Tag Archives: emergency medicine

Emergency Med Mal Coverage as It Relates to ER Visits

Physician Holding ChartWow. According to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control, it looks like visits to the emergency department were up by 13 million from 2008 to 2009. Why you may ask? Or, actually, as a physician, you probably wouldn’t ask…you already know why. Yes, fear of medical liability and having to use one’s emergency med mal coverage is the reason. And, according to another study mentioned in the same article, admissions were up, too.

In our medically litigious society, all physicians have it tough, but emergency room docs have it especially tough. They get it from all sides and, understandably, their fear of medical liability is high. Often times, they are flying blind, without a patient’s medical history, often with very few details of how the current situation came to be, and little time to act. And, add to that the potential for a patient’s primary care or other physician who may be called first by the patient and is then, out of their fear of potential medical liability, simply sent to the emergency room. Finally, also add the emergency room physician’s own fears of litigation (and having to use his or her emergency med mal coverage) if a patient is wrongly discharged. Thus, it’s easy to see why emergency departments visits and admissions are up. As a result, like all of us here at MyMedicalMalpracticeInsurance.com, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is calling for medical liability reform to reduce the high rate and cost of ED visits and admissions. A nice side-effect of this could be to lower the cost of emergency med mal coverage for physicians. But, will anyone answer the call? To reduce the practice of defensive medicine is no easy task (without implementing massive, large-scale liability reform) and we don’t have the answers.

If you are an emergency department physician and would like to save on your emergency med mal coverage, contact us today.

Liability in the ER

Side Note: ER physicians, like all physicians, don’t want to have to use their physician liability coverage. But, would you like your emergency room physician not only thinking about how to save your life but also thinking about how to cover himself in case you decide to sue him at the same time? No, I wouldn’t either. While I generally love the idea of multitasking, this is one case where I don’t.

In a recent study of 1800 emergency room physicians, more than half of them said that they order extra tests out of a fear of being sued. But, who could blame them? The emergency room is a unique place: it often sees the most critically ill patients and often medical records and/or histories are not immediately available for those patients, thus making the chances of an error occurring significantly higher. And, as a result, this has impacted the availability of on-call specialists in the emergency department. Many specialists are now refusing to be on call in the ER or consult on ER patients –thus potentially upping the medical liability for emergency room physicians even further. For a nice discussion of the study and information on how medical malpractice tort reform could help, read on for details.

Would you like us to see if we can lower your Emergency Physician liability rates? See if MyMedicalMalpracticeInsurance.com can help you today.

Want to Cut Costs in the ER? Pass Medical Liability Reform
By: PR Newswire Association LLC
From: InsuranceNewsNet.com
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.”

Here you can see the article.