ACP Supports Health Courts
Side Note: Because the American College of Physicians (ACP) realizes, like most of us, that federal caps on med mal non-economic damage awards are unlikely to become a reality for physicians in the near future, they are presenting an alternative plan to lower liability coverage costs: the use of health courts –although no legislation has been introduced yet. Such courts would be used in lieu of the traditional med mal trial court system currently in place. Health courts are intended to expedite the med mal lawsuit process and to save everyone, especially physicians, significant time and money. The ACP envisions the courts having a judge assisted by neutral advisers and requiring that most cases be filed within three years of the med mal injury. The liability cases would be decided by judges based primarily on whether or not the physician adhered to medical standards.
It is thought that a more efficient and balanced med mal system would 1) reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits and 2) cut costs in several additional ways. First, shorter med mal cases would mean less lawsuit expenses. Second, a more streamlined med mal system would reduce the threat and toll of lawsuits, allowing physicians to finally stop practicing defensive medicine –again reducing costs by eliminating unnecessary tests, etc. And, ultimately, all of this would lead to lower liability premiums. At MyMedicalMalpracticeInsurance we are interested in saving physicians money and we support reasonable and appropriate attempts to lower med-mal costs and allow physicians to practice medicine in a less threatening, less litigious environment.
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Internist Group Endorses Health Courts
By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
Published: January 28, 2011
WASHINGTON — The American College of Physicians (ACP) is pushing for legislation that would give federal assistance to states that pilot “health courts” as an alternative to taking medical malpractice cases to court.
The ACP’s senior vice president of public affairs, Bob Doherty, said that although some members of Congress are supporting liability reform legislation that puts a cap on noneconomic damage awards, the ACP recognizes passing such legislation is unlikely. So, the group is offering up a Plan B: health courts — although no health courts legislation has yet been introduced.
Health courts would put a judge in charge of deciding medical liability cases, assisted by neutral advisers. Health court judges would decide cases based in part on whether the physician in question adhered to medical standards. Proponents of health courts say they would save the healthcare system money by offering fast resolutions to lawsuits, rather than forcing a long and expensive trial.