Medical Liability Law Reform

The laws designed to regulate medical liability, fail to serve their purpose. Ultimately the policies should produce top quality physicians and satisfied and healthy patients. While the American health care system as whole has it’s bad points, there are some states that manage to produce successful policies that have lead to low premiums for doctors and even lower rats of medical malpractice. Currently The Ohio State Medical Association endorses a system that if adopted by the rest of the country could resolve the Health care industries problems with medical liability.

The current medical liability system fails both doctors and patients. As Kapp notes by not fully protecting doctors and charging them high premiums, they are less likely to provide patients with the care they need. This is best seen in the example of the nursing homes, when Kapp notes that, “Research has found that nursing home residents today are both acutely and chronically sicker than in the past. In addition, surveys have shown that physicians are reluctant to get involved with the treatment of residents in nursing homes because of legal liability issues (Kapp, 2009).

” Physicians are not hesitant without reason, as they risk being sued for hefty sums if they are accused of medical malpractice. As Kapp notes even in nursing homes where Doctors are least responsible for the injuries and health problems induced by patients, they risk the most scrutiny, “most lawsuits related to medical torts in nursing homes are brought against the physician instead of the nursing home. One reason is that many states have passed laws that make it more difficult to file lawsuits against nursing homes (Kapp,2009).

” This system of blaming the doctor is not without it’s positives though Kapp goes on to note that “Positive consequences may include greater attention to care, greater respect for nursing home residents’ rights and better documentation of the services provided to nursing home residents. Negative consequences may include increased focus on risk management instead of treatment. In addition, physicians may be deterred from providing care to nursing home residents altogether (Kapp, 2009). ” The issues in nursing homes is just an accelerated version of what’s happing nationwide.

In order to resolve this issue it can not simply be handled through torts and revisions to the law but through implementing an entirely new method of handling medical liability for the best doctors in the United States. On April 23, PRNewswire published an article on The Ohio State Medical Association and their endorsement of The Doctors Company. One of the largest national providers of medical liability insurance for physicians and surgeons, the program allowed for discounted premiums exclusive to OSMA members.

In addition to the discount, “The Doctors Company offers a combination of coverage features, aggressive claims handling, and educational resources. In addition to participation in its multiyear dividend program and free CME, members insured with The Doctors Company are eligible to participate in the Tribute(R) Plan, a financial award that rewards physicians for their loyalty to The Doctors Company and their dedication to practicing good medicine (PRNewswire, 2009).

” Prior to establishing this program, the article notes that the Ohio premiums had increased by 30 percent in 2002, and it was through 20 tort reforms that OSMA was able to decrease the premiums by 20 percent. They also noted that during this time there was a 34percent decrease in medical liability lawsuits. The regional vice president of underwriting for The Doctors Company “We appreciate that the OSMA recognizes The Doctors Company’s long-standing commitment to the Ohio physician marketplace.

With the largest professional liability staff dedicated exclusively to the state’s physicians, we deliver unparalleled service, aggressive legal defense, and member benefits no other insurer can match (PRNewswire, 2009)” Here we see the director is boasting, but I propose s plan very similar to what the OSMA setup, only with even lower premiums and higher expectations of excellence. The first priority is making sure doctors are elite and operating at the top of their profession.

I propose a system that counters the effects of corrupt practices by medical liability insurance providers, as well as the other pitfalls that can occur for doctors and their patients. This system is largely based on the nursing home examples in the Kapp article. “According to Marshall B. Kapp, there should be reform of the tort liability system as it pertains to medical care received in nursing homes so physicians are not reluctant to treat patients in nursing homes and injured residents receive fair compensation for their injuries (Kapp, 2009).

” This is absolutely right, but it doesn’t just apply to nursing homes but to the everyday American health care system as well. Physicians need to feel free to practice as they perceive best serves the purpose at hand, and not in fear of malpractice suites. In order for them to do this, I propose that a system be adopted very similar to the OSMA program. This will involve a doctor patient privilege not allotted to the bulk of the medical industry but to the doctors who have proven worthy of the benefits.

Very similar to the OSMA system, doctors will have to apply for consideration for the program, once in they will be closely monitored to make sure their level of skill and integrity stay firm with the standard of the system. They will also be provided with seminars and resources to further their learning and perfect their practice. This system can be likened to an insurance company that has many strict rules and requirements but very low premiums. By minimizing the risk of malpractice for this group of individuals, there will be less cost to cover on the back end.

The ultimate goal of this nationwide program will be to expand and loosen up the requirements for doctors to be accepted. This can only be done once the furthering of education benefits within the system prove to be exceptionally helpful to physicians. In sum, through implementing a system very similar to what Ohio has done to counter the pitfalls of medical liability, doctors who best deserve it, the one’s who provide the most efficient care can be given the support they need to continue practicing verses being condemned for their accomplishments.

Likewise, there can be incentive for Doctors to further their education in the medical profession and better their craft. The long run for programs like this, as OSMA has proven, is extremely low premiums and a decrease in medical liability. The irony of programs like these is that they will benefit on the very fact that they are not the only route in dealing with medical liability, but that they allow the cream of the health care industry to rise to the top through healthy competition and solid work. Work Cited Collins Survey.

(2009). “Medical Liability Insurers Express Short-Term Optimism, but Long-Term Concern for Competitive Pressures”; Medical Liability Insurance Networking Forum; Ohio State Medical Association Kapp, B. Marshall. (2009). “Malpractice liability for nursing homes and physicians” The Liability Environment For Physicians Providing Nursing Home Medical Care: Does It Make a Difference For Residents? Health Law Week 31 Pr Newswire. (2009). OSMA Gives “The Doctors Company Exclusive Endorsement” Ohio State Medical Association