Florida ruling affects concierge physicians nationally

A lawsuit filed against a medical service with practitioners in 41 states has returned a verdict against the company for $8.5 million. According to commentators, the malpractice award is the first of its kind involving this type of practice. In addition, the suit draws attention to the marketing and advertising practices of so-called concierge medical services, which frequently claim they offer access to superior medical care among other benefits.

The company, MDVIP, offers access to over 800 physicians nationwide. Patients pay a $1,500 annual membership fee in exchange for personalized care, same-day appointments and more available access to health care providers. The suit resulted from a case in which a patient’s condition was misdiagnosed repeatedly, leading to the amputation of one of her legs. Later she died due to complications from leukemia.

The company has stated it plans to appeal the verdict. The doctor involved had previously reached a private settlement with the patient’s family. However, the verdict has opened up concierge medical providers, who had previously claimed successfully that they were not liable for the standard of care provided by contracted physicians, to legal action for liability stemming from medical malpractice and negligence.

In cases concerning a doctor’s mistake, an attorney might begin by obtaining the medical records of the patient and examining the record of the physician for indications of past mishaps. The attorney may in some cases seek a settlement based upon the facts of the case and impact on the patient’s life, which might include pain and suffering, costs of rehabilitation and physical therapy, corrective procedures, lost wages and other recoverable damages. If those efforts are unsuccessful, the attorney might pursue the case in court to obtain fair and just compensation.

Source: Physicians News Digest, “MDVIP Becomes First Concierge Medicine Practice to Lose Medical Malpractice Case,” Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News, Feb. 13, 2015