Headlines: June 14, 2011
by Tony Kikendall
Five senators are calling for a probe of physician-owned distributorships (PODs). These PODs are intermediaries that create incentives for surgeons to use certain products supplied by the PODs in their surgeries, which in turn would generate profit for the suregeons. Such a business setup may be against fraud and abuse laws and raises concerns that these financial incentives may cause surgeons to perform more than a necessary amount of surgeries to a patient. Senators Orin Hatch, Max Baucus, Herb Kohl, Charles Grassley, and Bob Corker requested the Inspector General of the the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct the probe.
Formaldehyde and styrene were listed as carcinogens in a government report issued on Friday. Of these two substances, formaldehyde is the more worrisome, as it is more carcinogenic and occupies a pervasive presence is American life. Styrene is more dangerous to factory workers who are exposed to large quantities on a daily basis, whereas formaldehyde is dangerous even to the average American consumer.
New York has adopted a new method for administering the costs of malpractice litigation. Judge-directed negotiation allows for judges to become involved in the process much earlier than was the norm before the method. In this approach, judges and the litigants actively seek settlements, decreasting the cost of litigation. The Obama administration is interested in judge-directed negotiation as a way to drive down malpractice costs around the nation. The average money recovered by the plaintiff may be less than if the plaintiff had gone to trial, but the money is available in this situation much earlier than if a trial had proceeded.
Tony Kikendall is a rising second year law student at Boston University School of Law. Feel free to email him with any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns.