Kansas Insurance Department Places Physicians Standard Insurance Co. in Rehabilitation

August 29, 2019 by matray

The Kansas Department of Insurance has issued the following news release:

On Aug. 20, 2019, the Shawnee County District Court in Topeka, Kan., signed an order placing Physicians Standard Insurance Co. (PSIC) in rehabilitation under the supervision of the Kansas Insurance Department. The Order of Rehabilitation (Order) was entered with consent of the Board of Directors of PSIC. Pursuant to the Order, Kansas Insurance Commissioner Vicki Schmidt will serve as Rehabilitator.

“A primary responsibility of the Kansas Insurance Department is protecting consumers by ensuring companies are financially solvent and capable of paying claims,” Commissioner Schmidt said. “The Department determined PSIC’s financial condition had deteriorated to the point it was necessary to take the extraordinary step of obtaining a court order to give the Department the authority needed to protect the consumers and policy holders of PSIC. I remain fully committed to rehabilitating PSIC and continuing our responsibility of protecting consumers.”

A letter from the Commissioner to policyholders on Aug. 23, 2019, states, in part, “[t]he Order allows the Commissioner, as Rehabilitator, to reform and revitalize PSIC to protect policyholders.” Under the Order, PSIC continues to operate and current policies remain in effect.

As of the date of the Order, PSIC provided medical malpractice insurance for approximately 484 medical professionals in Kansas and Missouri. Most of the policyholders are in Missouri with just a few in Kansas.

For further information, including the full Order for Rehabilitation, Frequently Asked Questions, and an Open Letter to Policyholders, please visit https://www.ksinsurance.org/department/LegalIssues/PSIC-Rehabilitation.php. Non-media questions can be sent to the Department at KID.PSIC@ks.gov.

Posted in Medical Malpractice News | Tagged | Leave a comment
ProAssurance to Report Results, Longterm Strategy at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods 2019 Insurance Conference

August 27, 2019 by matray

ProAssurance Corp. president and chief executive officer Edward L. Rand, Jr., will discuss the medical professional liability insurance company’s recently reported results, current market trends and long-term strategy during a question and answer session with investors at the Keefe, Bruyette & Woods 2019 Insurance Conference on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, at approximately 10:10 a.m. ET.

The presentation will be streamed live over the internet. The webcast will be available through the ProAssurance investor home page: http://investor.proassurance.com. The presentation will also be available directly from: http://wsw.com/webcast/kbw49/pra. Replays will be available from both websites for at least 90 days after the event.    

Posted in ProAssurance Corp. | Leave a comment
The Doctors Company Appoints New Chief Medical Officer

August 21, 2019 by matray

The Doctors Company announced the appointment of David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, CPE, FAAPL, FACS, as chief medical officer (CMO) of The Doctors Company Group. In this new role, Feldman will lead the group’s education efforts in — and be the primary spokesperson for — trends and issues on patient safety and risk management.

Feldman succeeds David Troxel, MD, who retired after more than 13 years as CMO.

Feldman will continue to serve as senior vice president and CMO at Healthcare Risk Advisors (HRA), formerly Hospitals Insurance Co. and FOJP Service Corp., which was recently acquired by The Doctors Company Group. Under his leadership, HRA provides resources and a collaborative environment designed to minimize claims and lower premiums for HRA clients by preventing patient harm, enhancing teamwork and communication, and improving documentation.

Prior to HRA, Feldman was vice president for patient safety, vice president of perioperative services and vice chairman of the department of surgery at Maimonides Medical Center (Maimonides) in Brooklyn, N.Y. He implemented numerous patient safety initiatives, including the use of the World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist. As past president of the Maimonides medical staff, Feldman was instrumental in the creation and implementation of a hospital-wide Code of Mutual Respect and physician peer review committee.

“We are pleased to welcome David to The Doctors Company Group,” said Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, chairman and CEO of The Doctors Company. “His leadership, depth of medical experience and commitment to optimal clinical performance and patient outcomes make him the ideal candidate to represent our clinical perspective.”

Feldman serves on the steering committee of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) for retraining and retooling of practicing surgeons. He has served on the ACS committee on perioperative care and as vice chairman of the ACS collaborative task force for the development of high-performance teams in surgery. He also served as the ACS liaison to the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses recommended practices committee.

