February 17, 2010
From the Sacramento Bee.
There might be good reasons to consider changes in how malpractice suits are handled. But the idea that tort reform would significantly slow, or even alter, the trajectory of U.S. health care spending is not among them.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that tort reform could save $41 billion over the next decade, a figure now being touted by proponents.
To most of us, $41 billion is a lot of money. In the world of health care, it’s a tiny drop in a very large ocean. Between now and 2019, annual health care spending will increase by $2 trillion. Not to $2 trillion. It will grow by $2 trillion, from $2.5 trillion to about $4.5 trillion.
The projected savings from capping malpractice awards works out to a 2 percent reduction in what we otherwise would spend.
A Measly 2 percent!
Read the whole article/editorial here… http://www.sacbee.com/846/story/2542910.html
December 26, 2007
So no more lawsuits. That’s the idea here. See this post over at the Cerebral Palsy Law Blog. The idea is to have the docros and the patients agree ahead of time what an injury woudl be worth. It would be more like life insurance with a set payout instead of the legal system with it’s risk of a large verdict.
October 2, 2006
The Florida Supreme court has allowed lawyers in Florida to have their clients waive the constitutional limits on fees.
TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court has handed a final defeat to
doctors who fought for years to place stringent caps on attorney fees
in medical malpractice cases.
high court ruling late last week finalizes an earlier decision that
lets patients waive a constitutional limit on legal fees in medical
malpractice cases that voters approved two years ago.
response, the state’s largest medical group announced late last week it
would start arming doctors with their own forms for patients to sign
that would limit doctors’ legal risk if they’re sued.
Article Source: www.news-press.com
September 29, 2006
In Louisiana the cap on Medical Malpractice damages was set at $500,000 in 1975. Well the Louisiana Supreme Court has recently ruled that that amount ($500,000) in not adequate anymore. It is too low.
– Louisiana’s $500,000 cap on medical malpractice damages, set in
1975, is unconstitutional because it no longer provides an adequate
remedy to patients, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles has
ruled in a 3-2 decision.
A $500,000 award would be worth about
$160,000 today, the opinion, issued Wednesday, said. The court said
evidence indicates the cap would have to be raised to $1.6 million or
$1.7 million to provide the same protection as it did 31 years ago.
"In either case, we find the current $500,000 cap fails to provide an
adequate remedy to today’s severely injured plaintiffs, and thus, is
unconstitutional. ," the ruling says.
For the full story please see www.wwltv.com
September 25, 2006
In South Carolina a cap on malpractice verdicts went into effect about 1 year ago. Here is an article discussing when or whether doctor’s premiums will go down. Time will tell.
It’s been a little more than a year since the state cap on malpractice pay-outs took effect, but both supporters and opponents say it will be years before its impact is felt — if ever.
The law took effect in July 2005 and limits damages commonly known as pain and suffering to $350,000 per defendant and a total of $1.05 million if more than one provider is involved. It does not affect economic losses.
Supporters of the caps say they are needed to reduce high jury awards and frivolous lawsuits, which they say led to soaring malpractice premiums that have been driving doctors out of the profession.
Opponents say the premiums were so high to offset insurers’ investment losses, artificially low premiums offered to attract business in the 1990s, and other industry factors. They also say caps hurt those who’ve suffered legitimate injuries.
May 19, 2006
Wow. Even doctors have trouble getting the care they need.
It’s easy to imagine that doctors don’t get sick. Surely the hygienic shield of the sterile white coat guards them from ever having to put on the flapping gown and flimsy bracelet, climb meekly into the crisp bed and be at the mercy of the U.S. health-care system. And if somehow they did enter the hospital as a patient, physicians ought to have every advantage: an insider’s knowledge, access to top specialists, built-in second opinions, no waiting, no insane bureaucratic battles and no loss of identity or dignity when you turn into the "bilateral mastectomy in Room 402." But it doesn’t usually work that way. While doctors are often in a better position than most of us to spot the hazards in the hospital and the holes in their care, they can’t necessarily fix them. They can’t even avoid them when they become patients themselves. When Dr. Lisa Friedman felt the lump in her breast in the summer of 2001, she did–nothing. "I just sat on it," she says, "because I clicked into the mode of being physician, not patient, and I thought, ‘Most lumps are not cancer, I’ll just watch this.’" That was her first mistake.
By September Friedman had watched long enough. An internist in a practice that covers much of southern Wisconsin, she went to her radiology department to schedule a mammogram. The administrators turned her down: her HMO paid for routine mammograms every two years, and she’d had one 18 months before. "I said, ‘Wait a minute, I feel a lump. This is not routine.’ They still wouldn’t let me do it."
Read the rest of the Article at Time.
February 17, 2006
Give us Tort reform and we will lower the insurance premiums for doctors. That’s the party line from Insurance companies.
In Georgia, two groups, AARP and Georgiawatch apparently don’t believe that this idea worked.
Two groups now say a controversial tort reform law is a failure. This,
on the one-year anniversary of the law, which places a $350,000 cap on
malpractice pain and suffering awards, and makes it difficult to sue if
the malpractice takes place in an emergency room. Georgiawatch and the
AARP say the reform has not decreased doctors’ insurance premiums as
expected. And, the groups say it has made it it hard for people like
John Dinda, who almost died in an emergency room. "We called a lawyer
and basically he says forget it. You got no chance of doing anything,"
Dinda tells Channel 2 Action News. Senator Preston Smith, who sponsored
the bill, says seven new insurance companies are now underwriting
malpractice premiums because of the law, and he says, given time,
premiums will fall for doctors.
July 26, 2005
Say it isn’t so. Medical Malpractice insurance companies have raised premiums on doctors even though their own costs have risen along with inflation. It can’t be! Everyone knows that the insurance companies would never do that and that the only reason rates have gone up is because of lawsuits.
Well, here is yet another study showing that the reason for high medical malpractice premiums is NOT lawsuits.
[I]nsurance companies have been raising doctors’ premiums even though expenses related to claims have risen slowly, near medical inflation. The release of this report comes on the heels of another study co-released this month by a coalition of national consumer organizations, Falling Claims and Rising Premiums in the Medical Malpractice Insurance Industry, that reaches similar conclusions. That study, reported in the July 7, 2005, edition of the New York Times, sparked two state attorneys general and a state insurance commissioner to explicitly challenge the insurance industry’s excessive rate hikes for doctors.
Both studies support the conclusion that the reasons for the dramatic premium increases for doctors cannot be found in any sort of lawsuit "explosion" but must be found elsewhere — the business and accounting practices of the insurance industry. The "tort reform" remedy pushed by the insurance and medical lobbies is failing to do anything to help doctors with their insurance problems.
Source: Yahoo News
July 22, 2005
Fox News ran a story on July 13th about the dangers of "gag" orders in malpractice lawsuits. Some people in California want to make confidentiality agreements illegal. They have a point. In this case it appears that part of the agreement was to NOT report the medical malpractice claim to the state authorities.
Read the Story…FoxNews
Link to the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles
July 18, 2005
On Thursday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down a law that set an arbitrary cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. In this particular case, the court found that there was no rational basis for the cap that warranted taking away patients rights to compensation.
This case involved a young man who suffered a birth injury leaving him with partial paralysis and a deformed right arm.
You can read the opinion at the Wisconsin Supreme Court Website in both HTML (web browser) format or PDF (Adobe Acrobat format).
Adobe formatted opinion
Web browser Formatted Opinion