Medical Society Admits Calling for Regional 'Strikes'

Apr 27, 2001, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association

    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- In another stunning maneuver
 designed to intimidate the public into supporting legislative relief from
 rising medical malpractice insurance rates, the Pennsylvania Medical Society
 has admitted to calling on doctors in various regions across the state to
 systematically shut down for the next several Tuesdays.
     Doctors in the Northeast, including Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton as
 well as the Scranton-Wilkes Barre area, have been urged to close their offices
 Tuesday, May 1 -- whether or not they travel to Harrisburg in support of their
 cause.
     In response, Mark Phenicie, Legislative Counsel for the Pennsylvania Trial
 Lawyers Association, said, "They're effectively calling for a series of
 regional strikes on Tuesdays during May.  The Medical Society claims to be
 'educating the public', but they're really trying to teach Pennsylvanians a
 lesson."
     In Pennsylvania, the law prohibits certain workers -- such as police and
 firefighters -- from strikes and other work stoppages because of the menace
 they pose to public safety and health.
     "The public should condemn this tactic by the Pennsylvania Medical
 Society," Phenicie continued.  "Last Tuesday, about 250 doctors from
 Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs came into Harrisburg.  We don't know
 how many others just shut down their offices and played golf.  We do know that
 a number of surgeries were cancelled and patients suffered disruptions in
 their lives as a direct result of this irresponsible action."
     The Medical Society is planning additional one-day strikes by doctors on
 May 8 for Harrisburg, Williamsport, York, Lancaster and other Central
 Pennsylvania communities.  And on May 22, the target is the Western counties,
 including Allegheny and Erie.  Over the four weeks, all 67 Pennsylvania
 counties will have been effected.
     "Over the years, doctors seeking relief from their medical malpractice
 rates have threatened to practice without insurance and threatened to leave
 the state," Phenicie added.  "This isn't a threat anymore.  It's a concerted
 effort to withdraw medical care from the public, even temporarily."
     The Medical Society's efforts are vigorously opposed by a coalition of
 consumer rights advocates, attorneys and labor representatives who are
 concerned about patient safety, questionable business practices by medical
 malpractice insurance companies, and the potential costs to taxpayers if
 doctors prevail.
     Deaths due to medical errors are now the eighth lending cause of death in
 this country according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  But
 a review of recent records from the State Medical Board reveals that not one
 doctor or osteopath was disciplined for substandard care between January 1,
 2000 and February 16, 2001.
     Timothy A. Shollenberger, President of PaTLA, said, "In terms of public
 policy, doctors have historically shown little interest in patient safety or
 patients' rights.  The Medical Society has refused to negotiate about patient
 safety legislation, sanctions for doctors who alter patient charts after a
 lawsuit is filed, or deterrents for attempts to prevent medical experts from
 testifying on behalf of injured patients.  Patients in Pennsylvania deserve
 better from the medical establishment."
 
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association
    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- In another stunning maneuver
 designed to intimidate the public into supporting legislative relief from
 rising medical malpractice insurance rates, the Pennsylvania Medical Society
 has admitted to calling on doctors in various regions across the state to
 systematically shut down for the next several Tuesdays.
     Doctors in the Northeast, including Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton as
 well as the Scranton-Wilkes Barre area, have been urged to close their offices
 Tuesday, May 1 -- whether or not they travel to Harrisburg in support of their
 cause.
     In response, Mark Phenicie, Legislative Counsel for the Pennsylvania Trial
 Lawyers Association, said, "They're effectively calling for a series of
 regional strikes on Tuesdays during May.  The Medical Society claims to be
 'educating the public', but they're really trying to teach Pennsylvanians a
 lesson."
     In Pennsylvania, the law prohibits certain workers -- such as police and
 firefighters -- from strikes and other work stoppages because of the menace
 they pose to public safety and health.
     "The public should condemn this tactic by the Pennsylvania Medical
 Society," Phenicie continued.  "Last Tuesday, about 250 doctors from
 Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs came into Harrisburg.  We don't know
 how many others just shut down their offices and played golf.  We do know that
 a number of surgeries were cancelled and patients suffered disruptions in
 their lives as a direct result of this irresponsible action."
     The Medical Society is planning additional one-day strikes by doctors on
 May 8 for Harrisburg, Williamsport, York, Lancaster and other Central
 Pennsylvania communities.  And on May 22, the target is the Western counties,
 including Allegheny and Erie.  Over the four weeks, all 67 Pennsylvania
 counties will have been effected.
     "Over the years, doctors seeking relief from their medical malpractice
 rates have threatened to practice without insurance and threatened to leave
 the state," Phenicie added.  "This isn't a threat anymore.  It's a concerted
 effort to withdraw medical care from the public, even temporarily."
     The Medical Society's efforts are vigorously opposed by a coalition of
 consumer rights advocates, attorneys and labor representatives who are
 concerned about patient safety, questionable business practices by medical
 malpractice insurance companies, and the potential costs to taxpayers if
 doctors prevail.
     Deaths due to medical errors are now the eighth lending cause of death in
 this country according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  But
 a review of recent records from the State Medical Board reveals that not one
 doctor or osteopath was disciplined for substandard care between January 1,
 2000 and February 16, 2001.
     Timothy A. Shollenberger, President of PaTLA, said, "In terms of public
 policy, doctors have historically shown little interest in patient safety or
 patients' rights.  The Medical Society has refused to negotiate about patient
 safety legislation, sanctions for doctors who alter patient charts after a
 lawsuit is filed, or deterrents for attempts to prevent medical experts from
 testifying on behalf of injured patients.  Patients in Pennsylvania deserve
 better from the medical establishment."
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X91811330
 
 SOURCE  Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association