Feldman is a master TeamSTEPPS trainer and a certified trainer in Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree and Doctor of Medicine degree from Duke University, completed training in general surgery at The Roosevelt Hospital (now Mount Sinai West) and plastic surgery at Duke University Medical Center. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from New York University.

“I am excited to join The Doctors Company Group and to serve as an ambassador to the medical profession on patient safety issues,” Feldman said. “I am honored to contribute to the future-looking vision for The Doctors Company’s patient safety organization that supports the needs of the business and the mission of advancing the practice of good medicine.”

The Doctors Company Group includes The Doctors Company and three wholly owned strategic business units: TDC Specialty Underwriters, which provides liability solutions for a variety of healthcare organizations and medical facilities; Medical Advantage Group, an innovator in maximizing health plan and physician clinical and financial performance in value-based contracting; and HRA, a premier provider of medical malpractice insurance and risk management advisory services to physicians and hospitals in New York.

Posted in Appointments and Promotions, Medical Malpractice News, The Doctors Company | Leave a comment
Ken Hawkins Joins Pinnacle Actuarial Resources as Consulting Actuary

August 20, 2019 by matray

Pinnacle Actuarial Resources announced that Ken Hawkins, ACAS, MAAA, has joined Pinnacle as a consulting actuary in the firm’s Bloomington, Ill., home office.

Hawkins returns to Pinnacle after three years of leading pricing and rate implementation for a regional property/casualty insurer’s commercial lines products.

“We are very pleased to welcome Ken back to Pinnacle,” managing principal Joe Herbers said. “Ken has tremendous breadth and depth of experience and will bring a highly relevant, customer-focused approach to the work he does for our clients.”

Hawkins has more than 13 years of experience in the property/casualty practice area. His expertise includes loss reserving, funding studies, cost-allocation mechanisms, loss-cost projections, captive-feasibility studies, commercial-lines ratemaking, financial analysis of insurance companies, deductible analysis and simulation methods. He has extensive experience developing simulations that utilize company-specific data to calculate risk margins.

Hawkins holds Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society (ACAS) and Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA) credentials and received his Bachelor of Science degree in actuarial science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Posted in Appointments and Promotions, Medical Malpractice News | Leave a comment
Internists, Leading Physician & Public Health Organizations Urge Immediate Action to Prevent Firearm-related Injury, Death

August 8, 2019 by matray

Abstract: http://annals.org/aim/article/doi/10.7326/M19-2441

The American College of Physicians (ACP) and the nation’s leading physician and public health organizations called for policies to reduce firearms-related injuries and deaths in the U.S. in a new call-to-action, “Firearm-Related Injury and Death in the United States: A Call to Action from the Nation’s Leading Physician and Public Health Professional Organizations,” published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“We are living in a world where gun violence is becoming increasingly common, and as physicians, we have a responsibility to address this public health crisis and to keep our patients safe and healthy,” said Robert McLean, MD, FACP, president, ACP.

ACP, together with the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Public Health Association, delineate the following in a new policy paper:

• Comprehensive criminal background checks for all firearm purchases, including sales by gun dealers, sales at gun shows, private sales and transfers between individuals with limited exceptions should be required.

• Research into the causes and consequences of firearm violence and unintentional injuries and deaths to help identify, test, and implement strategies to reduce these unnecessary injuries and deaths is urgently needed.

• Currently, federal laws prohibiting domestic abusers from accessing firearms apply only to spouses and not dating partners— this loophole in the background check system must be closed. Offenders who have been found guilty of a crime of violence against a family member or intimate partner, including dating partners, cohabitants, stalkers, and those who victimize a family member other than a partner or child should be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.

• Storing firearms safely and securely is essential to reducing the risk of unintentional or intentional injuries or deaths from firearms, particularly in homes with children, adolescents, people with dementia, people with substance use disorders, and the small subset of people with serious mental illnesses that are associated with greater risk of harming themselves and others.

• The great majority of those with a mental illness or substance use disorder are not violent; however, screening, access and treatment for mental health disorders play a critical role in reducing self-harm and interpersonal violence. The organizations represented in this paper support improved access to mental health care and caution against broadly including all individuals with a mental health or substance use disorder in a category of individuals prohibited from purchasing firearms.

• Extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws, which allow families and law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from individuals at imminent risk of using them to harm themselves or others, should be enacted in a manner consistent with due process.

• Physicians can and must be able to advise their patients on issues that affect their health, including counseling at-risk patients about mitigating the risks associated with firearms in the home and firearm safety.

• The magnitude and frequency of mass attacks are unacceptable to our organizations. A common-sense approach to reducing casualties in mass shooting situations must effectively address high-capacity magazines and firearms with features designed to increase their rapid and extended killing capacity.

For more than two decades, ACP has advocated for the urgent need for impactful legislation that would reduce firearms-related injuries and deaths, and our policy paper sparked the “This Is Our Lane” movement of physicians speaking out on gun violence prevention. Additionally, in light of last weekend’s shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, ACP released a statement expressing our frustration and sadness.

“We need to protect our patients, their families, and our communities across the country from needless injuries and deaths, it’s time for the U.S. to put firearms violence prevention at the forefront of the health care conversation,” said Dr. McLean. “We are committed to working with all stakeholders, and continuing to speak out, to address this public health threat.”

All firearms-related health policy content published in Annals of Internal Medicine is free to the public at http://annals.org/aim/pages/firearm-related-content.

Posted in Medical Malpractice News | Leave a comment
The Doctors Company Completes Acquisition of Hospital Insurance Co., FOJP Service Corp. in New York

August 1, 2019 by matray

The Doctors Company has completed the purchase of Hospitals Insurance Company (HIC), a New York State admitted and licensed insurance company, and FOJP Service Corp., a New York service organization that provides third-party comprehensive insurance and risk management advisory services to HIC-insured hospitals. The purchase price is $650 million, subject to closing adjustments.

"We are excited to bring our mission to advance, protect, and reward the practice of good medicine to an even greater number of healthcare providers in New York," said Richard E. Anderson, MD, FACP, chairman and CEO of The Doctors Company. "Our mission is beautifully aligned with the great work of HIC and FOJP."

Proceeds from the transaction will be returned to the not-for-profit hospitals that owned and founded HIC and FOJP more than 30 years ago — The Mount Sinai Hospital and Beth Israel Medical Center (Mount Sinai), Montefiore Health System (Montefiore) and Maimonides Medical Center (Maimonides).

"Mount Sinai, Montefiore and Maimonides are indispensable anchors of New York's healthcare system, and this transaction will not only strengthen their ability to provide high-quality care to their communities, but also make capital improvements that will benefit millions of New Yorkers," said Greater New York Hospital Association president Kenneth E. Raske.

The close of this transaction is also the inception of Healthcare Risk Advisors (HRA), a new business unit within the TDC Group, which will succeed FOJP and focus on third-party comprehensive insurance and risk management advisory services, including management of the self-insured programs of large healthcare organizations in New York and beyond.

HIC will continue to exist as an admitted New York-domiciled insurer providing coverage for hospitals, physicians affiliated with HIC's insured hospitals, and long-term care facilities and social services agencies. HIC and FOJP employees will become part of HRA and continue to provide the same outstanding services to HIC, the member hospitals, longterm care facilities and social services agencies as prior to the transaction.

HRA and HIC will be led by Noeleen Doelger as chief operating and financial officer and Robert A. Kauffman as president. Walter Harris, who served as president and CEO of HIC and FOJP prior to the transaction, will assume a consulting role with the TDC Group and report to Dr. Anderson.

"This transaction provides a platform on which to expand our self-insured programs to additional physicians, hospitals, and healthcare systems," said Kauffman. "At the same time, we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide our founding hospitals with the excellent service that supports what they do best — providing quality healthcare to their communities."

Posted in Acquisitions and Mergers, Medical Malpractice News, The Doctors Company | Leave a comment
ISMIE Mutual Partners with Kentucky DOs

July 31, 2019 by matray

ISMIE Mutual Insurance Co. announced a new affinity program partnership with the Kentucky Osteopathic Medical Association (KOMA). Through the program, KOMA members will receive access to ISMIE’s risk management services, premium discounts and other. Physicians coming out of residency are eligible for special discounts.

