Mom Rises Above Grief to Make Colorado a Safer Place

By all accounts Patricia Skolnik is an amazing mother and woman. In 2004, Ms. Skolnik lost her son, Michael, due to medical negligence. Despite her earth shattering grief, Ms. Skolnik was determined to ensure that Colorado citizens are protected from the very real possibility that either they or one of their family members may be affected by medical negligence. Ms. Skolnik founded Colorado Citizens for Accountability (“CCA”), a grass roots organization, to educate consumers, citizens and the media regarding medical negligence.

The following, taken from a recent article in the Denver Post, describes what steps CCA is taking to help protect consumers. You can also view the article in its entirety at Colorado Citizens for Accountability.

“In an effort to improve patient safety, CCA submitted House Bill 07-1331 to the State Legislature calling for the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners to make publicly available any malpractice claims against doctors practicing in Colorado. The bill would make available to the public all data relating to a doctor’s previous and current disciplinary actions in Colorado, as well as disciplinary actins taken in other states. The bill would finally allow patients to actively research their doctor’s disciplinary record, and make timely and informed decisions based on the information they find. By weeding out controversial medical practitioners, CCA hopes to dramatically improve patient safety for all Coloradans.”

“This measure protects Coloradans in two ways: it provides for an easy way to check on a doctor’s record of malpractice before trusting them with the health and well-being of a family member, and it would also keep doctors with highly suspect records from raising everyone’s malpractice premiums – and hence the cost of healthcare,'” said Patty Skolnik, Executive Director of Colorado Citizens for Accountability. “‘We always hear about the need to limit patient’s access to the courthouse when tragedies occur, but we never hear about the real problem causing healthcare costs to skyrocket – insurance industry price-gouging and irresponsible healthcare professionals allowed to continue practicing. By allowing patients to actively participate in choosing a competent doctor, we are giving them the same consumer rights as anyone buying a car would have. This is our health – and the health of our children – which is much more important than any product we’ll ever purchase.'”

“Called the ‘Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act’, the bill honors the memory of Patty’s son who died in 2004 after suffering three years from unnecessary brain surgery conducted by a neurosurgeon that has had multiple malpractice lawsuits against him in multiple states.”

The bill unanimously passed the House Health and Human Services Committee in an 11-0 vote on Thursday, March 22nd. Now it moves to the House Appropriations Committee. This committee will decide whether or not to move the bill and its required funding forward for a vote on the House floor.