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The Medical Malpractice Crisis Myth Continues to be Debunked

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A new report from Health Care Finance News continues to debunk the myth promulgated by insurance companies and their “paid-for” politicians that the nation is in a medical malpractice crisis.

From the outset, the states that fewer medical malpractice payments were made on behalf of doctors in 2009 than any year on record, according to the National Practitioner Data Bank which contains information about doctors and other health care practitioners who have had medical malpractice suits filed or adverse action taken against them

This finding contradicts claims that medical malpractice litigation is to blame for the rising cost of healthcare. According to the article

Last year was the fifth consecutive year that the number of payments has fallen and the sixth straight year in which the value of payments has fallen, according to the analysis. In contrast, U.S. healthcare costs have increased every year since 1965, the first year the data was recorded.

When I hear the propaganda cries from politicians serving their insurance corporate benefactors I continue to think of Abraham Lincoln’s statement that "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

Tort reform is anything but conservative. It simply allows government to take over the jury system and arbitrarily set amounts to benefit their biggest campaign donors. I always imagine a cross between Mr. T and Spock stating that “I pity the fool who doesn’t use logic.”

4 Comments

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  1. Jim O'Hare AIC AIS VP med mal claims says:
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    I have been a med mal claims guy since 1985 and survived many attempts at reform. What usually happens is that the same deck of cards are shuffled, and play a different game of Rummy.

    It is a good market for insurance with alot more carriers trying to make money, maybe some of the reforms have helped. The cost of litigation and the amount of money that injured plaintiffs get needs to be shifted to the plaintiff. Making the pot of gold bigger and bigger ignores the problem that the allocation of monies and timing of settlements should be the focus.

    For the one subjective cause of action, pain and suffering, we need a cap. you pick the number, one that is good for both sides. Then tell me how you measure pain. Is it by the pound of length? This is why it is needed. No rational science behind it.

    The med mal problem and how do we fix it:

    – get more of the indemnity to the injured . They only get 40% on a cases total cost. Sliding fees ?
    – mandatory insurance for docs, you need it to drive! No policy /no patients.
    – Cap on pain and suffering awards, you pick the amount. You cant measure nor weigh pain by $’s.
    – Loser of the case pays the costs of the other party. If the case is good, take it. If you don’t , it must have been marginal to begin with.
    – Structured settlements for all settlements over $500k- it helps everyone.
    – Presuit affidavits from experts re liability, causation and damages. mandatory mediations.
    – Arbitration – a jury of peers. Still your day in court, just a different forum.
    – In court, a jury of peers , docs dont get them, how about a minimum of a bachelor degree to sit. Juries that understand will yield a higher degree of fairness. We want that right?

    Please remember caps are usually discussed for the one cause of action, not the whole case. Loss on earnings past and future, and medical expenses can be measured. Pain – its the angels on the head of a pin argument. I have more great ideas, but lets be honest, there is too much money involved and nobody wants change, unless it is to increase the size of the prize.

    Jim O’Hare VP med mal claims PIC florida

  2. Bob says:
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    Jim O’Hare and PIC Florida apparently value quality of life only by the earnings of a person. I guess if you are retired or an stay-home mother, your injury doesn’t deserve much compensation.

  3. Mike Bryant says:
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    Kids and stay at home moms , sorry not important to society. He wants to control the way the money is paid and once it’s paid what can be done with it. It brings Deny, Defend, Delay to a whole new level. For no problem at all. Claims are down.

  4. Bob says:
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    “For no problem at all. Claims are down.”

    But there is no evidence that actual malpractice is down, so there is a problem — a tremendous amount of malpractice, most of which is not compensated.

    The Institute of Medicine estimates that there are almost 100,000 deaths a year from malpractice. Yet in 2009 there were only 3,537 malpractice payments for cases involving death according to NPDB data.

    The real problem isn’t too many malpractice claims or payments; it is too much malpractice!

    Physicians should be working to reduce malpractice rather than trying to limit their liability to the people they injure or kill.