ROSEMONT, IL: The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has hired the GCI Group for a nationwide PR campaign to drum up support for medical liability reform at the state level.
The integrated effort will use the association's state societies to work to pass reform legislation in states where there are no effective laws to cap non-economic pain and suffering damages in medical liability lawsuits. Such laws, modeled after a California statute, would still allow patients to collect for economic losses due to injury caused by medical mistakes.
The liability crisis, caused by massive jury awards and ballooning insurance rates, has led to a shortage of specialists like orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, and obstetricians in many areas.
Many physicians groups, including the AAOS, are working on the issue on the federal level. But the severity of the crisis varies from state to state, a fact that has structured the AAOS campaign.
"We decided to use an approach where we provided the tools and training to all of our state societies so they would be able to manage the crisis within their states," said Sandra Gordon, AAOS director of public education and media relations. "They have the messages, ads, and PR counsel, but they can make changes."
GCI is working with sister advertising agency Grey Global Group and Grassroots Enterprise on the campaign
"The states have the opportunity to use the advertising," said AnnaMaria DeSalva, EVP of Healthcare North America for GCI. "They've got the ads, and we'll be supporting them at no cost to them to tailor them to place them locally. A challenge for the state societies is figuring out what resources they have and how to deploy them."