The Who, What, Why, When and How of Medical Malpractice Cases in Virginia

You can define “Medical Malpractice,” can’t you? You may know what it means, but I would be surprised if you have actually considered how to file a med mal claim. This article briefly outlines what Medical Malpractice means in Virginia, from the letter of the law, to the process families undergo when filing a Medical Malpractice Claim. Please note, the laws are often being changed, so always consult an attorney about your specific case, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Definition

Under Virginia law, Medical Malpractice means “any tort action or breach of contract action for personal injuries or wrongful death, based on health care or professional services rendered, or which should have been rendered, by a health care provider, to a patient. Put simply, medical malpractice claims arise from health care worker / patient relationships, where the patient experiences damages (physical and/or financial), as a result of the health care provider’s negligence.

Clearly, you know who your doctor is, but who is included in the legal definition of “health care provider?” Virginia case law has frequently defined who is, and who is not a health care provider. For example, a physician with an expired license is not a health care provider and is therefore not covered by the laws in the Virginia Medical Malpractice Act. A laboratory is not likely considered a health care provider. A nurse however, is a health care provider. A nursing home is also a health care provider. Tell your attorneys who you believe was involved, and allow them to do the research to determine whether or not your case is technically a medical malpractice claim.

Statute of Limitations

Claim for an Adult

In Virginia, most personal injury actions against health care providers must be filed with the Court within two years of the date of the negligence.

In a case involving a foreign object (surgical sponges, needles, etc.), you have the two-year limitations from the date of negligence, or “a period of one year from the date the object is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered” – whichever period of time is longer.

In Virginia, under limited circumstances, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim after the two year statute of limitations under what is called the continuing treatment doctrine. This rule is very complicated, and not a sure bet – so as previously stated, speak with an attorney as soon as possible to allow sufficient time to investigate and possibly file your claim.

Claim for a Minor

The rules for children are different. If you are under the age of 18, you are deemed to be a minor in Virginia. If the parent or guardian of a minor wants to file a claim for damage to property (their child being the property), the parent or guardian has five years after the damage, to bring the suit. You will not be able to recover anything but the actual damages or medical bills.

To bring a medical malpractice claim for damage sustained by a minor, it gets even more confusing. Virginia law provides that if the child is less than 8 years old at the time of the injury, they have until their 10th birthday to bring the claim. If the child was older than ten at the time of the negligence, they have two years from that date to file the action.

Virginia Code §8.01-229 states that if one is under a disability (which includes under the age of 18), they have until they are 18 to bring the claim. Please note, the Virginia Supreme Court recently held in medical malpractice cases, it is not until you are 18, plus two years – it is until they are 18 and then the statute expires.

The moral of the story is – with a possible malpractice claim involving a child – call an attorney immediately to find out when your cause of action must be filed.

Wrongful Death Claim

If the negligence of the health care provider caused the death of your loved one and you want to file suit, the claim is called a wrongful death claim. Virginia Code §8.01-244 states that such “action shall be brought by the personal representative of the decedent within two years after the death of the injured person.”

What is the process of filing a malpractice claim?

Investigating / Reviewing Records

Every attorney who is approached about a medical malpractice case will first need to review the relevant medical records. In our office, we prefer the family request these records so the facility or doctor is not made aware of attorney involvement. Once the records are requested, a doctor or hospital has 3 days to produce the records to the family. Under federal law, a nursing home must produce requested records within 2 business days. The hospital, doctor, or nursing home is allowed to charge a reasonable copying fee.

Once you get the records, the attorney, staff or a third party will review the records for the attorney. The purpose of the review is to make sure all the records are present and that the records reflect the events as told to the family, etc. It will take most law offices 2-4 weeks to review the records and decide whether it is a case worth investigating.

Understanding Health Insurance in Virginia

Health insurance remains one of the most talked about topics when it comes to products that are indispensable for residents of Virginia. With continued increase in healthcare costs, the importance of health insurance plans keeps increasing.

It goes without saying that residents of Virginia without insurance coverage are at a greater risk of experiencing financial insecurity during illness or injury. No doubt health insurance plans involve costs but affordable health policies are easily available and with the implementation of healthcare reforms, lots of options will be available to the Virginians.

Traditional indemnity insurance plans in Virginia

Traditionally, indemnity health insurance plans in Virginia offer reimbursement against the claims made by an insured person. The level of coverage provided by these plans could vary from basic to comprehensive depending upon the needs of the insured person. Accordingly, the costs of the health plans vary-premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurance, etc.

