Write initial discussion post:
A number of states are looking to institute caps on non-economic damages for doctors in medical liability lawsuits in order to reduce insurance premiums. Based on what you’ve learned in this module (as well as the links below), do you think that this is a good idea?
Please explain in two or more paragraphs. As required for all discussion questions, your response must be referenced and supported.
Malpractice and Premium Costs Respond to Post 1:
Placing caps (tort reform, personal-injury law) on non-economic damages (suffering, loss of limb, pain, loss of companionship) for doctors in medical liability lawsuits in order to reduce medical coverage insurance premiums is not accurate to state, as the cost of healthcare is not driven by litigation (Figman, n.d.). Medical liability makes up 2-2.5 percent of total health care spending (NPR, 2017). Caps are often associated with “high-stakes” malpractice cases, thus have minimal effect (Cowdin, 2018).
Healthcare costs are a result of medical error and economics of the health care market (Figman, n.d.). A very small percentage of health care cost is associated with malpractice suites. Tort reform can also include limits to the Statute of Limitations. All this leads to additional harm to patients and greater protections for doctors (Figman, n.d.).
The court system acts as a general deterrent for physicians, attorneys assist with separating valid malpractice claims from illegitimate ones, and liability insurance protects physicians from bankruptcy (Cowdin, 2018). This leads to the practice of “defensive medicine”, which is when tests and procedures are ordered out of fear of being sued. The patient then pays the additional costs for these tests and procedures.
In addition, any increases to malpractice insurance premiums are passed on to the patient (Cowdin, 2018).H.R. 1215, Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017 passed in the house of representatives and was threatening to place federal standards on tort law, an area the states traditional determined the rules for (NPR, 2017).
Proponents of the bill were stating health care cost savings through the reduction of medical liability insurance premiums costs, thus perhaps less “defensive medicine.” However, H.R. 1215 was stating a $250,000 cap in cases for example of a loss of a limb (115th Congress, 2017). Currently, there are 35 states with caps on non-economic damages malpractice cases.Respectfully,
Theresa115th Congress (2017).
- House of Representatives 1215-Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1215/textCowdin, J. & Lindley, T. (2018).
- A New Medical Malpractice Tort System: It’s Time to Prioritize the Patient. Brigham Young University Prelaw Review, 32(24), 161-177. Retrieved from https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1282&context=byuplrFigman, A. (n.d.).
- The Fallacies of Medial Malpractice “Tort Reform”. Cardozo Law, Yeshiva University. Retrieved from https://cardozo.yu.edu/sites/default/files/Figman.FallaciesOfMedMalTortReform.pdf Andrews, M. (2017).
- This GOP Health Bill Proposes New Limits To Medical Malpractice Awards. Kaiser Health News via National Public Radio. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/06/28/534465478/this-gop-health-bill-proposes-new-limits-to-medical-malpractice-awards
Malpractice and Premium Costs Respond to post 2:
Medical Malpractice falls in to three categories. Those categories encompass several different categories of error.
Failure to Diagnose, which is failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of a medical illness.
Delayed Diagnosis, which is a misdiagnosis changed to a correct diagnosis
Failure to Treat, which is correctly diagnosis, but failing to treat (Ryskamp, 2019).
Texas malpractice damages are broken down into different categories:
Economic damages, which is a repayment for medical bills and lost wages for missed work.
Non-economic damages, which is payment for pain and suffering
Punitive damages, which punish the provider
There is a $250,000 cap on doctors and healthcare providers and a $250,000 cap on each hospital. The cap for all non-economic damages is $500,000 (Ryskamp, D 2019).Yes, I believe that it is a good idea to have caps on non-economic damages. Texas voters approved Proposition 12 in 2003, which allowed caps to be placed on damages. To be considered a malpractice claim, they have to be considered negligence.
When a doctor does not follow the standard of care, they are considered negligent. This is where quality measures become beneficial. Providers who practice the standards of care have patients that are more likely to have positive outcomes. There has been found to be a relationship between an increase in hospital performance and a decrease in malpractice claims (Becker, 2015). Uncapped damages increase malpractice costs for all providers, which that cost is then placed on the consumer.
Beckers (2015). Quality improvement efforts reduce malpractice claims, researcher finds. Retrieved September 12, 2014 from: beckershospitalreview.com
Ryskamp, D (2019). Texas Medical Malpractice Laws & Statutory Rules. Retrieved Septemper 12, 2019 from alllow.com
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