“We look forward serving the members of KOMA through this exciting new affinity partnership,” said ISMIE Chairman Paul H. DeHaan, MD. “KOMA joins the Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania state osteopathic associations as ISMIE affinity partners. We find that ISMIE’s comprehensive approach to providing medical professional liability coverage aligns nicely with how DOs approach patient care.”

Kentucky osteopathic physicians who are members of KOMA can access the ISMIE affinity program through all ISMIE-appointed brokers. KOMA members can access more information and request a quote at www.ismie.com/KOMA.

Posted in ISMIE Mutual, Medical Malpractice News | Leave a comment
ProAssurance Named a Ward’s 50 Company for the Thirteenth Consecutive Year

July 17, 2019 by matray

ProAssurance Corp. has been named to the Ward’s 50 for 2019. This is the thirteenth-consecutive year the Ward Group has recognized ProAssurance as one of America’s fifty top performing property-casualty insurance companies.

To be included in the Ward’s 50, companies are subject to a rigorous evaluation process that includes financial performance, asset quality and capital position, revenue growth, underwriting results, financial returns and operational excellence.

“Being named to the Ward’s 50 for the thirteenth consecutive year is an accomplishment that highlights the success of our long-term strategy, emphasizing the unrivaled protection and security we offer our customers," said Ned Rand, ProAssurance’s president and chief executive officer. "It is a testament to our employees and distribution partners that we have extended our Ward’s run despite the challenging insurance marketplace in which we operate, made possible by their unyielding dedication to our promise of ‘Treated Fairly’.”

“We recognize ProAssurance for outstanding financial results in the areas of safety, consistency and performance over a five-year period,” said Jeff Rieder, partner and head of Ward Group. “In selecting the Ward’s 50, we analyze the financial performance of nearly 3,000 property-casualty insurance companies, identifying the 50 companies that pass financial stability requirements and demonstrate the ability to grow while maintaining strong capital positions and underwriting results.”

Posted in Medical Malpractice News, ProAssurance Corp. | Leave a comment
A.M. Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Members of MedPro Group

July 11, 2019 by matray

A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A++ (Superior) and the Long-TermIssuer Credit Ratings of “aa+” of the members of MedPro Group (MedPro) (headquartered in Fort Wayne, IN). These Credit Ratings (ratings) apply to The Medical Protective Company (Fort Wayne, IN), its affiliates: Princeton Insurance Company (Princeton, NJ); PLICO, Inc. (Oklahoma City, OK); Wellfleet Insurance Company (Fort Wayne, IN); and Wellfleet New York Insurance Company (Flushing, NY); as well as MedPro’s two reinsured affiliates, MedPro RRG Risk Retention Group and AttPro RRG Reciprocal Risk Retention Group (both domiciled in the District of Columbia). The outlook of these ratings is stable.

The ratings reflect MedPro’s balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

The ratings also acknowledge MedPro’s robust capitalization, long-term operating performance and the significant market position it maintains in the medical professional liability (MPL) sector. Additionally, the ratings consider the group’s substantial distribution capabilities, prudent claims-handling philosophy and culture of maintaining a margin of safety. Furthermore, the ratings benefit from the explicit and implicit financial support provided by the ultimate parent, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which includes reinsurance programs, investment opportunities and capital support.

Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are the inherent challenges associated with being a predominately monoline MPL insurer, particularly as they relate to price competition, changing market dynamics, potential changes in legislation (i.e., tort reform), increasing loss cost trends and regulatory risk. At the same time, AM Best recognizes the organization’s strong management team, broad premium base and jurisdictional diversity that mitigate these concerns.

Downward rating pressure may result from a significant decrease in risk-adjusted capitalization from an adverse earnings trend due to underwriting or investment losses. Downward rating pressure also may result should the group’s relationship with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. or National Indemnity Company change, which also would result in a diminution of the business profile.

Posted in A.M. Best, Medical Malpractice News, Medical Protective (MedPro) | Leave a comment

July 1, 2019 by matray

AMA Abortion Lawsuit Puts Doctors In The Thick Of Debate

The American Medical Association is suing North Dakota to block two abortion-related laws, the latest signal the doctors’ group is shifting to a more aggressive stance as the Trump administration and state conservatives ratchet up efforts to eliminate legal abortion.

