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Professional Liability: ERISA's Shield Continues to Erode

Professional Liability: ERISA's Shield Continues to Erode


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by Karla Kinderman, J.D., L.L.M.
For decades, because courts have broadly interpreted the preemption clause in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. Section 1001, et seq, a majority of employer-sponsored health plans have been ?off the hook? for negligent medical necessity determinations that resulted in or contributed to patient harm and even death. ERISA, a federal law enacted in 1974 to streamline the administration of employee benefits, preempts or supercedes all state laws that ?relate to? employee benefit plans, including employer-sponsored health plans.