Managed health care plans in Virginia

Unlike indemnity health plans, managed care health insurance plans involve a group of medical providers that offer comprehensive medical services. They are called preferred or participating providers.

There are basically three managed care options:

• Health Maintenance Organization or HMO

HMOs allow the insured person to select a primary care physician from the plan’s list of medical service providers. If it is necessary, the primary care physician will refer the insured person to a specialist.

• Preferred Provider Organization or PPO

PPOs allow the members to avail large medical care network. At a slightly higher cost, a PPO generally allows its members to receive care outside its network of providers

• Point of Service feature or POS

POS medical plans are special types of HMOs that allow the members to select a non-network provider at a slightly higher cost.

Impact of the Affordable Care Act of health insurance in Virginia

• Around 109,000 small businesses in Virginia will be helped with tax credit.

• Medicare beneficiaries will be mailed a check automatically to defray the costs of their prescription drugs.

• Early retirees would be provided options for reinsurance.

• $113 million federal dollars will be made available to Virginia starting July 1 to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

• With the new Act, Virginia enjoys the option of Federal Medicaid funding for coverage for all low-income populations, irrespective of age, disability, or family status, for the very first time.

• 4.7 million people in Virginia with private insurance won’t have to worry about lifetime limits on the coverage.

• 344,000 individuals will not have to worry about to get dropped from insurance policies when they get sick.

• Children would be able to stay in their family health insurance policy till the age of 26 years.

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Benefits of Getting Certified With CNA Certification in West Virginia

In the state of West Virginia, nurse aides are known as “Registered Long Term Care Nurse Aides”, instead of “Licensed Nurse Aides” or “Certified Nurse Aides” because the WV CNA Program only lists nursing assistants on the Registry. The responsibility to certify a nursing assistant who has successfully passed the competency evaluation test is entrusted upon the testing agent Professional Healthcare Development (PHD).

As a CNA in the WV, nursing assistants are permitted to work legally in a wide variety of health care settings. They can assist long-term care residents with the ADL (activities of daily livings) and provide direct patient care services in nursing homes, hospitals, hospice, assisted living facilities, adult care centers, rehabilitation centres and homes of the patients. Although, WV ranks among the top ten states with worst nurse aide salaries, the advantages of getting certified with CNA Certification in the state far outpace the salary drawbacks including:

The state is passing through acute nursing shortages of all level nurses, including nursing assistants.

The percentage of veterans and older age population is very high in the state. 45 to 64 age group population constitute 29.2%, and 65 years and above age group people forms 16% of the total population, according to the US Census Bureau 2010 Population chart. Nurse Aides are trained, and qualified to meet the long-term care requirements of these veterans and senior citizens.

There are more than 84 certified facilities in the state including over 56 hospitals and clinics. These facilities constantly provide ample entry-level CNA job openings for different level positions.

The economic slowdown of the country has affected all sectors except the healthcare industry. The employments in other sectors are fast drying up, but healthcare field is providing abundant employment opportunities to CNAs, and other licensed nurses.

The job stability in the healthcare sector is exceedingly high in comparison to other sector employments.

The training program for becoming a certified nursing assistant is remarkably short, 120 hours that can be completed in 4-8 weeks.

At a time when WV citizens are passing through severe financial crisis due to the economic downturn, and finding it difficult to meet their day-to-day expenses, CNA jobs have come a blessing for them. CNA salary of $17,500 to $35,000 in WV is sufficient to meet basic family costs and sustainable living. The nursing students can easily get certified with WV CNA Certification and start earning a minimum respectable income needed for survival in the state.

Immediate Benefits For Residents of Virginia Looking to Buy Medical Insurance

While talking about medical insurance in Virginia, the effect of healthcare reforms on the dynamics of health insurance industry can’t be overlooked. The White House has provided an extensive list of impacts and changes that consumers in Virginia can expect over a period of time.

In this article, we will discuss some of the Virginia specific impacts of healthcare reforms on medical insurance industry:

– A tax credit is offered to possible 109,000 small businesses in Virginia for making it easier to offer health cover to their employees. The small businesses that will offer affordable health insurance to their employees will be able to avail this tax credit.

– As per statistics available, last year, roughly 91,500 Medicare beneficiaries in Virginia hit the donut hole, or gap in Medicare Part D drug coverage. But no extra help to defray the cost of their prescription drugs was provided to them. However, Medicare beneficiaries in Virginia who hit the gap this year will automatically be mailed a one-time $250 rebate check.

– Around 82,100 people from Virginia retired before they were eligible for Medicare and have health coverage through their former employers. A temporary early retiree reinsurance program will be provided beginning June 1, 2010 offering $5 billion for its functionality.

