Briefs

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

Tort re­form ex­perts are skep­ti­cal of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s plans to over­haul med­i­cal mal­prac­tice. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pro­posed bud­get aims to cap med­i­cal mal­prac­tice awards for noneco­nomic dam­ages at $250,000, in­still a three-year statute of lim­i­ta­tions for claims, and ex­clude provider ex­pres­sions of re­gret or apol­ogy from law­suit ev­i­dence. All in all, tort-re­lated re­forms out­lined in the bud­get are es­ti­mated to save ap­prox­i­mately $31.8 bil­lion over 10 years. The pro­posed changes con­tra­dict the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ear­lier prom­ises to re­duce broad Washington di­rec­tives to the states on how mal­prac­tice should be gov­erned.

The Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Depart­ment is ey­ing new ways of pro­vid­ing men­tal health­care to thou­sands of for­mer ser­vice mem­bers with less-than-hon­or­able dis­charges, al­though new fund­ing hasn’t been iden­ti­fied. Tes­ti­fy­ing at a House hear­ing last week, VA Sec­re­tary Dr. David Shulkin of­fered new de­tails on his ini­tia­tive an­nounced in March to stem stub­bornly high rates of sui­cide. Stress­ing a need at that time for “bold ac­tion,” he noted the ad­di­tional cov­er­age would help for­mer ser­vice mem­bers who are more likely to have men­tal health dis­tress. Of the 20 vet­er­ans who take their lives each day, about 14 had not been con­nected to VA care. More than 500,000 for­mer ser­vice mem­bers have other-than-hon­or­able dis­charges.

Di­rect Re­lief, a Cal­i­for­nia-based char­i­ta­ble medicine pro­gram, has part­nered with phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal gi­ant Pfizer to do­nate up to 1 mil­lion doses of nalox­one to free health clin­ics, com­mu­nity health cen­ters, public health de­part­ments and other not-for­profit providers na­tion­wide. Nalox­one blocks or re­verses the ef­fects of opi­oid med­i­ca­tions. Di­rect Re­lief be­gan de­liv­er­ing the nalox­one do­na­tions in March 2017 after a sur­vey from the group re­vealed it was dif­fi­cult for many providers to keep the drug in stock. Health­care fa­cil­i­ties in 38 states re­ceived more than 36,000 doses of the drug.

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