Let's Get Serious
Mike Abrams, Executive Vice President of the Iowa Medical Society
Conventional wisdom assigns physicians to one of two categories: those who have been sued, and those who will be. While data would argue that there is a significant number of physicians who will make it through to retirement without being sued, the undeniable fact is that the threat of ruinous litigation looms over the medical profession and impacts the culture in many negative ways.
Pull your July 6, 2011 edition of JAMA from the pile, turn to page 18, and read "The Silent Majority," by Peter Kowey, MD, in which he writes "...fear of retribution for medical errors was cited as a major reason why one in 16 surgeons reported suicidal ideation."
The IMS is serious about enacting a certificate of merit law during the 2012 legislative session. We are halfway there, because it was passed by the Iowa House of Representatives during the 2011 session (click here for a list of legislators and how they voted on the bill) (PDF 1.5MB). That means we must get the bill through the Iowa Senate in 2012.
Even before the 2011 legislative session adjourned, your professional government relations experts from IMS were strategizing on the 2012 session and how to get the Senate to enact this common sense bill. It is our consensus opinion that we need a "game changer." Simply presenting our compelling case has not been enough.
In the coming months we will be refining our strategy and speaking to our membership about how you can participate in a focused way to impart the importance of this issue on your state senator.
Meantime, please share your stories with us. You can e-mail me at to share your own experiences.