Since summer 2013, various medical lobbying groups have spent over $1 million to influence the legislative process in Virginia regarding medical malpractice lawsuits.
Below is a list of total monies spent by medical lobbyists in Virginia in the last year:
- · VA Hospital and Healthcare Association – $474,963
· Medical Society of Virginia – $162,858
· Humana, Inc – $128,681
· Bon Secours Health System (Virginia) – $127,350
· VA Association of Health Plans – $100,355
· Hospital Corp of America – $86,947
· Inova Health System – $69,034
This money has been spent on activities that are designed to influence legislative voting. This spending raises some interesting questions: How much can lobbyists influence legislators to the detriment of families and patients?
Many experts in Virginia thing it is quite a lot. Also, some healthcare advocates say that medical lobbyists in the state are probably spending even more than the numbers above indicate. Virginia has rather loose restrictions on how much lobbying organizations must report, and many loopholes exist. Current law does not provide guidance on how lobbyist compensation should be calculated, which is usually the highest expense.
Compensation can range from providing the salary of a lobbyist, to listing part of the firm’s retainer, to parsing hours by narrowly defining the term ‘lobbying.’ This issue should be watched closely, because, as medical malpractice attorneys in Virginia, we know how patients’ and families rights can be affected by loose laws on medical malpractice.