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  • February 23, 2016

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  • Proposed Medical Liability Reform Legislation Takes Aim at Payment Guidelines, Filing Rules and Jury Size

    scalesThe year is starting off right in the fight for desperately needed medical liability reform in Illinois.

    Two bills recently introduced in the Illinois General Assembly fire directly at medical reimbursement documentation that can be used in court, plaintiff filing certification rules and above all, the restoration of rights to a 12-member civil jury.

    Senate Bill 2382 seeks to:

    • Prevent administrative payment guidelines from being introduced as the standard of care in medical liability suits;
    • Ensure that the actual payment amounts of medical bills are presented in medical liability cases, not the amounts charged, a current practice that often leads to artificially inflated awards; and
    • Restrict the ability to file a medical liability lawsuit without a Certificate of Merit.

    The Senate bill and House Bill 4473 both seek restoration of the right to a 12-member civil-case jury, removed by misguided legislation in 2014. As reported in December, a Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled that the Illinois legislature had no authority in the last days of Governor Quinn's administration to cut the size of civil-case juries from 12 members to six. The court decision and proposed legislation offer dual tracks to a return to fairness.

    Keep watching ISMIE News for the latest developments on this important legislation.

  • Sign Up for the March 3 ISMIE Webinar-EMR Risks: Problems with Paper

    emrFor any physician or staff member using an electronic medical record (EMR) but still uncertain about how to handle paper-based documents, forms and communications, sign up for the first entry in ISMIE's 2016 Webinar Series, EMR Risks: Problems with Paper.

    This March 3 webinar will help you:

    • Recognize the medical liability risks posed by not including all clinically relevant information in the medical record;
    • Analyze areas of risk surrounding the simultaneous use of EMR and paper-based clinical information; and
    • Identify risk management strategies to help ensure that the medical record is complete and understandable.

    Policyholders who complete this activity can earn a 1% premium discount and AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

    ISMIE Mutual offers live and web-based educational opportunities throughout the year, so stay tuned! 

    For questions, contact ISMIE's Risk Management Division at 800-782-4767, ext. 3300 or email riskmanagement@ismie.com.

  • You've Been Slammed on Social Media. Now What?

    fbMost physicians don't have time to Google themselves, much less monitor their social media on a regular basis. However, your personal and practice social media presence can be a potential source of medical liability risk.

    If you've experienced a problem online or would simply like to understand best practices for social media, check out the Illinois State Medical Society's Social Media Guidance for Physicians and Their Practices.

    Available to all ISMIE Mutual policyholders, ISMS has developed five social media policies and sample workplace scenarios to help you promote your brand, share information and remain on top of current patient needs and wants online.

    ISMIE also offers the following online courses to broaden your awareness of best practices on social media and other online communication: Do You Know What Your Staff Are Doing on Social Media? and Emails, Texts, and Patient Care: What You Need to Know.

    If you have other questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact ISMIE's Risk Management Team at 800-782-4767, ext. 3300 or email riskmanagement@ismie.com.

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  • They're at it Again...And Yet Something Seems Off-Key

    Unless you have a particularly nitpicky intellectual property attorney in the family, you've probably never thought twice about singing "Happy Birthday."

    Well, breathe easy. If a Los Angeles federal court approves a February 8 settlement, you'll be free to sing and play it anywhere and all you want. In short, "Happy Birthday" will finally be royalty-free and for all purposes, in the public domain.

    Don't know this tune? Here's how it goes:

    Last September, U.S. District Court Judge George H. King ruled that Warner Music's claim to the 1893 song's copyright - which brought Warner an estimated $2 million a year in royalties since 1988 - was invalid. This month, without admitting wrongdoing or agreeing that "Happy Birthday" is in the public domain, Warner gave up fighting a 2013 suit to defend its ownership of the song's copyright and agreed to pay up to $14 million to settle claims dating all the way back to 1949.

    So what's off-key?

    Guess who might really get to celebrate if King approves the settlement in full? Not the bar or restaurant owners who paid up. Not even the individual plaintiffs who brought the suit.

    No, it'll be the plaintiffs' attorneys who will get to drop the mic - they've asked for $4.6 million to cover their legal costs.

    We're pretty familiar with that song, too.