Monday, November 2, 2009

11/2/09 - ELECTION EDITION - Vote Joan Orie Melvin and PA Supreme Court

11/2/09 - Liability and Health News Update
ELECTION EDITION - Vote Joan Orie Melvin for PA Supreme Court

by Donna Baver Rovito, Editor, "Liability and Health News Update"
Author, "Pennsylvania's Disappearing Doctors"

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This LIABILITY UPDATE/Health Care Focus "newsletter" is a free service which I provide, as a volunteer, to help supply medical liability reform and other health care news and information, legislative updates, and political insight to physicians, patients, liability reform and quality health care advocates. NO ONE pays me to do this.

I am not employed by any physician or health care reform advocacy or liability reform organization, political party or candidate, although I volunteer for several. I am a quality health care, physician and patient advocate, breast cancer survivor, physician's spouse, journalist, political noisemaker, mom, and freelance writer. I am not nor will I ever claim to be unbiased, unlike many in the mainstream media.

Most information in this newsletter is copied and pasted from other sources, and will always be identified with links. Opinions and clarifications are my own, and do not reflect the official position of any physician or patient advocacy organization, tort reform, or health care reform group unless stated as such. My opinions are placed in double parentheses (("my opinion")), italicized and appear in blue. This Update is emailed to health professionals, physician and patient advocates, and others interested in ensuring access to quality medical care. It also appears on the following BLOG:

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Tomorrow's Election for PA Supreme Court is KEY to the fight for quality health care in PA.

Joan Orie Melvin is the judge we can count on to be fair to PA's physicians and other health care providers, and to not legislate from the Bench to benefit a special interest group. Her opponent, on the other hand, has been the recipient of over a million dollars in personal injury lawyer money - and support like that doesn't come without a price tag....

Make sure to vote for Joan Orie Melvin for PA Supreme Court tomorrow. Make sure to ask everyone ELSE you know to do the same.

Send emails, make some phone calls, stand at the polls for a little extra time to pass out palm cards.

Turnout will be LOW across the state, so each and every vote counts MORE than usual. The candidate whose supporters turn out to vote will win.

I know Joan, I admire her, and I trust her. Please support her in any way you can.

Donna Baver Rovito

You can help keep Joan's commercials on the air by going to - this is the quickest way to help Joan's campaign.


From a politically active Pennsylvania physician:

Please get out the vote!

Tuesday November 3rd is election Day and Pennsylvania doctors need to get out the vote for this crucial (low turn out) Judicial Election. Following is text you can include on Palm Cards with Judicial candidates doctors support to forward to your doctors for their colleagues, staff, friends and families.

PA doctors' hard work and good intentions to improve patient care in Pennsylvania are ultimately ineffective if physicians cannot put the right candidates in office to execute those policies. Please see below for background information on the candidates

With the challenges ahead, we also have many opportunities.

A PA cardiologist

((Sending this out without the doc's name attached was MY choice....You can copy and paste the information below into a word processing program and print off extra copies to pass out in your office, at the polls, etc.))


Protect Patient Care in Pennsylvania:

On November 3, Election Day, please consider voting for:

Supreme Court:
Judge Joan Orie Melvin

Superior Court:
Judge Judith Olson
Templeton Smith

Commonwealth Court:
Kevin Brobson

…fair minded, who show they understand issues affecting physicians and patients.


PA's Family of Medicine supports Judge Joan Orie Melvin for PA Supreme Court

Judge Joan Orie Melvin - supported by health care professionals AND major newspapers

Judge Joan Orie Melvin has been supported by Pennsylvania's family of medicine since her first run for PA Supreme Court in 2003, and she is not only supported, but endorsed by the PA Medical Society's political action committee PAMPAC.

Superior Court Judge Joan Orie Melvin comes from a family of physicians, and as such, has a unique and compassionate perspective about the practice of medicine in Pennsylvania. Many PA physicians and other health care advocates believe that her record is consistent with supporters of quality medicine in PA, and that she would help to protect patient care in Pennsylvania if elected.

But WE NEED YOUR HELP to make sure she wins.

Why worry about who's on the Supreme Court?

The PA Supreme Court, as PA's highest court, is the final word in our state's court system. It can be called upon to review legislation as well as medical liability cases, and in recent years, many cases which could impact medical care in PA have been decided by a 5-4 majority. However, the "balance of power" on the PA Supreme Court is in danger of shifting with this election.

As Judge Orie Melvin's opponent, Jack Panella, has the overwhelming support of the trial bar (their $500,000 contribution, donated under a different name, has helped him to generate almost three times the money Joan has raised), we can be reasonably certain that the balance of power on the Supreme Court would shift in favor or personal injury lawyers for many years if Panella wins next Tuesday.

What can you do to help ensure Judge Orie Melvin's election?

