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John Hopkins

Florida Legislators Lobby for Doctors?

» Written by // July 3, 2013 //

I want you to give me access to your entire medical history, gather information from your doctors’ files and allow me to meet with all your doctors – maybe all the doctors you have seen for the last (7) to 10 years –  to discuss your health information. And, I do not want you to be present when I do it and with any luck your lawyer will not be there when I talk to all your doctors.

Sound crazy? It violates your privacy and HIPAA laws for protection of private health information?

Your Florida legislators and Governor Rick Scott do not care a damn about your privacy or your rights under HIPAA. At least they signaled they do not care when they passed Senate Bill 1972. The Miami Herald reported:

Florida doctors won a big legislative victory this year with passing a top priority bill for Senate President Don Gaetz that would allow the attorneys for doctors in medical malpractice claims to collect information on the private conversations between patients and other doctors without the patient’s permission.

So, let’s count how your legislators and the governor have shielded the only professionals in Florida they have chosen as so special to merit exceptional consideration, such as:

  • Capping non-economic damages at $250,000. So, if your wife, husband, son or daughter is killed because of medical negligence, the Florida legislature has decided they are worth no more than $250,000 to you.
  • Determining that if your child is killed through medical negligence, is over the age of 25 and is unmarried; that child’s life has a value to his or her parents of zero.
  • Requiring plaintiffs to go through a time wasting, elaborate and very expensive process called the “Letter of Intent Period” before doctors may be sued.
  • Requiring plaintiffs to acquire much more significant amounts of records than is necessary to any given case and providing those to defense lawyers.  
  • Requiring plaintiffs to hire and pay for multiple experts in cases so they can substantiate their lawsuit, but to also defend the conduct of the doctors they choose not to sue.

These and other extraordinary measures were taken to appease the Florida Medical Association and Associated Industries’ lobbyists. All the while insurance companies were telling Florida legislators that no medical malpractice crisis existed; that the new laws would do nothing to reduce medical malpractice premiums; and most reliable studies demonstrated that the incidence of medical negligence trials in which the doctor lost were incredibly low.

This new law is the tip of the iceberg in illustrating we citizens have abandoned fair governing in exchange for having unsubstantiated laws that benefit special interests shoved down our throats. We have apparently given over the leadership of our state to professional politicians rather than good, responsible men and women looking out for the best interests of the people.

This 4th of July enjoy the backyard barbeques, time with family and friends and fireworks. But, when you have a few minutes, think about what men and women have died to attain and to maintain in our country. Then think about whether our politicians are leading or simply politicking.

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” Harry S Truman, President.

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