South Florida Hospital News
Thursday August 6, 2020

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March 2008 - Volume 4 - Issue 9


Antidote for Malpractice Woes

The complexities of tort reform, physician liability, medical malpractice coverage, or defensive medicine are typically not covered in anatomy classes during med school or even on the specialty board exams. Nonetheless, while physicians may be disinclined to study these topics, they can not only wreak havoc on a physician’s wallet but on his practice viability and psyche as well, at any point in his career.

Florida, a designated malpractice crisis state by the American Medical Association, has endured rapidly rising malpractice insurance rates. Doctors in Florida, as in many other states over the past decade, have experienced a mounting medical liability crisis with significant increase in malpractice insurance premiums attributed to rising claims, frequency of litigation and astronomical awards.

Robert L Spector, PA, and Miguel Garcia, CEO South Florida Multispecialty Associates L.L.C. are pioneering a partnership to comply with state statutes for liability guidelines while protecting the physicians’ livelihoods and reputations, reducing malpractice risk and advancing the practice of quality medicine. As a strategic result, physician members also benefit from legal insight and advice regarding claims management, litigation strategies, and risk averse practice policies.

The multispecialty physician group consists of 34 cardiologists, internists, obstetrician/gynecologists and family practitioners who have formed an off-shore insurance company to provide malpractice coverage which allows them to comply with state law at a reduced premium for members of the group. Each physician agrees contractually to be assessed an insurance premium, deducted from their salary based on an actuarial review. The money is invested and stockpiled to satisfy potential claims, but is repatriated when no claims are made within the timeframe allowable by law.

Essentially, the program is designed to protect physicians who have been recruited for group membership based on their strong record of sound clinical practice. Each assumes some risk but also benefits from some practice oversight in terms of enhanced levels of awareness regarding physician related business practices. The program's objective is to assure that member physicians have adequate access to legal intervention regarding settlement or court trials, medical malpractice insurance, risk management counsel and practice guidelines to protect their livelihood and reputations over the long term.

To this end, Spector, an experienced trial lawyer of 30+ years, often provides private counsel to members regarding issues of potential exposure, settlement options and a legal rationale for decision making based on economics, merit, and life balance issues.

"My experience as both a plaintiff and defense attorney gives me an evaluative perspective regarding the threat of a malpractice suit and value of the case. I can advise regarding options not just from a financial aspect but also considering the emotional costs of litigation stress and future harm to a physician’s reputation," he explained.

The prognosis for physicians who seek out knowledgeable partnerships with experts in the business side of medicine – practice management, tax and insurance strategies and legal nuances – is that they can practice as they hoped they would when they entered the profession.

"Doctors choose the practice of medicine with little regard for its legal repercussions, so my job is to advise them on how to deal with litigious issues that arise or better yet, help them avoid legal hazards altogether," Spector concluded.

For more information, contact Robert L. Spector at (954) 764-2909.
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