Las Vegas Sun

December 18, 2014

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Guinn works on new plan against malpractice crisis

Gov. Kenny Guinn is expected this week to announce a new plan to address the medical malpractice crisis.

The governor met last week with hospital chief executives, doctors, insurance providers, cabinet-level directors and senior staff to determine what his next move should be.

Guinn is reportedly committed to doing something about the reimbursement rates obstetricians receive, and has said he favors allowing doctors to pass an additional $5 to $10 on to their patients for each visit.

"We're considering some things about payments," Guinn's spokesman, Greg Bortolin, said.

But the governor's staff still does not know what -- if anything -- Guinn needs to do right now.

"We're just not there yet," Bortolin said. "Four doctors have left, and only one is a doctor who delivers babies."

Guinn is expected to further elaborate on his position this week, Bortolin said.

Three weeks ago Guinn said he was considering having doctors temporarily sign contracts to be state employees -- a move that would allow them to come under the $50,000 liability cap government employees have to protect from litigation.

He also said he had asked the attorney general's office to define what powers, if any, he could invoke as part of the state's Emergency Powers Act.

Guinn had suggested he wanted to repeal a state law governing doctor licensure to allow experienced doctors to transfer to Nevada without meeting the state's residency requirements. The governor argued veteran doctors might not have the three years of residency that is now required because two years of residency used to be sufficient.

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