– There will be no lifetime limits on the coverage provided by the insurers in Virginia. This means that around 4.7 million Virginians will never have to worry about their coverage running out and facing catastrophic out-of-pocket costs for their medical plans.

– Insurers in Virginia will not be able to exclude children from coverage because of a pre-existing condition, giving parents across Virginia peace of mind while they look for family medical plans.

– $113 million federal dollars are available to Virginia starting July 1 to provide coverage for uninsured residents with pre-existing medical conditions through a new transitional high-risk pool program. This is funded entirely by the federal government and will function till the state-run exchange becomes functional.

With so many options coming to protect the interests of Virginians, it is clear that healthcare reforms will have a definite impact on the dynamics of health insurance industry. Choosing a medical plan is never an easy task but given the thoughtful reforms that the federal government is driving into this industry, it becomes quite obvious that Virginians will have better choices within economical means.

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Understanding Affordable Health Insurance in Virginia

Virginia is one of the most concentrated upon states by insurance companies and it is very noticeable that residents of Virginia get more option to buy affordable health policies. According to a research study conducted by the United Health Foundation in 2009, Virginia got ranked 21st among 50 US states in a list of healthy states. This is not a very discouraging figure given that healthcare services are taking the beating from all sides. Moreover, with so many things happening around the healthcare industry, it is hoped that Virginia would do better in the future.

Virginia has a large company base when consumers need to find affordable health insurance options. Right from private insurers, consumers can avail suitable insurance options from some government plans also.

Aetna, American National, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Assurant, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, Celtic, Golden Rule, Great American, Humana One, IAC, Kaiser Permanente, Patriot Health, Solera Dental, and UniCare are the private insurers, while Medicaid, Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS), Every Woman’s Life Program, and the Federal Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) are the government sponsored programs offering affordable insurance to Virginians.

Some facts about affordable health insurance in Virginia

– Group insurance enrolees in Virginia cannot be denied or limited in terms of coverage, nor can be required to pay more, because of their health status.

– Virginians can’t be removed from the health policy when they get sick.

– All Virginians are guaranteed the right to buy individual insurance from either Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield or CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield.

– Virginians with low or modest household income may qualify for free or subsidized health coverage through the Virginia Medicaid program. This program offers free health coverage for pregnant women, families with children, and elderly and disabled individuals also.

– Healthcare reforms ensure that children can stay in their parent’s health policy as dependents, till the age of 26 years.

– Consumers, who are retirees, aged 55-65 and are receiving benefits from Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), may qualify for the HCTC.

With such options available, it is really easy to find affordable medical insurance policies in Virginia. The idea is to explore a bit; do some home-work; talk to experts and then finally make a choice. Consumers just need to make sure that they are not rushing with their decision nor feeling too shy to ask questions.

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Become a Sonographer in Virginia: Accredited Ultrasound Schools in Virginia

Are you going to study sonography in Virginia? Virginia is a beautiful state with places that lure visitors from around the country. Attractions like Virginia Beach, Colonial Williamsburg and Arlington National Cemetery are popular year round. Virginia is also a favorite of avid sportspeople and has some of the most visually stunning areas in the country, like Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Highlands. Virginia has a healthcare philosophy that includes health equity, healthy living and high quality birth and early childhood health services. It would not be surprising if job growth for Diagnostic Medical Sonographers exceeds projections as more areas are added to the state’s healthcare programs.

Sonography Education in Virginia

To many students, the thought of attending a Diagnostic Medical School in Virginia sounds quite nice. The good news is that Tidewater Community College offers accredited Associate degrees with a general ultrasound technology concentration. However, two other schools also offer the same degree, with a choice of training at Northern Virginia Community College or Southside Regional Medical Center. All three schools offer CAAHEP accredited training programs in sonography. The curriculum teach the proper use of ultrasound equipment to identify human pathologies. Virginia does not require licensing, but all sonographers in the state should obtain ARDMS credentialing to ensure consideration for the maximum number of positions.

Salaries and Career Outlook for Ultrasound Technicians in Virginia

There are currently 1,330 Diagnostic Medical Sonographers working in Virginia, but the number of ultrasound jobs is growing. Statistics include long-term estimates that project a growth of 70 new positions each year, leading to a total of 1,680 employed ultrasound technologists in 2020. This represents a 40 percent change between 2010 and 2020, which means sonographers will find numerous opportunities. One of the reasons attributed to the job growth in 2013 is related to the Affordable Care Act which encourages states to provide greater healthcare access to underserved populations, including senior citizens. The average annual salary in 2012 was $70,840 according to federal statisticians. Virginia has a number of medical facilities with sterling reputations, including the University of Virginia Medical Center and Lynchburg General Hospital. Besides the traditional jobs, there are also opportunities to get involved in ultrasound technology research efforts.

