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Litigation stress: Being sued is personal as well as professional

Plaintiffs bringing medical liability cases commonly contend they have experienced pain and suffering. Many physicians could say the same about being dragged into the litigation process. Karen Kohatsu, MD, a San Diego-area obstetrician-gynecologist, was confident she would prevail when she was sued a couple of years ago, but isolation and sleepless nights still reigned throughout the process. The suit was eventually dismissed. "Self-doubting occurs when you read the summons and depositions from the other side," she said. "The other side makes it sound like you are a terrible person for missing a diagnosis. You feel really alone and have to turn everything inward because you don't have anyone to talk to about it." Dr. Kohatsu is not alone. Experts say litigation stress syndrome is a real phenomenon, and one that has a significant impact on physicians. Various emotions, including anger and depression, can strike, along with an inability to concentrate. When physicians are ...

Patient safety after hospital discharge challenging

One in five patients discharged from the hospital experiences an adverse event within three weeks. Two-thirds of those outcomes are drug-related, with many of them potentially avoidable, according to a recent report issued by an expert panel of internists, hospitalists and emergency physicians. The group said that major changes to the health delivery system, such as electronic medical records and payments rewarding the medical home model, could help address the problem. However, the group said physicians and hospitals should not wait before making changes on their own. The Transitions of Care Consensus Policy Statement was issued by the American College of Physicians, the Society of Hospital Medicine, the Society of General Internal Medicine, the American Geriatrics Society, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. The panel said hospitals and outpatient physicians should be held accountable for properly transitioning patien ...

Individual insurance policy rules changing in Wisconsin

Wisconsin insurers will have to change the way they underwrite individual insurance following regulatory changes aimed at protecting people from unfair denials and policy rescissions. According to the most recent data collected by the insurance department, 141,569 people in Wisconsin were enrolled in individual insurance plans in 2007, compared with more than 1.5 million in group plans that year. Though the individual market was small two years ago, compared with the group insurance market, the administration is expecting to see more people driven to individual coverage by the loss of employer-sponsored coverage during the recession, insurance department spokesman Jim Guidry said. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle inserted the changes to the individual insurance regulations into the state budget enacted June 29 with the support of Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg, Guidry said. The new regulations: * Require insurers to report how many individual policies they write and the ...