The May 10 Kaiser Daiily Health Policy Report reported on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (subscriber access only) on a Harvard study that concluded that 40% of medical malpractice claims were “groundless”.For the study, 1,452 claims that were resolved between 1984 and 2004. Of the patients who received injuries, 37% were not because of medical errors, and of those, 72% were resolved (dismissed, withdrawn, etc) without any payment. Yet, it appears, there were injuries in the course of care, and one wonders what if anything was done (monetary of otherwise).People sue when they are angry. People sue when they are frustrated. People leave your practice when they are frustrated. I’m blogged earlier (pre All Business days) about a group of anesthesiologists and nurse and anesthetists who didn’t take credit cards for payment. I’m dealing with one internal medicine practice in Charleston which doesn’t fax prescriptions to the mail order pharmacy. I offered to fill out the form, tape the prescription to the form, give the practice the toll-free number – but no, “we don’t do that anymore”. ……That was the reponse. I’d tell you the name of the large practice but the friend who uses them would kill me. (thanks – that’s out of my system!……until the next time I need a piece of paper put into a fax machine!!)
The caps of med mal non-economic damages – no, it’s not reform, it’s simply an aritificial, arbitrary cap – is probably dead on the federal level this year, and that’s probably a good thing. it’s an election year, so there is, and will be, lots of chafe out there. Let’s focus on real reform that will compensate those injured, an better yet, implement practices to prevent problems in the first place.