Smart Caps –Smart Idea?

Side Note: As we all know, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) did not have a whole lot of med mal reform in it. The very thoughtful paper below discusses at length the many issues related to health care reform and med mal reform. We here at are not sure that we agree with everything in it, but it does discuss a very interesting concept in the field of liability reform, the “smart cap.”

Currently, a majority of states have caps on med mal damages. However, the amount of the caps is not consistent from state to state. But, the way in which the caps are applied is consistent. Currently caps are applied equally among all physicians that fall under them. The paper below proposes an idea to change this. They propose a smart cap. A smart cap would adjust depending on a physician’s documented behavior. If a physician demonstrates “good” behavior by disclosing the error, making an apology, following established clinical guidelines, etc, his or her damages would be capped by the court. If the physician demonstrated “bad” behavior, by trying to hide the error, etc he or she could have his or her cap raised.

Is this a good idea? We’re not sure. While we like the idea of rewarding physicians for practicing good medicine, it seems like it would be very complicated to define this in every clinical situation clearly.

We here at understand that you care about your patients and your practice and that you work hard to minimize errors and your med mal liability exposure. No one wants to think about liability insurance more than they have to. Get piece of mind knowing that you purchased the best liability coverage at the best price by working with us at

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Do Health Reform and Malpractice Reform Fit Together?
By David Hyman, William M. Sage | AEI Online
(April 01, 2011)

A frequent claim among critics of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is that they would have been more likely to support “real health care reform” if it included malpractice reform. Indeed, many Republicans argued that health care spending and defensive medicine could be controlled only if the PPACA included comprehensive malpractice reform. House minority leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) offered a health reform bill in the fall of 2009 that included a series of conventional restrictions on lawsuits, including a one-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims involving adult patients (with a longer and more complicated period for claims involving children), a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages recoverable from all sources for the same injury, and a sliding-scale limit on lawyers’ contingent fees, with a maximum of 15 percent of any amount recovered in excess of $600,000.

Read the Summary
Read the Full Paper

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