Many times, advocacy efforts within the medical malpractice sphere can feel like an uphill battle.
The reality is that plaintiffs’ attorneys are arguably better networked, more motivated, and more successful at seeking change and maintaining a landscape favorable to them than the more fragmented “defense” industry. Simply put, plaintiffs’ lawyers don’t sleep on advocating for their own economic interests.
It never fails to seem as though any improvement that appears to favor physicians, keep insurance costs down, or keep evidence in cases “fair,” is subject to being struck down by a trial judge or appellate court if given the chance. Examples of the issues involved include protections around peer review, prohibitions on “phantom” damages (damages that permit plaintiffs to recover the amount “billed,” rather than “paid”), permitting evidence of known risks of procedures and complication rates (even if informed consent is not at issue in the underlying case), or keeping third-party litigation financing in the shadows.
Advocacy for physicians must be a team sport, and oftentimes, getting involved can be a simple task. Advocacy for an individual physician usually includes being a member of the state’s medical society and seeking ways to get informed and involved—both for physicians and their office staff. Voting regularly in state and federal elections, particularly in lesser-known judicial elections, is also extremely important for advocacy efforts. Physicians also need to participate in grassroots advocacy when called upon. In a dream state, more doctors would run for office, and more defense lawyers would have an interest in becoming judges.
For Curi, and for myself, advocacy efforts go hand-in-hand with holistically serving doctors in medicine, business, and life—as our mission statement promises.
Throughout my daily life, I’m often reminded of what it means to be a strong partner to the community we serve. There’s a convenience store around the corner from me in Raleigh, where Curi is headquartered, that’s been around for decades. Its slogan, permanently emblazoned on its sign, is “Big enough to serve you, small enough to know you.” I often think about that as analogous to Curi’s role in physician advocacy.
In the core states in which Curi operates, we engage with our sweat and equity in advocacy where we can. We aim to provide education to members about elections, we have memberships in state-specific organizations that focus on litigation reform, we lend support to “friend of the court” briefs on issues that impact physicians (even when our own insureds are not involved in the underlying case), and we administer grassroots advocacy tools to our physician owners when circumstances demand it.
It’s a privilege to work for a company that altruistically devotes resources and time to identifying legislative and judicial issues that are important to our members on a regular basis. When we engage in advocacy, it’s not to gain a competitive edge in the market—it’s because we view it as table stakes given our company’s mission.
Sometimes it’s a struggle to find partners who share the same outlook. If you ever know of one that does, and believe an introduction is in order, we’d welcome your feedback. But at a minimum, please take time to read advocacy information we share with you, and act upon it when you’re so inclined. We don’t send those types of communications out unless we feel strongly that they will be beneficial to you and your practice. To truly generate change, we need you on to be on the field with us, fighting alongside us on our advocacy team as we work together to protect the medical community.
The opinions and views expressed in this blog post belong to and are solely those of the individual author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Curi Insurance or Curi Insurance’s parent or affiliated companies or their members, insureds, clients, customers, or partners.