Victims, Lawmakers Push Patient Safety Initiatives

Thursday, May 31, 2012

LANSING- A bicameral group of Democrats led by Senator Bert Johnson (D- Detroit) and Representative Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) announced a new package of Patient Safety bills today. The bills are designed to target repeated bad behavior by a small group of doctors who ultimately put patients at risk as well as drive up insurance rates for the overwhelming majority of doctors who practice safely and in the best interests of their patients.

The legislation being introduced would do the following:

• Increase penalties for doctors who commit certain offenses such as practicing while under the influence of drugs or alcohol,

• Acting with the intent to harm a patient, or intentionally prescribing unnecessary medication.

• Create new reporting requirements and administrative disciplinary action within the Department of Community Health to better monitor doctors who are proven to be bad actors.

The legislators are also questioning the decision of Republican lawmakers to move forward on legislation that would protect negligent doctors who maim or even kill their patients. This legislation comes on the heels of an epidemic of medical errors and unethical acts performed by doctors.

“It takes a certain level of hubris to propose legislation that gives greater protections to doctors while thousands of patients are suffering due to medical errors,” said Senator Johnson. “I’m pushing legislation that focuses on protecting patients and punishes doctors who are unable or unwilling to live up to the standards of their profession.”

“Doctors practice in a difficult and chaotic environment and they already justifiably receive broad allowances in the law for mistakes,” said Representative Irwin. “Giving drunk doctors a free pass and denying citizens any legal recourse when their doctor commits a criminal or fraudulent act is wrong. That’s why I’m proud to introduce this Patient Safety package and I call on Sen. Kahn to take testimony on the ‘Patient Safety’ package right alongside his ‘No Accountability for Doctors Ever’ legislation.”