Protecting Physicians Who Treat Low-Income, Uninsured Patients

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee ranking member Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) recently introduced a bill (S 3354) that would encourage physicians and other medical professionals to volunteer their services to patients who cannot afford or access care, CQ HealthBeat reports. The Volunteer Health Care Program Act would provide grants that states would use in part to assume medical liability risk for physicians and ensure patients can recover damages from medical malpractice.

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According to Enzi, the bill would encourage physicians and other medical professionals to volunteer their services at clinics and community health centers, with a focus on recently retired physicians who no longer have medical liability insurance that allows them to offer such care.

He said, "There is an overwhelming need for volunteer medical care among the poor in the United States, but medical liability concerns discourage doctors from providing voluntary services" (Parnass, CQ HealthBeat, 8/5).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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