New law may spell trouble

| 15/03/2011

(CNS): A new bill dealing with medical negligence that will be debated in the Legislative Assembly when it reconvenes on Wednesday may spell trouble for the financial sector, the independent MLA for North side has warned. Ezzard Miller said he wants the assurance of the attorney general that one of the clauses in the law won’t impact other legal awards cases going through the local court system. Miller, who is objecting to the bill on a number of other grounds, also says it will do nothing to address the growing malpractice insurance rates as government claims but is being brought to the LA merely to satisfy one of the many demands of Dr Devi Shetty for the proposed health city.

Miller, who will be holding a public meeting in his district on Tuesday night just before the parliament’s sitting, which has now been postponed to Thursday, said he wants to talk to his constituents about the Medical Negligence (Non-economic Damages) (Amendment) Bill, 2011, as well as a change made public just last week that will provide for deportees to return to the islands and the current situation regarding the proposed East End Seaport and dredging in the North Sound.

The MLA told CNS that he has several concerns about the medical negligence legislation. Aside from not addressing the issue of medical insurance, the clause relating to the $500,000 capon awards greater than that made in foreign jurisdictions could have implications for Cayman’s court system and other awards unrelated to medical cases.

“I need a clear indication from the attorney general that his office was fully consulted over this law and that the judicial arm of government is completely comfortable with the bill and that it will not undermine the standing of our courts in the international arena and that this does not impinge on any international or bi-lateral agreements,” he stated.

He said that he suspected the bill, and in particular clause four, is there purely to satisfy the requirements of Dr Shetty and the proposed hospital, despite being sold to the public as a way of reducing health care costs because it will reduce malpractice premiums for doctors.

“That’s hogwash 101,” Miller stated. “All the evidence I can find reveals that there has never been a medical malpractice case in the Cayman Islands where the award exceeded $300,000, so how can a higher cap reduce the premiums?” he asked rhetorically. “If anything, it could increase them.”

Miller stated, however, that the problem of high insurance premiums for medical malpractice insurance, especially for obstetricians, had to be addressed but he said this law was not the way to go about it.

He noted that the first thing government should do to tackle the problem was reverse the recent changes to the health practitioner’s law, which introduced a second tier of medical staff who would not be required to reach the normal practice standards, as that was likely to lead to further increases in premiums for all doctors. Secondly, he said, doctors had to be limited to practicing in their specialist fields, and thirdly the country needed to perform regular medical standard reviews to prove the quality of care.

Aside from the medical practitioner’s bill, Miller also revealed that he was very concerned about the new immigration amendment which will allow people who have been deported to return to the Cayman Islands.

“Why would we want to bring back non-Caymanian criminals?” he asked. “We have enough crime of our own.” Miller said he couldn’t understand government’s motivation behind the change.

He also warned it was another move by the government to override the courts, as he said by far the majority of deportations were ordered by judges and he raised concerns that the administration was in danger of undermining the wide respect commanded by Cayman’s judicial system on the international stage.

Miller also noted that he was not letting up on his goal to introduce a minimum wage and this time when the LA met he was planning on bring the same motion that was rejected in the last sitting to introduce the basic rate via a private members motion. “We will see what happens with that,” he added, as he waits to see if the motion will appear on the order paper during the next session.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Headline News

Comments (18)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Lauren says:

    If it’s not broken there’s no need to fix it.

  2. anonymous9 says:

    Ez, I don’t blame you one bit. I can just imagine your frustration. Their lack of attendance is inexcusable, immature and pathetic. BUT this is exactly what they wanted! You have fallen into their trap. So, get back in there!!! Be a bigger man.

    There should be a fine for no-shows. And it should increase with the number of meetings missed. I’m sure they are not surprise meetings! They are doing it to show disrespect. Like teenagers bucking up against their parents.  

    Not that it is a comparison but pro sports teams are fined if they do not show up.

    I know this ecko’s what others have said, but I just wanted to add,"They need to GROW UP!!!!"  I can’t believe that even they do not think that their antics are so childish.

  3. ANONYMOUS says:

    Never heard more nonsense .
    It is purely a political move by Mr Miller. As far as sis statement that the Health Practiconers Law should address the issue of two tiered physicians, he needs to appreciate the facts and the history of the law before making a judgement.
    I guess he has not changed.?

  4. I see you says:

    Is Miller the ONLY MLA who looks at the hairbrained changes to the laws of my Island before they are brought to the LA and passed by rubber stamp of the Government supporters.
    Why is there no oter MLA that is willing to bear the wrath of the Premeir and the henchmen Elio and CG and who is willing to let us the public know what is going in before we read it in the Compass or on CNS in the form of reporting that a particular law is already passed??????

  5. Anonymous says:

    Behold the beginnings of the political garrisons with the criminal elements a la JLP, when they allow previously deported criminals to return. Yaeh man, one more Tivoli Gardens coming right up!

    Green is also the colour of slime!

  6. Sachamo says:

    This man is simply an objectionist, period.

    • I see you says:

      Thank God he is as no one else is willing to open their mouths and tell us what is coming before the LA.
      Watch out Elio and CG, with writers like Sahemo out there the Premier may not need your services soon.

