News from MoDocs

J. Thaddeus Eckenrode Named Top Medical Malpractice Defendants Attorney for 2018

Tad Eckenrode, an attorney who has handled a number of cases on behalf of MoDocs’ insureds, has been named the top Medical Malpractice Law attorney for defendants by Best Lawyers for 2018. We are always pleased by Tad’s unwavering dedication to the defense of our doctors, and this is a well-deserved honor! Congratulations Tad! More information on the awards granted by Best Lawyers for St. Louis attorneys can be found...

MoDocs Elects James F. Conant, M.D. as Chairman of the Board

MoDocs elects James F. Conant, M.D. as Chairman of the Board Saint Joseph, MO – May 1, 2017.  James F. Conant, M.D. has been elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of MoDocs, a leading medical malpractice insurance company with offices in Saint Joseph and Chesterfield.  MoDocs is doctor owned and serves over 600 physicians statewide. During the Annual Meeting of its members, Dr. Conant was re-elected to his board position. Subsequently, during the Board Meeting, Dr. Conant was elected to serve as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dr. Conant’s distinguished career spans over three decades of service, including many leadership roles in local and state medical organizations and hospitals. Dr. Conant is a Fellow of the AAFP. Currently he is a member of the MSMA, the AAFP and is a delegate from the State of Missouri to the AMA. He was the President and Chief of Staff of Jefferson Memorial Hospital in 1982-1983.  He formerly served as the MSMA Hospital/Medical Staff Section Representative from Heartland Health. He also served as the Vice-Councilor of Organized Medical Staff Section for the MSMA from 2001-2010. Dr. Conant served as President of Health Choice of Northwest Missouri. As a supporter of continuing medical education, he has served as Associate Councilor from Missouri to the SMA for many years and as Councilor for Missouri from 2011-2015. He served as President of the Buchanan County Medical Society in 1995 and served on the Physicians’ Advisory Committee for the Missouri Department of Social Services Division of Aging. He also served in the US Army in Korea. Dr. Conant received a Bachelor’s degree in...

MoDocs’ General Counsel Wins Prairie Spirit 100 Mile Ultra Race

Paul Schoenlaub, MoDocs’ General Counsel, is an ultra runner; he regularly visits Colorado and Arkansas to run 50-100 mile races, also known as Ultra races. Paul also helps manage an Ultra race right here in Missouri called the Ozark Trail 100. On April 2nd, 2016, Paul ran in the Prairie Spirit 100 mile Ultra race in Ottawa, Kansas. He finished first overall, with a total time of 18 hours, 16 minutes, and 33 seconds. His average time per mile was 10 minutes, 58 seconds. This was Paul’s first career first-place-overall finish in an Ultra race. You can see the complete list of results here. Congratulations on your win,...

MoDocs’ Legal Team: Hitting a Grand Slam in 2015

For the fourth time in 2015, MoDocs’ legal defense team has gone to bat defending doctors in jury trials. On each occasion, their hard work and brilliant defense strategies have resulted in victories for our members. The grand finale came on October 22nd with a unanimous verdict from a Pike County jury. The plaintiffs in this case put on an extensive presentation, bringing in expert witnesses from all over the country and taking almost two weeks to present their case. Plaintiff’s counsel, Brown & Crouppen, who claim to be “the winningest law firm in Missouri,” demanded the jury award 5.9 million dollars in damages. The MoDocs defense team, headed up by Randy Bauman of the Bauman Law Firm in Chesterfield, presented the doctor’s case to the jury in a surgically crafted defense that shredded the plaintiffs claim, proving not only that our doctor did not fall below the standard of care but indeed provided good medical care. The result? It took the jury only 40 minutes to return a unanimous verdict in favor of our doctor. This case makes it a grand slam of four wins and no losses in 2015! Winning is nothing new to MoDocs’ defense team. With a success rate at trial well in excess of 90%, MoDocs insureds know they are in good hands with a legal team that is second to none. Obviously, all of us know that litigation is expensive. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on individual cases in order to bring to MoDocs’ members the highest quality legal defense and the best possible experts. More importantly, MoDocs recognizes that few...

Physicians wait for ACA’s Malpractice Impact

Doctors are waiting to see what the impact of the Affordable Care Act will be on malpractice rates. MoDocs was recently mentioned in the Medical Economics Magazine as continuing to be an affordable option for physicians: Weaver obtains his malpractice coverage through the nonprofit Missouri Doctors Mutual Insurance Company. “If I tried to get insurance through one of the bigger commercial groups the rates would be three to four times that. I know family docs paying $25,000 to $30,000 a year, without doing obstetrics,” he says. Read the full article in the Medical Economics Magazine here. Contact us at 800.264.5959 for a quote today!...

