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New law could protect bad doctors

A new bill is being pushed through the Louisiana legislature that could keep bad doctors from facing punishment by the State Board of Medical Examiners. This includes doctors who write excessive amounts of opiate and narcotic prescriptions, called "pill mill" doctors.

While the bill itself is not intended for such use, there are provisions that would allow this behavior. Namely, the bill would prohibit anonymous complaints from being investigated. In addition, there would be no “surprise inspections”; any investigation would happen after five days’ notice. 

The two other provisions under scrutiny also place limitations on the inspection. First, there would only be nine categories of unprofessional conduct. Finally, there would essentially be a three-year statute of limitations on any investigation or claim.

Opponents of the bill claim that these rules would allow pill mill doctors to essentially work without consequence. The bill’s wording would provide loopholes for physicians to quickly maneuver around many medical malpractice charges.

But proponents of the bill say the bill is intended to protect doctors from frivolous claims. They will know what to expect during investigations. They say the current process is too complex and needs to be simplified, for the physicians’ sake.

The complaints were taken into consideration, and the bill was amended so much it had to be reintroduced under a new docket. But opponents still claim the bill turns a blind eye to illegal activity. Beyond the “pill mill” concerns, there is concern over the new statute of limitations. Many medical malpractice claims take longer than that just for investigation.

Anyone who is suffering a worsened medical condition due to negligence, failure to diagnose or any other form of medical malpractice should contact an experienced attorney immediately. A lawyer can give legal advice on how to claim compensation.

Source: The Times-Picayune, “Medical Examiners changes could protect 'pill mill' doctors, opponents say,” Kevin Litten, June 2, 2015

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