Welcome to our website!
Save Our Doctors Hawaii is non-profit coalition of physicians and concerned citizens who have been adversely affected by the ever increasing shortage of physicians.
In our isolated island State, the loss of a trusted physician without a replacement, the unavailability of a required specialist in an emergency or other medical crisis negatively impacts our access to healthcare resulting in healthcare rationing.
we're working for improved access to healthcare
Our goal is to educate our 'Ohana about this medical crisis
We are committed to educating the people of Hawaii about the dangerous consequences of this expanding crisis. We are committed to the proposal and implementation of solutions that are effective and without cost to taxpayers.
Our purpose is to work collaboratively with lawmakers, healthcare professionals and consumers to examine solutions that have proven successful in other communities, to craft a tailored solution for our State and to realize its implementation this year.
With approximately 2,900 practicing physicians in Hawai‘i, studies are showing that our island state is already short roughly 500 doctors across many specialties. It is anticipated that we will lose more than 130 more physicians every year as the physician workforce ages and retires. The shortage, by county, is 38% on the Big Island, 33% in Maui County, 30% on Kaua‘i and 17% on O’ahu.
Experts believe there are many factors contributing to the current shortage. Some of these factors are reimbursement issues, better pay on the mainland and malpractice lawsuits.
Many physicians and physician supporters believe one of the best ways to curb the exodus of physicians is to pass a medical tort reform bill that would lower doctor’s medical malpractice insurance premiums. Supporters including the Hawai‘i Medical Association (HMA) and the State Department of Health argue that Hawai‘i physicians pay some of the highest premiums in the United States. According to HMA, between 2002 and 2006 the average premium rose 90% from about $33,000 to $63,000 for doctors who provide high-risk, life saving treatments.
Some believe these high premiums are a result of physicians having to defend against frivolous lawsuits. The Medical Insurance Exchange of California (MIEC) noted that 86% of claims filed against their insured Hawai‘i physicians are found to be without merit and result in no payment to the claimant. However, due to the costs of legal fees and court costs to defend such lawsuits, premiums still increase.
It is the widely held opinion that a medical tort reform bill would remedy this situation by putting caps on the awards for malpractice claims. Current Hawai‘i law has no limits on non-economic damages, which would include mental anguish or disfigurement. Often, awards for these claims are exorbitant and can be unpredictable. There exists a cap of $375,000 for pain and suffering however, the cap is worded such that it has little meaning in acting as an actual cap. Attorneys are able to bypass the current cap. The proposed legislation would limit non-economic damages to $250,000 in claims against physicians in specialty areas such as emergency medicine, neurology, Ob/Gyn, orthopedic and general surgery. The legislation also includes a proposed cap of $3 million for gross negligence awards.
Other states have passed medical malpractice reform legislation and have experienced dramatic increases in the quality of care. Texas, for example, implemented reform by limiting non-economic damages in medical liability cases to $250,000 in 2003. They’ve since seen increases in physicians coming to their state to practice and decreases in malpractice insurance rates, as well as, decreased lawsuit filings. Nevada, Mississippi, and Oklahoma have also passed legislation for caps on non-economic damages and have seen similar outcomes.
April 7, 2016
HMA Legislative Presentation
All Legislators and Staff Welcome in ROOM 423: April 7, 2016 9:30- 10:30 AM Presentation of Workforce Assessment and Steps To Take to Prevent More Providers from Exiting the State - Dr. Kelley Withy, MD, followed by Q&A
April 4, 2011
October 3, 2010
Sept. 28, 2010
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin sees the urgency in heading off an impending access to care crisis, calling state legislators back to work for a special session to enact liability reform. .
New York has long been known for alienating physicians and leaving patients with limited health care options, and a new poll of physicians in the state finds that the “frustrating” liability climate will have an impact on future access to care.
April 14, 2013
Protect Patients Now needs your help in support of bipartisan legislation introduced last week in the House of Representatives to stop medical lawsuit abuse.
Contact your member of Congress today and ask him/her to co-sponsor H.R. 1473, the Standard of Care Protection Act, to ensure that no provisions of federal health care law may be inappropriately used to create new threats for medical liability litigation in the United States.
Our nation's medical liability system is already broken â€" it costs too much and does not serve the needs of patients. Without H.R. 1473, it could be much worse, threatening patient access to vital health care services.
HCLA and Protect Patients Now needs you to contact your Member of Congress today and ask him/her to sign on to this critical piece of legislation.
Click here to Contact Congress now and ask your Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 1473, the Standard of Care Protection Act to prevent further abuse of our medical liability system and ensure continued access to care for patients across the country.