PA Trial Lawyers Denounce Doctor 'Strike' on April 24

Apr 20, 2001, 01:00 ET from Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association

    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 20 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- The
 Delaware County Medical Society is calling on doctors from southeastern
 Pennsylvania to close their offices on Tuesday, April 24.  This stunning
 political maneuver is designed to intimidate the public into supporting
 legislative relief from rising medical malpractice insurance rates.
     The flyer to the doctors says, "Legislators say they are not hearing from
 their constituents about the threats to the medical profession in
 Pennsylvania.  We must change that!"
     In response, Mark Phenicie, Legislative Counsel for the Pennsylvania Trial
 Lawyers Association, said, "It's unbelievably ironic that these doctors are
 actively threatening the public health.  They're effectively calling for a one
 day strike on Tuesday.  This action is both unreasonable and irresponsible."
     In Pennsylvania, the law prohibits certain classes of workers, such as
 firefighters and police, from strikes and other work stoppages because of the
 risks to public safety.
     "The public should condemn this tactic by the Delaware County Medical
 Society," Phenicie added.  "Sick children won't be able to get treatment.  The
 elderly won't be able to renew their prescriptions.  Emergency rooms across
 the region will be packed with sick people who can't get in to see their
 regular doctors.  And emergency room care is the most expensive medical
 treatment available today."
     For four successive weeks beginning on March 13, the Pennsylvania Medical
 Society has brought its doctors into Harrisburg to lobby legislators about
 their cause.  These "Tuesdays in Harrisburg" were also attended by consumer
 rights advocates, attorneys and labor representatives who are equally
 concerned about patient safety, questionable business practices on the part of
 medical malpractice insurance companies, and other complexities of this issue
 -- including potential costs to taxpayers.
     Phenicie noted that, "Working with the legislators in Harrisburg is the
 appropriate forum for dealing with these issues.  This work stoppage by the
 doctors abuses their role in the system."
     The last time Pennsylvania doctors sought medical malpractice insurance
 rate relief, in 1996, they threatened not to pay their premiums and practice
 without insurance.  "It's difficult to understand why these doctors can't
 maintain a sense of proportion in trying to solve these problems.  It's not
 about the doctors alone.  We have to balance the needs and rights of patients,
 too," said Phenicie.
     The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after reviewing more than
 a decade of clinical studies, has concluded that, at a minimum, deaths due to
 medical error exceed the eighth leading cause of death in this country,
 surpassing breast cancer, auto accidents and AIDS.  More people die from
 medication errors alone each year than from the 6,000 deaths due to workplace
 injuries reported annually to the federal government.
     But in Pennsylvania, the State Medical Board (which oversees licensing of
 doctors and osteopaths) did not discipline even one practitioner for
 substandard care between January 1, 2000 and February 16, 2001.
     Timothy A. Shollenberger, Esquire, PaTLA President, said, "It's one thing
 for doctors to close their offices if they're going to Harrisburg to advocate
 for their own interests, but it's outrageous to call on doctors to close their
 office on Tuesday, even if they aren't going to the Capitol. Patients in
 Pennsylvania deserve better than that."
 
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association
    HARRISBURG, Pa., April 20 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- The
 Delaware County Medical Society is calling on doctors from southeastern
 Pennsylvania to close their offices on Tuesday, April 24.  This stunning
 political maneuver is designed to intimidate the public into supporting
 legislative relief from rising medical malpractice insurance rates.
     The flyer to the doctors says, "Legislators say they are not hearing from
 their constituents about the threats to the medical profession in
 Pennsylvania.  We must change that!"
     In response, Mark Phenicie, Legislative Counsel for the Pennsylvania Trial
 Lawyers Association, said, "It's unbelievably ironic that these doctors are
 actively threatening the public health.  They're effectively calling for a one
 day strike on Tuesday.  This action is both unreasonable and irresponsible."
     In Pennsylvania, the law prohibits certain classes of workers, such as
 firefighters and police, from strikes and other work stoppages because of the
 risks to public safety.
     "The public should condemn this tactic by the Delaware County Medical
 Society," Phenicie added.  "Sick children won't be able to get treatment.  The
 elderly won't be able to renew their prescriptions.  Emergency rooms across
 the region will be packed with sick people who can't get in to see their
 regular doctors.  And emergency room care is the most expensive medical
 treatment available today."
     For four successive weeks beginning on March 13, the Pennsylvania Medical
 Society has brought its doctors into Harrisburg to lobby legislators about
 their cause.  These "Tuesdays in Harrisburg" were also attended by consumer
 rights advocates, attorneys and labor representatives who are equally
 concerned about patient safety, questionable business practices on the part of
 medical malpractice insurance companies, and other complexities of this issue
 -- including potential costs to taxpayers.
     Phenicie noted that, "Working with the legislators in Harrisburg is the
 appropriate forum for dealing with these issues.  This work stoppage by the
 doctors abuses their role in the system."
     The last time Pennsylvania doctors sought medical malpractice insurance
 rate relief, in 1996, they threatened not to pay their premiums and practice
 without insurance.  "It's difficult to understand why these doctors can't
 maintain a sense of proportion in trying to solve these problems.  It's not
 about the doctors alone.  We have to balance the needs and rights of patients,
 too," said Phenicie.
     The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after reviewing more than
 a decade of clinical studies, has concluded that, at a minimum, deaths due to
 medical error exceed the eighth leading cause of death in this country,
 surpassing breast cancer, auto accidents and AIDS.  More people die from
 medication errors alone each year than from the 6,000 deaths due to workplace
 injuries reported annually to the federal government.
     But in Pennsylvania, the State Medical Board (which oversees licensing of
 doctors and osteopaths) did not discipline even one practitioner for
 substandard care between January 1, 2000 and February 16, 2001.
     Timothy A. Shollenberger, Esquire, PaTLA President, said, "It's one thing
 for doctors to close their offices if they're going to Harrisburg to advocate
 for their own interests, but it's outrageous to call on doctors to close their
 office on Tuesday, even if they aren't going to the Capitol. Patients in
 Pennsylvania deserve better than that."
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X16141395
 
 SOURCE  Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association