LALLANDE LAW, PLC Supports Proposition 46

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On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, California voters will have an opportunity to make a difference and save lives by voting YES on Proposition 46.

Preventable medical errors kill up to 440,000 Americans every year – it’s the nation’s third leading cause of death behind only cancer and heart disease. But too little is being done to stem that silent death toll. Proposition 46 offers three common-sense changes to improve patient safety.

Proposition 46 Will:

Require Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors: Require drug and alcohol testing of doctors just like airline pilots, bus drivers, and dozens of other public safety professions. Why is that important?  The California Medical Board says experts estimate that nearly 1 in 5 doctors will abuse drugs or alcohol in their lifetime. USA Today ran a recent story reporting on a federal study saying that more than 100,000 health care workers are currently battling drug problems. Add to it that another 400,000 are fighting alcoholism, and we have a very significant problem that endangers the lives of patients. Proposition 46 addresses this serious patient safety problem by requiring random drug and alcohol testing of doctors as well as after an adverse medical event. If a doctor tested positive, they would face suspension and potential disciplinary action after an investigation.

Crack Down on Prescription Drug Abuse and Over-Prescribing: Crack down on prescription drug abuse by requiring doctors to check the existing database before prescribing powerful narcotics. The Centers for Disease Control has called prescription drug abuse the fastest growing drug epidemic in the nation. To help control abuse, California has developed a statewide Internet database so doctors can check to see if a patient is “doctor shopping” drug abuser. The problem is, fewer than 1 in 10 doctors in California bother to use the database. Proposition 46 would require doctors to check the database before prescribing prescription drugs to a patient for the first time. Mandatory use of similar databases in other states has dramatically reduced the number of “doctor shoppers” there. Prescription drug abuse raises healthcare costs — over $55 billion in 2007 alone.  The state Legislative Analyst’s Office says YES on Proposition 46 could provide “significant” savings by requiring doctors to check the existing database.

Hold Medical Providers Accountable for Medical Harm: Provide access to justice for those harmed by medical negligence by adjusting the cap on pain and suffering and wrongful death for inflation. In 1975 California established a $250,000 cap on the amount of pain and suffering damages that can be awarded to those harmed by medical negligence. That amount has not been adjusted for inflation, despite the cost of everything else skyrocketing over the past four decades.  Proposition 46 would update the cap, restoring the same economic power it had in 1975, and providing victims of medical harm closer to fair compensation. Adjusting the cap for four decades of inflation will hold doctors accountable for needless injuries and deaths caused by medical negligence, and it would provide a greater financial deterrent to prevent harm in the first place.

Opponents of Proposition 46:

Foes of Proposition 46 are financed primarily by the malpractice insurance industry, which has poured in most of the money into the $58-million campaign against the initiative. They’ve launched a statewide ad blitz centered on distortions and fear tactics. They claim updating the cap on malpractice compensation would lead to soaring medical malpractice premiums and cause doctors to quit or leave the state, reducing your access to health care. They won’t offer you any evidence, because there is none. And they won’t tell you that in states where similar caps have been not just adjusted but eliminated in recent years, malpractice premiums have not gone up and there are actually more doctors per capita since the caps were removed.

Foes also want you to think that Proposition 46 is all about making money for lawyers who represent those harmed by medical negligence. But they won’t tell you that compensation for those lawyers is capped by law, a cap that would not change under Proposition 46. The reality is that the vast majority of damages awarded in medical negligence cases go to those who were harmed, not to their attorneys. And foes certainly won’t tell you that should medical malpractice cause harm to you or a loved one, a good lawyer is your only chance for justice, fair compensation and accountability against the health care machine.

Hall of Shame: Insurance Companies Backing No on Proposition 46:

Cooperative of American Physicians: $10,161,489.04
The Doctors Company: $10,000,000.00
NorCal Mutual Insurance Company: $10,000,000.00
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan: $5,000,000.00
Medical Insurance Exchange of California: $5,000,000.00
The Dentists Insurance Company: $1,620,000.00
The Mutual Risk Retention Group: $1,000,000.00
All Insurers: $42,781,489.04
Total: $58,068,255.82

The insurance industry has vowed to spend over $60 million to defeat Proposition 46. We are on the side of the patients, not the insurance companies.

For more information on Proposition 46, please visit: https://www.yeson46.org/

LALLANDE LAW, PLC strongly supports Proposition 46 for a safer California, and we hope you will join us in voting YES on Proposition 46.