud and abuse prevention efforts.
• The government posture is to recover as much as possible.

Cyber Threats and HIPAA

• Nine hospitals in 10 have suffered at least one data breach.
• Breaches cost healthcare organization an estimated $7 billion per year.
• 45% of victim institutions have been breached more than five times.
• Breaches included loss of medical identity, inaccurate or incomplete patient medical records, or administration of improper medical treatment.

Sources: IVANS.com, June 2011; HealthLawyers.org, 2012; RAC Monitor, June 2012; Bitfender.con, Dec. 2012; beckershopsitalreview.com, May 2013.

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