      • Sachamo says:

        First of all Ezzard has no solutions for this country, the 200 bed hospital will add another tier to our economy, i understand that the legislation is key to this and Ezzard is playing mr road block, in my view all Ezzard cares about is a shot at the Premiership, all of this hoopla he’s making is nonsense.

    • You all should be happy that he’s an objectionist, the U.D.P. is selling CAYMAN ISLANDS right out from under our nose and you all joinCG,ES with their school yard bullying, get a grip and pay attention to whats happening here. look around you, the land is being bought up by one fat cat, now he’s buying all the businesses with UDP blessings, YES, I support Ezzard and his bull dog attitude when it comes to my country and money, maybe the little pups that were given to him for the PAC couldnt handle the job, folks lets seek out a few more good men like him to run this country.

  7. Libertarian says:

    ***** “reverse the recent changes to the health practitioner’s law, which introduced a second tier of medical staff who would not be required to reach the normal practice standards, as that was likely to lead to further increases in premiums for all doctors” And in addition, what could further lower the premiums, is for government to at least allow patients to have more choices! Like allow the patients or insurance companies to sign medical malpractice waivers – forms that would give up their rights to sue their doctor for any medical malpractice that the doctor committed, no matter how grossly negligent. In the end, the patients would benefit from such waivers because the medical costs would most naturally decrease. All like Doctor Shetty, Tomlinson, and all local practitioners wouldn’t have to pay for the medical malpractice insurance or worry about ensuring their patients didn’t sue them. They could have the option of passing the remainders of their income to avoiding costs to their patients. It would be a win-win situation for both the patient and the doctor! Nevertheless, overall, when dealing with health care/medical laws for the entire medical field, our government should always be mindful of the fact that any “discriminatory regulation” for one private sector’ entity, such as Shetty, is a wrongful and immoral appropriation of wealth from the many hands of our local practitioners to the hand of one man. Our government “appears” to be in coalition with well-off individuals who have an interest in dominating the market at the expense of the those at the bottom of the pyramid. Favoritism, concessions, possible government subsidies, and interferences upon the small business community, ends up killing the value of competition which could further lower cost in the Cayman Islands and create more jobs.

    • anonymous says:

      Now THAT is about the most negligent thing I’ve ever heard.

      Waive your rights to protect yourself against neglient practicioners?????
      You’re nuts.

      • Libertarian says:

        ***** Actually you will be given the right to decide. It is your life – you call the shots! Why should government call it for you??? *****

        • Sir Caustic says:

          Because the old, the ill and the poor would be horribly abused in such a system?  But as we all know "libertarianism" really means "I know best about everything".

          • Libertarian says:

            Unless someone forces them and their are witness to the signing of such a waiver, how can they be “horribly abused”?

    • Adam Smith says:

      Shame old Lib has no idea about moral hazard, the functioning of the medical services market or efficient allocation of risk.

      If such exclusions were permitted, insurers would tend to limit coverage to those that provided the exclusions as a cost saving device and the consumer would have little choice but to seek medical care from a practitioner who would have no economic incentive to provide a safe service.  This would be a bad idea even in large economy with reasonably efficient markets, but in Cayman it is a terrible idea.

      Large economies have tended towards outlawing exclusion of liability for negligently inflicted physical harm.  There is a middle ground which addresses some of Libertarian’s concerns which is to impose a statutory cap on recoveries, this tends to limit costs of insurance while delivering some protection to the consumer.  However as a measure which tends to weigh societal benefits it is an anathema to the philisophical underpinnings of Libertarian.

      In a sentence Libertarian spouts a lot about things he knows nothing about and simply spews out what he thinks the classical libertarian response would be.   Maybe he has a little bangle which has "What would John Stuart Mill do" on it.

      • Libertarian says:

        ***** lol… I do like John Stuart.Mill… now about the waiver form for malpractice, if you read, I was explaining how it could be a win-win situation for both doctor and patient rather than the situation we are getting ourselves in where thousands upon thousands of dollars is being spent. And to your response that this could be a bad idea… well… Never said it the best alternative? Never made myself an expert in the medical field. Question: Do I think we can do better for both doctor and patient in terms of allowing them to be free to do what they want with their own money? Yes.

  8. Frequent Flyer says:

    “Why would we want to bring back non-Caymanian criminals?”

    Yes, why? Really?? Because someone’s baby daddy got deported and the silly woman wants him back.

    This makes absolutely no sense, so you must know there is a reason.            There is NO doubt here. In fact, I would say that all of the harebrained things that are going on, from the beach land for Courtyard and rerouting of the bypass to the new Barcadere with the really high docking facilities, as well as the cabinet status grants, casinos, etc  are all because of something that MaKeeva Bush promised to someone when he was trying to get re-elected.

    If you people can’t see all of this by now, well, I just don’t know where/how we will end up in this crazy world. Coz there is almost no stopping him now except for calling him on his bullshit. He thinks Caymanians aren’t smart enough to catch on and we know that’s not true people! You better speak up!!!!  PLEASE!

    Or you can just sit back and watch and cry about it later.