Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Malpractice reform

How do you reform malpractice at the state level when the legislators are part-time and their "day job" is as tort lawyers? See this article form Illinois.

And this from RI:

AMA calls R.I. liability ‘crisis’ state
The American Medical Association has designated Rhode Island as medical liability “crisis” state, citing a “deteriorating” legal climate and a “growing threat of patients losing access to care.” Rhode Island joins 19 other states, including Massachusetts and Connecticut.

“Patients bear the brunt of the nation’s broken medical liability system,” said Dr. William G. Plested, an AMA trustee and former president who visited Providence on Monday. “The cost of unrestrained litigation not only jeopardizes patients’ access to physicians, hospitals and clinics, but also inflates the cost of medical services.”

The AMA classifies states as “OK,” “showing problem signs” or “in crisis” on the basis of three major factors, Plested said: how fast medical malpractice insurance premiums are rising, whether doctors say the costs are pushing them to move or retire, and whether doctors say they are limiting the services they offer to avoid liability.

Since 2002, malpractice insurance costs have risen 286 percent for hospitals, 200 percent for general practitioners, and 175 percent for surgeons, the Rhode Island Medical Society says. And a RIMS survey of local doctors found 47 percent were considering moving or leaving clinical practice, 41 percent were considering no longer performing certain procedures, and 71 percent had found it hard to recruit new doctors.

The numbers make it clear, RIMS president Dr. Fredric V. Christian said: The state’s medical liability system is “in desperate need of reform.”