Late news briefs for the week of May 29
Tort reform experts are skeptical of President Donald Trump's plans to overhaul medical malpractice. The Trump administration's proposed budget aims to cap medical malpractice awards for noneconomic damages at $250,000, instill a three-year statute of limitations for claims, and exclude provider expressions of regret or apology from lawsuit evidence. All in all, tort-related reforms outlined in the budget are estimated to save approximately $31.8 billion over 10 years. The proposed changes contradict the administration's earlier promises to reduce broad Washington directives to the states on how malpractice should be governed.
The Veterans Affairs Department is eying new ways of providing mental healthcare to thousands of former service members with less-than-honorable discharges, although new funding hasn't been identified. Testifying at a House hearing last week, VA Secretary David Shulkin offered new details on his initiative announced in March to stem stubbornly high rates of suicide. Stressing a need at that time for "bold action," he noted the additional coverage would help former service members who are more likely to have mental health distress. Of the 20 veterans who take their lives each day, about 14 had not been connected to VA care. More than 500,000 former service members have other-than-honorable discharges.
Direct Relief, a California-based charitable medicine program, has partnered with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to donate up to 1 million doses of naloxone to free health clinics, community health centers, public health departments and other not-for-profit providers nationwide. Naloxone blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medications. Direct Relief began delivering the naloxone donations in March 2017 after a survey from the group revealed it was difficult for many providers to keep the drug in stock. Healthcare facilities in 38 states received more than 36,000 doses of the drug.
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