SCAHRM Quarterly Newsletter Article – April 2022

The Importance of Advocacy

by Cari Toneck, SCAHRM PR/Marketing Committee Chair
VP, Chief Compliance, and Risk Officer for Methodist Hospital of Southern California

Risk Leaders are in prime positions to provide information on the effects of legislative activity on the healthcare community.  We see both the benefits and harms created by the bills and case laws.  Few are more aware of the negative impact and unintended consequences of legislation than those who try to steer a healthcare entity away from these life sucking waters and into safe harbors that some legislation affords us to safely provide care to those we serve.

So, when dangerous bills are on the horizon, we should all be called to serve, to speak up, and inform those writing or voting for these pieces of legislation of the consequences of passing this measure.  Such is the case with another ballot initiative set to hit Californian’s in November.  Known as the Fairness for Injured Patients Act (FIPA), this initiative, sponsored by an out-of-state attorney, is an end-run around MICRA by creating a new category of injuries that are “indistinguishable” from other injuries and not currently recognized under California law.  As stated by the California Hospital Association (CHA),

This new “catastrophic injury” category does not include caps on non-economic damages set forth by the MICRA and eliminates caps on attorneys’ fees. This measure would essentially eliminate the attorneys’ fee cap on both non-economic and economic damages.  Bottom line: This initiative would obliterate existing safeguards for out-of-control medical lawsuits, resulting in skyrocketing health care costs and huge windfalls for attorneys who would get paid ahead of patients, with uncapped fees in this new category.

In 2014, our industry rallied to defeat a similar measure, Proposition 46.  This measure goes well beyond that.  In an effort to pool resources and standardize messaging within our ranks, a coalition has been created to protect MICRA.  Already, close to 400 organizations have signed up in support of defeating this measure.  Microsoft Word – MICRA Fact Sheet 2021.docx (

Our industry remains the most regulated in the United States.  I hope you will join the fight and help to prevent this measure from passing in November.  Write you legislature, comment on this at family events, educate your team members, and most importantly, get out the vote! Your advocacy efforts are important and valued.