Lawsuits not ruining docs: study
A study set to be released this week seemingly debunks the American Medical Association's position that high medical malpractice premiums are pushing physicians out of business. The study results, to be published in Health Affairs, indicate that self-employed physicians paid lower premiums in 2000 than they did in 1986, according to AMA data from 1970 to 2000. The study suggests that a drop in physician revenue, most likely brought on by the onset of managed care, is the main culprit for a decrease in physician income. An AMA spokeswoman said the study does not address the current crisis as it uses data from before the current crisis, and mixes and matches data to suit the agenda of those who oppose medical liability limitations.
Hospitals fight JCAHO effort
The American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals are fighting a Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations effort to include hospital governance as part of its accreditation criteria. Both organizations voiced their objections in separate letters to the JCAHO. The federation's letter said the proposed changes "will greatly hinder efficient and effective hospital operations." A JCAHO spokeswoman said it was considering hundreds of comments on the matter.
ECRI suing Guidant
Healthcare research firm Emergency Care Research Institute, Plymouth Meeting, Pa., sued Guidant Corp., Indianapolis, seeking a declaratory judgment in support of ECRI continuing to publish price information on medical devices. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, claims Guidant, which recently was acquired by Boston Scientific Corp., "demanded that ECRI `cease and desist' from obtaining and publishing the prices of its products." About 400 hospitals and other healthcare companies subscribe to ECRI's PriceGuide, a database of device prices. Guidant was not available for comment at deadline.