Non-Economic Damages In Medical Malpractice Lawsuits (Tort Reform in Missouri Part 3)

Our final look into the issue that is Tort Reform in Missouri comes from one of our own retained attorneys and frequent speaker at our Risk Management seminars, J. Thaddeus Eckenrode. On July 31, 2012 the Supreme Court of Missouri abolished “caps” on non-economic damages in cases brought under Missouri’s medical negligence statute, §538.210 RSMo.1 Non-economic damages generally include items like pain and suffering and emotional distress. The court’s ruling in Watts v. Cox Medical Centers, et al., may impact the cost of medical malpractice coverage and eventually its overall availability. Since the most recent tort reform legislation passed in 2005, plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases have been limited to a maximum recovery of $350,000 in total non-economic damages. This legislation has been hotly contested in Missouri courts since its passage. Missouri had a version of a “cap” in place prior to the 2005 revision, which was originally upheld as constitutional in 1992. That pre-tort reform cap started at $350,000 when enacted, but increased annually with economic escalators, and was applied on a per party, per occurrence (each act of negligence) basis, which allowed for extremely high, albeit “capped”, awards. The 2005 tort reform legislation closed those various loopholes, limiting verdicts consistently for the past six years. The Watts case was a medical malpractice suit against Cox Medical Center and its associated physicians alleging negligent prenatal care to Deborah Watts that caused catastrophic brain injuries to her son. The jury found in favor of Ms.Watts and awarded her $1.45 million in non-economic damages (as well as future medical expenses). Pursuant to Missouri’s 2005 tort reform statute, the trial court...

Medical Malpractice Insurance (Tort Reform in Missouri Part Two)

Today we will be discussing Tort Reform in Missouri and the impact it has had on Doctors in Missouri, specifically the cause of the escalation in medical malpractice insurance costs.  Dr. Hagen has been fighting to build tort reform policies in Missouri that benefit patients and the Doctors that treat them.  Medical malpractice insurance costs rise and fall due to many factors, one of those being litigation costs from frivolous lawsuits.  Again MoDocs believes the best way to combat frivolous lawsuits, medical negligence and  rising medical malpractice insurance costs is through continuing medical education by way of Risk Management. The following is a fairly dated article but details out nicely the impact Tort Reform has had on keeping and bringing Doctors to Missouri from BmcToday.net.   In 2003, medicine in Missouri was on life support. Physicians were leaving in droves to practice in states with affordable malpractice insurance and a less predatory tort bar. Despite seven medical schools in Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, few residents and fellows could afford to set up a practice in Missouri or to join state medical groups. Huge areas of the Show-Me State were left without neurosurgical or high-risk obstetrics coverage. This article reviews the enactment and effect of tort reform in Missouri and our related thoughts on health care reform at the national level. KANSAS VERSUS MISSOURI Many Missouri physicians headed west to Kansas in 2003. The contrast between the states is worth noting. Kansas politics are dominated by commercial and agricultural interests, and legislation is generally business friendly. The Kansas Trial Lawyers Association, the executive director/lobbyist of which from 1977 to...

Tort Reform in Missouri

Tort reform in Missouri has taken 2 very distinct sides.  Below is an article by Sarah Okeson viewing the victims rights side of tort reform in Missouri.  In next months news we will be featuring the Doctors perspective.  At MoDocs we obviously support a cap on non-economic damages through tort reform in Missouri but want our website readership to be well informed and able to see both sides of the problem.  This is not an issue that will be solved overnight and MoDocs firmly believes that the true solution to the problem lies in continuing medical education through Risk Management.   Naython Watts, now 5 years old, was born with catastrophic brain injuries at Cox South in November 2006 from what a Greene County jury later ruled was medical negligence. He will never be able to walk and has trouble feeding himself. The legal term for losses such as the pain and suffering Naython will experience during his life is “non-economic damages.” In 2005, then-Gov. Matt Blunt signed a law that limited such damages in medical malpractice cases in Missouri to $350,000 as part of what was billed as tort reform. The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out that limit in a case about Naython and the care his mother received while she was pregnant. The 4-3 ruling could affect patients statewide who are harmed by medical negligence and their families. It will not apply to cases where the patients die, which are still subject to caps imposed by the legislature. “It has an impact on people in the state of Missouri and maybe beyond the state of...
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