Poll Shows Georgia Doctors Favor New Medical Malpractice System

Patients for Fair Compensation recently conducted a poll of 330 Georgia physicians on whether they would support the creation of a new Patient Compensation System in cases of medical malpractice. According to the survey, 96 percent of Georgia doctors polled agreed a new system would reduce healthcare costs, and 95 percent said they would support legislation for implementing the system in Georgia were it to be pursued by the state legislature. Patients for Fair Compensation is a special interest group lobbying for reform of the nation’s medical malpractice legal system.

In cooperation with two state legislators in Florida, Patients for Fair Compensation got its Patient Compensation System introduced in the state legislature. Known legislatively as the Compensation for Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Arising Out of Medical Injury Act, or SB1588/HB1233, the legislation would address incidences of medical malpractice through an administrative—rather than litigious—process. Medical malpractice claims would be handled in a no-fault manner, more akin to Florida’s workers compensation system. According to Patients for Fair Compensation, the new system would be more fair than the present system, weeding out frivolous claims and compensating actual injured patients in a more timely fashion. The bills stalled in the last session of the Florida Legislature.

According to the Georgia survey, 90 percent of doctors reported that the Patient Compensation System favored by Patients for Fair Compensation would decrease the cost of medicine by removing the need to practice defensive medicine. The Georgia Supreme Court recently overturned the state’s cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.

Opponents of the Patient Compensation System proposed by Patients for Fair Compensation say that it’s no surprise that doctors favor a no-fault system. Without the threat of a lawsuit or blame should they make an error, there would be no check on their behavior.

Opponents also point to studies that show that while strict tort reforms—like those found in California and Texas—have decreased the cost of medical malpractice insurance, there is no evidence to show that the cost of healthcare has gone down.

Click here for a look at historic medical malpractice insurance rate data in Georgia.

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