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Florida medical malpractice settlement leads to bankruptcy filing

Medical malpractice suits can be damaging the reputations (many would say deservedly so) of medical professionals, private practices and healthcare facilities. In addition, such suits can have a serious impact on these entities' finances and ability to do business. Sometimes it can even drive them to bankruptcy. That was the case recently with a South Florida medical practice.

A man settled a lawsuit with the business, South Florida Multispecialty Associates, last month for $250,000. The specifics of the medical malpractice case were not reported. However, the plaintiff was representing his deceased wife.

In order to collect the judgment he won, the plaintiff was able to garnish the business's bank accounts. This action essentially froze them.

The initial settlement payment due to the plaintiff was $100,000. However, according to the case management summary, the practice had "difficulties" making that initial payment on the date it was due "as a result of the delay of receipt of a large payment due from one of the debtor's insurance providers for medical services rendered."

The medical practice, which has offices in Miami Beach as well as Aventura, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 12. In its filing, the business listed $6.2 million in accounts receivable and $2.6 million in unsecured claims. However, by taking this step, it is able to keep its bank accounts open so that it can continue to pay its 50 employees. These include seven physician partners.

Wanting to provide the best possible care to patients should be, and usually is, the prime motivator for those in the medical field to practice sound medical techniques. However, the threat of costly malpractice suits is certainly an added incentive. Florida patients have every right to expect the best possible care from their healthcare providers. When those providers fail in that duty, causing injury, illness or death, they can and should be held legally and financially accountable - regardless of the consequences.

Source: South Florida Business Journal, "Fifty-person medical practice files Chapter 11" Brian Bandell, Jun. 18, 2014

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