By Deborah Juneau

The Louisiana Supreme Court issued its new opinion after a rehearing in Borel v. Young, again affirming the Third Circuit’s ruling and dismissing the lawsuit against late-added physician defendants, but on different grounds. The supreme court’s decision on rehearing solved an apparent dilemma for the plaintiffs created by the original opinion: the plaintiffs were precluded from filing suit until after the medical review panel had rendered an opinion but, in any case, were required to file suit within three years of the alleged medical malpractice. Since the three year period could not be suspended during the pendency of the medical review panel, the plaintiffs faced the possibility that their claims would be barred by the three-year peremptive period before the panel convened to consider their claims.


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by Randy R. Cangelosi

On February 2, 2007, the Louisiana Supreme Court vacated [Footnote] two decisions out of the Louisiana Third Circuit (Lake Charles), Taylor v. Clement and Arrington v. Galen-Med., Inc. et al. Taylor/Arrington garnered much attention in September 2006 when the Third Circuit declared Louisiana’s medical malpractice cap, La. R.S. 40:1299.42(B) (a statute that has survived countless constitutional challenges since its enactment in the mid-1970s), unconstitutional. The Third Circuit reasoned that the $500,000 cap on damages did not provide the plaintiffs with "an adequate remedy" when considering the purported diminution of the cap over time due to inflation. The adequate remedy challenge to the constitutionality of a statute is derived from Article I, Section 22 of the Louisiana Constitution. Under current law, the $500,000 cap does not include future medical care costs and related expenses; it does, however, include pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. 


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by Jason R. Cashio

As most are aware, the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles recently ruled the medical malpractice cap unconstitutional.  The decision will be reviewed by the Louisiana Supreme Court, a process that could take anywhere from three to twelve months.  In the meantime, the cap is still applicable.

By comparison, the majority of

By: Clay J. Countryman

          The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently issued an advisory opinion on November 6, 2006 regarding the physician recruitment exception in the federal physician self-referral law, commonly know as the Stark Law. CMS specifically addressed whether a physician who would spend up to 20% of their time practicing outside of the recruiting hospital’s geographic service area would meet the relocation requirement of the physician recruitment exception to the Stark Law.

          Under the proposed recruitment arrangement, the recruiting hospital would provide the following loans to the physician directly:

                     (1)      A loan for the payment of the physicians moving and relocation expenses, which would be forgiven after 1 year;

                     (2)      A loan equal to the physicians first year medical malpractice premium not to exceed $10,000.00, which would be forgivable over 3 years; and

                     (3)      A loan to repay the physicians medical school loans, which would be forgivable over a 3 year period.

          The recruiting hospital would provide no other compensation that either the practice to the physician is joining or to the physician in connection with the proposed recruitment arrangement. In addition, the forgiveness of the loans would be based on the physician meeting certain service and other commitments.

   


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