Getting out the vote is the single most important factor in an off-year election. Since fewer people are motivated to vote when there aren't "big ticket" candidates on the ballot, each motivated voter becomes even MORE important. Voter turnout is expected to be quite low throughout the state - so YOUR vote is worth so much more.

*** MAKE SURE to make time to vote on Tuesday. Encourage your family and friends to do the same.

*** Make sure YOUR STAFF has adequate time to vote - don't make them wait until after work.

*** TALK to your colleagues, patients and everyone else you know to urge them to vote for Judge Orie Melvin. People care what you think - so tell them you think they should vote for Joan for Supreme Court.

*** SEND OUT AN EMAIL to people on your email list asking for them to make the effort to vote for her on Tuesday.
*** Put campaign materials in your office - I've attached a palm card sheet which can be cut into four pieces, to pass out in your office or at the polls. Plan on spending a half hour after you've voted to pass out the cards before you leave your polling place. Ask your husband, wife, office manager, etc., do to the same.

*** When you go to vote (carrying your Joan Orie Melvin palm cards so that everyone can see them) wear your white coat or scrubs.

*** PLEASE DONATE to Joan's campaign - Jack Panella's trial lawyer supporters have helped him to raise almost a million dollars, outraising Joan by almost four times. It's vitally important that we raise additional funds for Joan RIGHT NOW, today, as Panella's people are running some horrible TV commercials which need to be answered and we MUST get Joan's name out there as much as possible in the last days of the campaign.

You can help keep Joan's commercials on the air by going to - this is the quickest way to help Joan's campaign.

Download a print friendly version of our
contribution form here, using Acrobat Reader.

Please make checks payable to Judge Joan Orie Melvin for Supreme Court and send to: 717 N Second St, Harrisburg, PA 17102.

If possible, PLEASE DO THIS TODAY, and if you live outside of Central PA, please overnight your most generous contribution. Corporate contributions are not allowed.

In addition to Judge Orie Melvin, PA's health care professionals also support Judge Judith Olson and Templeton Smith for PA Superior Court, and Kevin Brobson for PA Commonwealth Court.


From the President of the Keystone Chapter of the American College of Surgeons:

Friends and Colleagues,

Tomorrow's judicial elections may be one of the most historically significant elections in the current lifetime of practicing physicians. We stand to lose even the smallest gains we have achieved in patient / physician friendly jurisprudence.
I strongly urge you to get out and vote. Please take some time tonight and call friends, family, neighbors and urge them to participate tomorrow. We can help shape a judicial branch which will uphold laws favoring patient advocacy, physician retention and recruitment, and physician reimbursement negotiation rights.
"Throwing in the towel" is not an option! GET OUT THE VOTE!!

Thanks for the privilege of serving you.
Collin L. Myers M.D., FACS
President, Keystone ACS


From Albert El-Roeiy, MD

Dear Colleagues:

We recognize that life is so very busy, and like you, family and professional commitments are our key priorities. In that regard it is extremely important that we continue to strengthen our commitment to the future of medicine in PA, as our quality of professional life and health care of our patients depend upon federal and state support.

With this in mind, Tuesday, November 3rd, election day, is a pivotal day in the future of medicine in PA. The Republican candidacy for PA Supreme Court, Judge Joan Orie Melvin, has presented a track record of physician advocacy. Coming from a family of physicians, Judge Melvin understands personally the challenges facing medical professionals practicing in PA. Unlike her opponent who is considerably funded by trial lawyers organized under the guise of the “Committee for a Better Tomorrow”, Joan is committed to the future of medicine in PA.

As many of you know, the political credibility of the medical community in PA reached a high point with the election of Justice Michael Eakin to the PA Supreme Court in 2001. That election placed a tort reform willing, and health care supportive Justice on the court and has had influenced our currently existing tort reforms, including venue reform, for which the PA Supreme Court has been the final reviewing authority. Many in PA political circles perceived that this 2001 election finally demonstrated that physicians and health care professionals are interested in the political process, for which they received well deserved credit in this election for their support and for "turning out the vote."

The 2009 PA Supreme Court general election can be a similar election. Unlike the MCARE abatement drive, which would only boast limited impact on current government spending, the outcome of this election stands to have a direct impact on all future government spending and financial allocations. Only one of the candidates for the PA Supreme Court, Judge Joan Orie Melvin, is tort reform willing and physician friendly as evidenced by her rulings on the PA Superior Court. She is a strong believer in the rule of the PA Constitution, and does not seek to legislate from the Bench. She is the daughter of and sibling of physicians in Allegheny County. She is also a compelling speaker, and happens to be the sister of Sen. Jane Orie, the Majority Whip of the PA Senate. Judge Melvin is the obvious choice to promote healthcare reform in PA.