The group, which represents all types of physicians, has tended to stay on the sidelines of many controversial political issues, and until recently has done so concerning abortion and contraception. Instead, it has focused on legislation that affects the practice and finances of large swaths of its membership.

But, said AMA President Patrice Harris in an interview, the organization felt it had to take a stand because new laws forced the small number of doctors who perform abortions to lie to patients, putting “physicians in a place where we are required by law to commit an ethical violation.”

One of the laws, set to take effect Aug. 1, requires physicians to tell patients that medication abortions — a procedure involving two drugs taken at different times — can be reversed. The AMA said that is “a patently false and unproven claim unsupported by scientific evidence.” North Dakota is one of several states to pass such a measure.

The AMA, along with the last remaining abortion clinic in the state, is also challenging an existing North Dakota law that requires doctors to tell pregnant women that an abortion terminates “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” The AMA said that law “unconstitutionally forces physicians to act as the mouthpiece of the state.”

It’s the second time this year the AMA has taken legal action on an abortion-related issue. In March, the group filed a lawsuit in Oregon in response to the Trump administration’s new rules for the federal family planning program. Those rules would, among other things, ban doctors and other health professionals from referring pregnant patients for abortions.

“The Administration is putting physicians in an untenable situation, prohibiting us from having open, frank conversations with our patients about all their health care options — a violation of patients’ rights under the [AMA] Code of Medical Ethics,” wrote then-AMA President Barbara McAneny.

It’s an unusually assertive stance for a group that has taken multiple positions on abortion-related issues over the years.

Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University who has written several books about abortion, said that the AMA’s history on abortion is complicated. In general, she said, the AMA “didn’t want to get into the [abortion] issue because of the political fallout and because historically there have been doctors in the AMA on both sides of the issue.”

In recent years, the AMA has taken mostly a back seat on abortion issues, even ones that directly addressed physician autonomy, leaving the policy lead to specialty groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which has consistently defended doctors’ rights to practice medicine as they see fit when it comes to abortion issues.

Ziegler said it is not entirely clear why the AMA has suddenly become more outspoken on women’s reproductive issues. One reason could be that the organization’s membership is skewing younger and less conservative. Also, this year, for the first time, the AMA’s top elected officials are all women.

In its earliest days, the AMA led the fight to outlaw abortion in the late 1800s, as doctors wanted to assert their professionalism and clear the field of “untrained” practitioners like midwives.

Abortion was not an issue for the group in the first half of the 20th century. The AMA became best known for successful fights to fend off a national health insurance system.

Leading up to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, the AMA softened its opposition. In 1970, the AMA board called for abortion decisions to be between “a woman and her doctor.” But the organization declined to submit a friend-of-the-court brief to the high court during its consideration of Roe.

In 1997, the AMA, in a surprise move, endorsed a GOP-backed measure to ban what opponents called “partial-birth abortions,” a little-used procedure that anti-abortion forces likened to infanticide. A year later, however, an audit of the AMA’s leadership found its trustees had “blundered” in endorsing the bill and had contradicted long-standing AMA policy.

One reason the organization may be moving on the issue now could be the shifting parameters of the abortion debate itself. In 1997, the abortion procedure ban that the AMA endorsed “polled well and allowed abortion opponents to paint the other side as extremist,” Ziegler said.

Exactly the opposite is true today, she said, as states pass abortion bans more sweeping than those seen at any time since Roe v. Wade. Yet most public opinion polls show a majority of Americans want abortion to remain legal in many or most cases.

“As abortion opponents take more extreme positions, the AMA is probably a little more comfortable intervening” Ziegler added.

Molly Duane, a lawyer from the Center for Reproductive Rights who is arguing the case for the AMA and North Dakota’s sole remaining abortion clinic, said the laws being challenged are “something all doctors should be alarmed by. … This is an unprecedented act of invading the physician-patient relationship and forcing words into the mouths of physicians.”

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Posted in Informed Consent, Medical Malpractice, Medical Malpractice News, Uncategorized | Leave a comment