By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
The AMA and its physicians and travel doctors and locum physicians across the country are continuing to watch the president’s progress on health care reform and, as of this week, are specifically expressing their concern about Mr. Obama’s resistance to limiting malpractice lawsuit caps. In the meantime medical malpractice legislation aimed at protecting emergency room doctors and therefore decreasing the shortage of ER physicians is reportedly having a positive effect in several U.S. states.
In Ohio, recently introduced new legislation would raise the legal requirements needed for a litigant to win a civil suit against an emergency room physician. The same bill would apply to doctors working in disaster situations. The Ohio bill would provide “qualified civil immunity” to doctors working in ER’s, except in situations of “willful or wanton misconduct.” The Ohio State Bar Association is currently reviewing the bill and will do so for up to two weeks.
Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota and North Carolina are also working on similar legislation to establish situational caps on emergency room civil lawsuits. The states of Utah, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas have already passed similar bills. In Texas, where legislation protecting ER doctors passed in 2003, it is reported that twenty-four rural counties have been able to increase emergency department physician staffing due to the new laws (according to the state and “medical interest groups”).
This type of legislative protection has the potential to help reduce physician malpractice civil lawsuit fears and therefore increase emergency room physician jobs across the country. Locum Tenens is also working hard to fill staffing needs in the ER and all other specialty areas. Locum is offering physicians in all stages of their careers the opportunity to work in travel physician assignments and locum tenens jobs in the setting and destination of their choice*.
Source: MedCity News
*in most cases; speak to your travel physician recruiter for more information
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.