A List of Best Schools for Diagnostic Medical Sonography Study in the State of Virginia

School Name: Northern Virginia Community College
Address: 6699 Springfield Center Drive, Springfield 22150
City: Springfield
Contact Person: Anita Freeman
Contact Phone: 703-822-9048
Program: Associates Degree

School Name: Tidewater Community College
Address: 1700 College Crescent, Virginia Beach 23453
City: Virginia Beach
Contact Person: Felicia Toreno
Contact Phone: 757-822-7271
Program: Associates Degree

School Name: Southside Regional Medical Center
Address: 737 South Sycamore St, Room 120, Petersburg 23805
City: Petersburg
Contact Person: Ziffie Thomas
Contact Phone: 804-765-5912
Program: Associates Degree

School Name: Piedmont Virginia Comm College
Address: 501 College Dr, Charlottesville 22902
City: Charlottesville
Contact Person: Elaine Nichols
Contact Phone: 434-961-6582

School Name: Ecpi University
Address: 1001 Omni Blvd Ste 200, Newport News 23606
City: Newport News
Contact Person: Kathryn Sheets
Contact Phone: 757-873-2423

Changes Through Healthcare Reforms in Medical Insurance

Medical insurance in VA will face a lot of changes and alterations when the Affordable Care Act gets implemented and various clauses of this Act reach their starting date.

How residents of Virginia buy their health insurance policies depend upon many factors including level of medical coverage required, budget that can be spent, medical history, age, and area in which a consumers lives. However, the healthcare reforms brought about by Obama’s government is meant to make medical insurance more affordable to every citizen in the country, eliminating a lot of bottlenecks for the consumers.

While talking about health insurance in VA and changes that the healthcare reforms would bring, below are some immediate benefits:

– The small business segment is going to get huge benefits for offering affordable medical insurance to their employees. Around 109,000 small businesses in Virginia would be able to enjoy tax credit.

– There would be no lifetime limit that insurers in VA could impose on the consumers. 4.7 million Virginians with private medical insurance would not need worry about the same.

– When Virginians get sick, the companies can’t drop them from coverage. 344,000 individuals with medical insurance in VA would be benefitted by this law.

– The children in VA with pre-existing condition will not have to worry-the Act prohibits the insurers to make distinction based on pre-existing condition.

– Medical insurance plan’s annual limit will be regulated by new laws. Around 4.3 million Virginians would be protected through this change.

– The children would be able to stay in their parent’s health insurance plan till the age of 26 years. A lot of companies are already offering this option to the residents of VA. It is good to check with the insurers if any of dependent children was dropped from the policy due to overage.

– Virginia will be offered $113 million federal dollars to provide medical coverage to uninsured residents having pre-existing medical condition through a new risk-pool.

– Around 146 Community Health Centers in Virginia will get increased funding to provide better access of healthcare services. Community Health Centers cater to the needs of a major portion of Virginian population and it is encouraging to know that the government is paying attention to this aspect of healthcare.

– For the first time, Virginia will have the option of Federal Medicaid funding for coverage for all low-income populations, irrespective of age, disability, or family status.

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Be in Demand, Work As a Healthcare Professional

Demand for healthcare workers is growing as America’s population ages. In fact, health and medical professionals are in higher demand then ever. If you’re looking for a career where your skills can make a difference in someone’s life, healthcare might be a good fit for you. An online health and medical degree can prepare you for positions including:

Healthcare Reimbursement
Health Services Management
Medical Assistant
Medical Billing & Coding
Surgical Technologist
And More!

4 Reasons to Pursue a Career in the Healthcare Industry

Job Security – in today’s economy many industries are scaling back on employees. The

healthcare field on the other hand is experiencing enormous growth. The U.S. Department of Labor expects 4,700,000 new healthcare jobs to open up by 2014 partly due to the aging population.

Career Advancement Opportunities – it’s no surprise that it costs less to promote a current employee then to hire from outside. Often, employers will reimburse your educational expenses and even give you time off to attend classes so you can qualify for a higher-paying position.

You Can Make a Difference – One of the biggest benefits to working in the healthcare industry is that you have the opportunity to improve the quality of people’s lives. You can help to make the world a little healthier one day at a time.

