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Zika threat continues to rise

April 20, 2016 Leave a comment

ZIKAVIRUSWith the warm weather approaching, many people are thinking of summer vacations and shedding the winter clothes. However, with the changing seasons comes the threat of bugs and the viruses they carry. As we previously discussed on our blog, Zika Virus is the threat of the year and does not appear to be going anywhere due to the lack of knowledge surrounding the virus.

According to the CDC, there are currently 358 confirmed cases of Zika Virus in the United States, but it’s important to note that 351 of these are from those who have traveled to other countries where the virus lives, and only 7 are due to sexual transmission. The biggest concern for the CDC is the transmission of the disease from one person to another. Women who have been in an infected area are told to wait 8 weeks before trying to conceive; while men are told to wait 6 months, as the virus has been noted to last even longer in their bodies. The transmission of the disease between partners and to an unborn child is a significant scare due to the lack of preparation against the disease.

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Zika virus rises to public health emergency status

February 4, 2016 Leave a comment

zikaLike so many other viruses or diseases that make media headlines, the Zika virus has proven to be the latest in a long line of “bugs” that has raised the public awareness of the dangers that appear from foreign lands and seem to be of an unknown origin. However, the truth of the matter lies far from perceptions and assumptions made in the media. What is not a myth is the risk that these types of pandemic exposures present to healthcare providers across the entire industry spectrum.

Unlike the most recent scare that made so many headlines, the transition of the Zika virus is very different from that of Ebola and other “bugs” that have caused pandemic headlines. Read more…

Subtle change in PA law has big potential for professional liability market

opEd-obamacareA recent bill signed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf will allow a group of medical professional liability insurers to convert from reciprocal exchanges, to stock companies after final approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance. This change in the law will affect the future landscape of medical malpractice insurance in Pennsylvania.

Introduced as House Bill No. 159 by several Republican members of the Pennsylvania House, the law affects several malpractice carriers that were started shortly after the last significant “medical malpractice crisis” that happened around the turn of the century. Four of the more prominent members of this “class”, Healthcare Providers Insurance Exchange (“HPIX”), Professional Casualty Association (“PCA”), Positive Physicians Insurance Exchange (“PPIE”) and Physicians’ Insurance Program Exchange (‘PIPE”) would all potentially benefit from this new law. The goal of the legislation is to allow these insurers to convert their legal status to a stock company and, as a result, potentially gain access to new capital and expand their operations. However, this all comes with certain requirements and limitations. Read more…

Rising healthcare industry brings stand-alone tail coverage to mind

March 19, 2015 Leave a comment

money_healthWhile technology, energy and other industry sectors often capture the headlines in the financial press and in the media, health care companies are a major economic force within the U.S. economy and growing. According to The World Bank, health care spending between 2010 and 2014 accounted for nearly 18% of U.S. GDP. This number is only expected to grow in the decade ahead. While some have argued that the PPACA will slow this trend, I find little evidence that it will do so in any meaningful fashion. All of this means that health care dollars spent in the U.S. will claim an increasing portion of our GDP. Read more…

Tort reform – hype vs. reality

February 26, 2015 Leave a comment

med_mal_op_edAsk any healthcare provider about what goes on during the arduous task of completing a medical professional liability renewal and you’re bound to hear about insurance market conditions and the state of insurance renewals. Everyone from politicians (both local and federal) to advocacy groups and providers themselves seems to be commenting about how the “crisis” with medical malpractice insurance inhibits the performance of good medicine. The phrase “defensive medicine” was a phrase rarely mentioned until recently. Now, it’s permeated the nomenclature of both patients and providers alike. However, an objective review of the medical professional liability insurance market would find the claim of a “crisis” to be unfounded, or incomplete at best. Read more…

PPACA changes elevate nurse practitioner risk profile

nurse_ppaca_op-edOver the years, the medical professional liability insurance market has seen its fair share of price increases.  For instance,  in December, 2001, St. Paul Insurance announced it would exit the market, leaving over 750 hospitals, 42,000 physicians and more than 70,000 allied professionals without an incumbent market. The ramifications of this event were felt by every medical professional in the country. At the same time however, it offered insurance carriers an opportunity to grow in what was an otherwise untapped and limited marketplace. As a result, healthcare providers began seeing rates rise and fall, depending on risk classification, location and claims history.

Since then, the medical professional liability insurance market has remained somewhat unpredictable. The passage and implementation of PPACA might be another one of those “events” that brings around a less subtle, but no less significant, change in the medical professional liability insurance market. From all that we have seen, PPACA is likely to cause big changes in the way that health insurance is provided, delivered and purchased. And while this raises numerous issues for consumers, carriers and brokers in the employee benefits sector, the impact on the casualty sector of the insurance community may be equally significant. Read more…

Cannabis and healthcare – is the drug here to stay?

potFor decades, advocates for the medicinal use of marijuana have espoused the benefits of its use in the treatment of many chronic illnesses. The web is full of stories and examples of how cannabis is offering relief to those who suffer from depression, cancer, ADHD and a host of other illnesses. The news cycles are full of the recent approval of the sale of medical marijuana in Colorado, Massachusetts, Washington and 17 other states across the US. But serious questions remain as to the impact and effectiveness of this “old miracle drug”.

The use of cannabis in healthcare dates back thousands of years. Ancient civilizations in China, Egypt and Greece all used cannabis in the treatment of various ailments and afflictions. While certain providers and organizations in the U.S. have advocated the health benefits of the drug, the U.S. medical community has only recently embraced Read more…