A recent article, “Does Florida Face Another Medical Malpractice Fight?” serves as a warning to the public about how far heathcare professionals and business interests will go to mislead the public about its rights in serious medical malpractice litigation. And the deception is not limited to Florida; the sunshine state is simply the latest to put forward a phony group that suggests it operates in the interest of "citizens" or, in this case, "patients".
Alas, “Patients for Fair Compensation", does not consist of "patients". Rather, it is spearheaded by Richard Jackson who runs a healthcare staffing company responsible for developing 25 healthcare companies. His company, Jackson Healthcare, is the 4th largest healthcare staffing company in the United States.
Jackson claims to seek a fairer, more patient-centric system while driving down the skyrocketing costs of "defensive medicine". For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term "defensive medicine", it defines the practice of performing useless medical tests (which the doctor and testing facility are paid for) to, supposedly, avoid being sued for malpractice. Under this proposed “Patients Compensation System”, a patient who was medically harmed would file a claim for review by a "panel of experts". If that panel determines the injury was “avoidable,” the claim would be forwarded to a Compensation Board to award prompt compensation. If my readers are thinking: "what's wrong with that?", think again!
In addition to Mr. Jackson, Patients for Fair Compensation founding national board members are:
Charles R. Evans, Vice-Chairman. Mr. Evans also serves as President of the International Health Services Group (IHSG), a non-profit organization that provides health services to underserved areas of the world. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and served in Chairman positions from 2009-2011 and serves as a senior advisor to Jackson Healthcare. Previously, Mr. Evan served as President of the eastern group for HCA Inc.
Dr. Jeffrey Segal. Dr. Segal is a board certified neurosurgeon and the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Medical Justice, a physician based organization focused on broad-based solutions for challenges affecting the U.S. healthcare system. Dr. Segal is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Legal Medicine. He previously was CEO of the biotech company DarPharma, Inc.
Michael D. Connelly. Mr. Connelly has served as president of Catholic Health Partners (CHP) since 1995. CHP is a regional operator of acute care and long term care facilities in Ohio and Kentucky. He previously served as regional executive/CEO of Daughters of Charity Health System West and president and CEO of St. Joseph's hospital in Chicago. Mr. Connelly currently serves as Chair of the Catholic Medical Mission Board in New York, on the Urban League Board of Greater Cincinnati, and the St. Vincent DePaul Advisory Board in Cincinnati. Mr. Connelly also served on the Premier Inc. Board from 2003 and as Board Chair from 2009 to October 2011.
Notice the absence of anyone who is remotely concerned about patient advocacy? Notice that all board members represent the health care industry? Notice that none have ever advocated for or represented a malpractice victim? This is hypocrisy at its finest. Jackson’s group is not worried about malpractice victims who wait forever for justice or never receive compensation for professional negligence. This “no-fault” system is about protecting the healthcare provider and preventing a doctor or healthcare provider from being held fully accountable. Who do you want listening to your case? A panel of medical professionals or a jury of ordinary citizens? How does a “no fault system” benefit patients? The concern here is not patient advocacy. It is not fair compensation for victims. It is not physician accountability or a reduction of medical mistakes. This group is concerned about is protecting the bottom line of the medical community; it is worried about avoiding those large jury verdicts in really serious situations where a medical provider's serious medical error costs someone life or limb.
Florida citizens: Tell your state senators and representatives to shoot down proposals like this one. These attempts to "reform" our civil justice system are thinly veiled attacks on the rights of seriously injured and disabled citizens to receive full and fair compensation. They are about SERIOUS cases, not "frivolous" ones. These medical types want to win the small cases and severely limit the outcomes in the serious cases. They want a taxpayer funded bailout. They will stoop as low necessary to forward their anti-citizen agenda. Isn't it time for the healthcare industry to focus on safety and prevention rather than scheming and dreaming up ways to limit compensation?
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.