Competitive Pay & Benefits – Salary of course is a big factor when considering a career. You’ll be happy to know that health care professionals are paid competitively. Benefits generally include health insurance, paid vacation, paid sick leave, pension plans and often educational reimbursement.

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Malpractice Insurance in Virginia

The state of Virginia boasts one of the United States’ most stable medical liability insurance markets due to legislation that passed over 30 years ago.

In the 1970’s Virginia faced a medical malpractice crisis that led to the Virginia General Assembly to pass the Medical Malpractice Act of 1976, which sealed all damages at $750,000. With this new act passed, Virginia malpractice insurance was then offered at a more affordable price to healthcare providers such as dentists.

In 1983, the malpractice ceiling was then increased to $1 million, and was almost raised again in 1999 to $1.5 million with annual increases until 2008 to make it $2 million. The attempt to raise it to $2 million did not pass, and today Virginia is only one out of only seven states to have such a ceiling on the state’s court system.

If a lawsuit does occur Virginia allows for either party to request that a panel made up of attorneys, healthcare providers, and a court judge to decide whether or not the dentist or healthcare provider provided adequate standard of care, and if not, whether it was the cause of any damages. From this, either party can use the ruling as evidence in court.

Having malpractice insurance in Virginia is crucial to any healthcare provider, as it provides them safety from lawsuits, while protecting their business at the same time. According to the Virginia Board of Medicine, they have reported that since 1999, 96% of paid malpractice claims have been less than $1.1 million, and less than 2% of the claims have exceeded $1.5 million. Most of these claims have included: root canals, bridge work, nerve injuries,swallowing of a small object during a dental procedure, loss of permanent teeth, periodontal disease, an adverse reaction to certain medications, pain, cancer, broken and/or fractured teeth or jaw bone and disfigurement of the mouth. In addition to those reasons above, lawsuits can also include issues of, x-rays, assault, sexual harassment and other issues that can involve the dental practice, but not necessarily the dentist.

While usually most dentist and healthcare providers have not been found responsible for damages in most of these cases, in the cases where they have, they failed to read a patients file properly or have been accused of neglect that led to damage of the patient. This is often when dental malpractice insurance is needed to protect the dentist from losing his or her practice, in addition to helping them settle the dispute financially.

Peeking Into the Immediate Benefits of the Affordable Care Act for Virginia

Healthcare reforms or the Affordable Care Act, as it is officially known, brings a plethora of changes into the healthcare industry as a whole. Talking in specific terms, it addresses a lot of issues related to states, groups, strata and areas-overall, it is very much customized to cater to individual as well as collective needs of US citizens.

The obligations brought by this law provide many benefits to the consumers as well as business owners who are looking to extend medical insurance options to their employees. Some of them are immediately applicable, while the rest of them are available with a certain time line. In this article we consider the immediate benefits for the State of Virginia.

– Seniors in Virginia will be provided discounts for Medicare programs hitting the donut hole or gap in Medicare Part D drug coverage. The new law continues to provide additional discounts for seniors on Medicare in the years ahead and closes the donut hole by 2020.

– All Medicare enrolees in Virginia will be provided preventive services, including, colorectal cancer screenings, mammograms, and an annual wellness visit without copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles.

– Virginia has an access to $113 million federal dollars from the federal government to provide health insurance to uninsured residents with pre-existing medical conditions through a new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan program. This program will be converted to the State Exchange in 2014.

– Small businesses with fewer than 25 employees may check their eligibility to avail tax credit for providing coverage to their employees. Around 14,400 small businesses in Virginia may qualify for this.

– Children would be allowed to stay in their family health insurance policy as dependents till the age of 26 years. This clause will have a direct impact on the purchase of student health insurance and also somewhat on individual health insurance.

– For the very first time, Virginia has the option of Federal Medicaid funding for coverage for all low-income populations, irrespective of age, disability, or family status.

– As consumers, Virginians will be benefited because the healthcare reforms prohibit the insurance companies from placing a life-time limit on the coverage they provide.

– Further, consumers cannot be removed from coverage when they get sick. This is, in fact, one of the most important factors contributing a lot to the individual health insurance market.

Like this, healthcare reforms bring a lot of benefits to the Virginians. However, it has its own obligations levied on the consumers because it mandates the purchase of health insurance by all the citizens. There is penalty for consumers who do not buy a health insurance to support their healthcare needs.

To talk independently, it seems that the pros and cons can easily be bulleted and we will find that there are more pros to their Act. The government is trying to facilitate the obligation of buying a health insurance policy by offering many options and opening new programs.