The doctor’s lobby says capping malpractice suits will make healthcare cheaper. I’m an M.D. and I don’t believe it!
By Rahul K. Parikh, M.D.
Oct. 28, 2009 |
Flu season has come early and I’m writing far too many prescriptions for Tamiflu. I’m trying my best to adhere to the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control for who should get the drug (kids under 5 years of age, or kids who have a chronic illness like asthma or diabetes). But in more than a few instances, I’ve ignored the guidelines and given Tamiflu to perfectly healthy kids with no risk factors for influenza-related complications.
Empirical research has found that there is little correlation between malpractice payouts and malpractice premiums. A study by researchers at the University of Texas, Columbia University and the University of Illinois based on closed claims compiled by the Texas Department of Insurance concluded that “the rapid changes in insurance premiums that sparked the crisis appear to reflect insurance market dynamics, largely disconnected from claim outcomes.”
THE SIXTH BIGGEST KILLER IN AMERICA
Preventable medical errors kill and seriously injure hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. Any discussion of medical negligence that does not involve preventable medical errors ignores this fundamental problem. While some interested parties would prefer to focus on doctor’s insurance premiums, health care costs, or alternative compensation systems—anything other than the negligence itself—reducing medical errors is the best way to address all the related problems. Preventing medical errors will lower health care costs, reduce doctors’ insurance premiums, and protect the health and well-being of patients.