Friday, September 18, 2009

Malpractice 3

Criminal Cases Medical MalpracticeImage by baslow via Flickr

In today's CT Post, Robert A. Levine, MD writes an Op-Ed on health care reform and malpractice. I have to say that when I saw the headline I thought this was going to be another kill the lawyers piece that I see so often. Or maybe another Republican-like plan to restrict the amount of jury awards to people actually harmed by negligent care.
Instead, Dr. Levine presents a cogent argument about what is wrong with our current system and suggested objectives that any reform measure should include.
I would post a link to his article but unfortunately the publishers of the CT Post have never read "What Would Google Do?" (WWGD is a great book by Jeff Jarvis which would argue that the CT Post should put the whole content of the newspaper on-line for free - remember what has Google every charged you? ZERO).
Dr. Levine's five objectives in any system intended to address medical negligence and malpractice are:
  1. Decreasing the incidence of negligence and improving quality of care
  2. Properly and rationally compensating individuals who have been significantly injured as a result of negligence
  3. Removing incompetent physicians from patient care
  4. Punishing physicians guilty of negligence
  5. Having a process both patients and physicians believe is equitable.
As I've noted in previous blogs about malpractice a large problem isn't frivolous suits but negligent care. Dr. Levine notes that many who are seriously injured never receive any compensation because they don't file suit. Currently too many bad doctors, regardless of the specific profession continue to practice or shall I say malpractice.
Hopefully, any plan to come out of Congress doesn't just limit the amount paid out in malpractice cases for all that will do is ensure that some patients who really need compensation don't get it.

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