Medical Malpractice Tort Reform: How to Reduce Extra Tests in the ER

Side Note: Medical malpractice tort reform is good at accomplishing a lot of things: it can help keep the cost of medical malpractice insurance lower for physicians, it can help reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits, and it can help reduce the number of extra tests that physicians order to protect themselves in case they are sued. It is this last item that we will be focusing on today.

A recent survey of 1800 emergency department physicians found that 44% thought that the biggest roadblock to cutting costs in the ER has to do with fear of lawsuits. Fifty-three percent of respondents said that they order the number of tests that they do out of a fear of being sued for med mal. Making matters worse, there is a shortage of specialists willing to consult in the ER. (Due to the fact that the ER often sees the most critically ill patients and there is often a good medical record lacking, more and more specialists are avoiding potential medical malpractice liability by refusing to consult on ER cases.) The article below details how good tort reform can help to cut costs in the ER. Specifically, the piece cites data from Texas pre- and post-medical malpractice tort reform.

Wondering if you might be able to pay less for your emergency physician medical malpractice insurance? Contact us today to see if we can help you.

Want to Cut Costs in the ER? Pass Medical Liability Reform
By: PR Newswire Association LLC
Posted: May 23, 2011

Emergency RoomWASHINGTON, May 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Nearly half (44 percent) of almost 1,800 emergency physicians responding to a poll report that the biggest challenge to cutting costs in the emergency department is the fear of lawsuits. Even more respondents (53 percent) said the main reason they conduct the number of tests they do is the fear of being sued.

“Medical liability reform is essential to meaningful health care reform,” said ACEP’s president, Sandra Schneider, MD, FACEP. “Without it, health care costs will continue to rise. Estimates on the costs of defensive medicine range from $60 billion to $151 billion per year. That dwarfs total expenditures on emergency care, which at $47.3 billion in 2008 represented just 2 percent of all health care spending.”

Read the Full Article

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