Jun 24, 2011

What Makes New Hampshire's Medical Malpractice Laws Unique?

Each state has unique laws specifically governing medical malpractice and medical liability trials, so it is important for your lawyer to be fully experienced in the laws and the courts in the state where your injury occurred. What is unique to NH's med mal laws? Most notably in NH, the state has no limits or caps on damage awards. In addition, the state requires any claims filed to be reviewed by a pretrial screening panel to identify claims that merit compensation and to encourage early resolution of claims before going to trial.

Based on a listing of medical liability and malpractice laws compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 16 states do not have a damage award limit or cap, 36 jurisdictions have a limit or cap. New Hampshire is one of the states that does not limit damages. In fact, the State Supreme Court (see Carson v. Maurer, 120 N.H. 925, 424 A.2d 825 (1980) and Brannigan v. Usitalso, 134 N.H. 50, 587 A.2d 1232 (1991)) has declared limits on non-economic damages (§507-C:7) as unconstitutional. Here is a link to laws governing New Hampshire's screening panels for medical injury claims.

For a comprehensive list of state-by-state laws governing medical malpractice and liability suits, see www.ncsl.org.

Mar 29, 2011

Is NH State Medical Board Failing To Discipline Bad Doctors?

According to an analysis by Public Citizen of data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, state medical boards have failed to discipline 55 percent of the nation’s doctors who either lost their clinical privileges or had them restricted by the hospitals where they worked.

In New Hampshire, 54.9% of physicians with one or more clinical privileges suspended or limited received no licensure actions (that's 51 physicians with clinical privileges actions during the 19-year period studied, and 28 physicians with no licensure report). 

The analysis, according to Public Citizen, raises serious questions about whether state medical boards are responding adequately to hospital peer review determinations of substandard care or conduct, and, secondarily, whether state boards are getting copies of hospital reports to the NPDB. Given the value of hospital disciplinary reports, such reports must be received and properly utilized by medical boards to assure patient safety.

Public Citizen calls upon the NH State Medical board to work cooperatively with HRSA to regularly identify physicians in New Hampshire who have had clinical privilege reports submitted to the NPDB but have not had a state licensure action.

Go to Public Citizen for read the full analysis, its findings and conclusions: State Medical Boards Fail to Discipline Doctors with Hospital Actions Against Them

Mar 17, 2011

NH Medical Liability/Malpractice Laws

The National Conference of State Legislatures website summarizes the medical liability and malpractice laws by state. The chart is updated as of September 2010. It documents:
  • Damage Award Limits or Cap
  • Statute of Limitation
  • Joint and Several Liability
  • Limits on Attorney Fees
  • Periodic Payments
  • Patient Compensasion or Injury Fund
  • Doctor Apologies/Sympathetic Gestures
  • Pre-trial Alternative Dispute Resolution and Screening Panels
  • Affidavit or Certificate of Merit
  • Expert Witness Standards
  • Medical or Peer Review Panels
Click here to view New Hampshire's Medical Liability and Malpractice Laws.

Feb 22, 2011

NH Screening Panels Scrutinized

Some interesting numbers are included in the NHBR report on New Hampshire's review of medical malpractice review panels. In The jury's still out on malpractice panels, Cindy Kibbe writes that according to figures from the state's Medical Malpractice Panel and Insurance Oversight Committee...
"... there have been some 387 cases brought to the attention of screening panels since 2007, with 147 resolved prior to panel review. Of the 240 remaining cases 87 were waived, 84 have been heard and 69 are pending as of Dec. 10. Only 18 medical malpractice cases have gone to a jury trial after panel review since 2007."
For the full article please click through to NHBR where you can read or listen to the report.

Feb 3, 2011

Trend in Medical Malpractice Claims Paid in New Hampshire

According to data from StateHealthFacts.org, a website of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, New Hampshire had 47 medical malpractice claims paid in 2009 for total of $12,368,750 — that's an average of $263,165 per claim. New Hampshire ranks 37th in dollars paid. The chart below shows the trend in medical malpractice claims paid in New Hampshire from 2003 to 2009.


For more information, see the StateHealthFacts.org.

Jan 24, 2011

Four New Hampshire Hospitals Join Together for Insurance Coverge

The New Hampshire Business Review reports on four New Hampshire healthcare providers — LRGHealthcare, Concord Hospital, Elliot Health Systems of Manchester and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital — have joined to create Granite Shield Insurance Exchange.

NHBR writes:
"With the establishment of Granite Shield, LRGH ends its longstanding relationship with the New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association..."
Read the full article here on NHBR.com: LRGH leaves JUA as 4 hospitals form new insurer

Jan 18, 2011

Portsmouth Hospital Makes Changes for Hearing Impaired Following Federal Lawsuit

Seacoastonline.com reports on January 18, 2011, that Portsmouth Regional Hospital is making improvements to "enhance communications with deaf and hard-of hearing patients as a result of an out-of-court agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Attorney's office."

A lawsuit claimed the hospital discriminated against deaf patients... and the hospital agreed to make payments to several deaf patients as well as "to pay a $20,000 civil penalty and to adhere to the terms of a 37-page consent decree outlining changes in the way the hospital interacts with deaf and hard-of-hearing patients." The Portsmouth agreement is the fifth agreement in New Hampshire as the result of the U.S. Attorney lawsuit.

To read the full story on the Seacoastonline.com, click on: Portsmouth Hospital Settles Suit.