The balance of care friendly vs. trial bar at stake in this year's PA Supreme Court election. We are asking for your assistance to once again “turn out the vote” and rally support for the election of Judge Joan Orie Melvin to the PA Supreme Court.

Tuesday’s election is not expected to have a large turnout therefore it is imperative that you vote and that you advocate to get the vote out amongst friends, family and colleagues. This can be achieved by allowing you and your staff adequate time to vote, urging your patients and their friends and families to vote, or by sending a reminder email to everyone on your contact list.

It is imperative that this election positions a physician advocate in the PA Supreme Court; an official that supports tort reform and review of medical liability claims. Joan, is a revolutionary whose priority is the state of the future of medicine in PA; whose priority is the health of all citizens in PA. Please make time to vote and to vote for the future of PA…

Enclosed please find a file with names of candidates supported by the Pennsylvania Medical Society for the upcoming election.

Please let me know what you think ….
Warmest Regards
Albert El-Roeiy M.D., MBA


Pittsburgh Tribune Review
For Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Elect Joan Orie Melvin
Sunday, November 1, 2009

Unlike some, we don't think the deciding factor in elevating Joan Orie Melvin to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court should be her gender. How revolting that is, especially in this supposedly post-gender society that social elites claim they embrace.

What we do care about is legal acumen, temperament and moxie. And on all three counts, Judge Orie Melvin of Marshall, a Republican and a state Superior Court judge since 1997, is the best choice for the state's highest court.

Orie Melvin's opponent, fellow Superior Court Judge Jack Panella, a Democrat of Easton, talks a pretty good game. But then he decided to go "negative" in his sanctioned campaign ads. How odd, considering the Panella campaign's huge money advantage and his standing in the polls.

But Orie Melvin went "negative," too, you retort. In defense, folks, in defense.

The state Supreme Court has been in the Democrats' control since 2007. An Orie Melvin win would return it to Republican control just in time for any necessary adjudication of the coming redistricting. And that would be a welcome check and balance to a Pennsylvania Democratic Party convinced its star is rising.

Elect Joan Orie Melvin to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.


((From a friend at the state GOP office - although I think it's important to note that Supreme Court Justices, although they RUN with political labels attached to them because that's our system, do not RULE based on political party - or, at least, they're not SUPPOSED to. What that means is that, due to her longtime experience, legal acumen, and unique understanding of what it takes to be a doctor in Pennsylvania, Joan Orie Melvin is a good choice for Republicans, Democrats and Independents for PA Supreme Court. Keep in mind that her opponent is STRONGLY SUPPORTED by PA's personal injury lawyers, which I hear gave him AN ADDITIONAL half a million dollars last week....))


As Chairman Gleason has been preaching, this election is going to come down to turnout, turnout, turnout! The party that turns out more supporters for their candidate will win on Tuesday.

That is why we need to make every effort to take a few hours out of our busy days and make some voter contacts on behalf of Judge Joan Orie Melvin and our statewide and local Republican candidates.

Attached is a phone script you can use to remind your friends and family to vote for our Republican ticket on Tuesday, November 3, 2009. Call friends, family and all of the people on your Christmas list and remind them to vote for Joan Orie Melvin. Used the attached sample email and blast it out to your contact list. Post the sample social networking message we have drafted on your Facebook, MySpace or Twitter accounts. The bottom line is that it only takes a few hours or even minutes of volunteering in a race like this to make a big impact. According to our turnout model, a vote in 2009 is three times more powerful than a vote in 2008!

We are in the 4th quarter of this election and the ball is on the 5 yard line! Judge Joan Orie Melvin has the ball and it is our job to block for her so she can punch it in the end zone.

Folks can contribute online:

Sample email for family and friends:

Dear Friends,
I wanted to take a minute to talk to you about the election being held this Tuesday. Odd-year elections don’t typically get the media attention they deserve and that is why I am writing you this letter.

For the past year, I have been working tirelessly on behalf of Supreme Court candidate Judge Joan Orie Melvin, someone I know to be of the highest character, ethics and a person who shares our strong Pennsylvania values. She is exactly the type of person that we need to elect to public office.
The other Republican candidates in this year’s judicial elections are all highly qualified and either “Highly Recommended” or “Recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar association. Please take this letter to the polls on Tuesday, November 3rd and vote for the following candidates:

For Supreme Court:
Judge Joan Orie Melvin

For Superior Court:
Judge Judy Olson
Temp Smith
Sallie Mundy
Judge Paula Ott

For Commonwealth Court:
Judge Patricia A. McCullogh
Kevin Brobson

The balance of power in our courts is on the line in this election. For that reason it is absolutely critical that we elect these candidates on Tuesday, November 3rd.

Sample Facebook-Twitter Message:
Vote for Joan Orie Melvin for Supreme Court, Vote for Olson, Mundy, Smith and Ott for Superior Court and Vote for McCullough and Brobson for Commonwealth Court.


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