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maveric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 03:12 AM
Original message
Would you sacrifice malpractice lawsuits for universal healthcare?
What if that was the option for our lawmakers? Or a national ballot initiative?
Would you sign off your right to sue a bad doctor or to sue for negligence, etc... if free universal healthcare were offered?
The abolition of malpractice insurance would bring down the costs and could possibly make UHC feasable.
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Sandpiper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 03:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. Only if Doctors starting drumming
malpractioners out of their profession, rather than protecting them.
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Sugarbleus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 03:30 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Very Well Said Sand...
It would be irresponsible to allow "BAD" docs just get away with lousy medicines. Truly, if the medical profession could police it's own ranks, then I'd say yes to the UHC proposal in this thread.
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GemMom Donating Member (281 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 03:31 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. Or how about the .........
hospitals that often protect them? I don't see it being the job of other doctors to get rid of those who malpractice?
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atre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 03:47 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. State medical boards
are typically charged with regulating their own ranks with a licensing system. I do not know much about how they actually accomplish that regulation, so I won't comment further on that issue. The legal profession is analogous: they are self-regulated through state bar associations, which can grant, deny, suspend, or revoke law licenses.

You do make a very valid point that hospitals bear a good deal of responsibility for failing to effectively supervise their doctors. Many are actually trying to use legal loopholes (the independent contractor exception, for example) to avoid liability for what their doctors do to patients.
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FlaGranny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. Some 20 or so years ago, some medical
transcriptionists (myself included) were instrumental in removing a sweet, elderly physician from the hospital staff. We noticed that he was "losing" it, was coming up with really weird stuff in his dictation that had nothing to do with patient hospital records. We reported him to our supervisor, she verified what we reported, and took the "proof" to administration. He was watched, interviewed, and advised to retire, which he did. We really liked that old guy, but he was becoming a danger to his patients.

I also know of several other doctors who were "fired," but last I heard they just went somewhere else. That's a big problem. A buddy gives them a recommendation and they end of endangering a new set of patients.

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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 03:29 AM
Response to Original message
2. Well to begin with
you have to be able to have been treated to sue for malpractice.
If you are not treated, you die. If you are middle-class and lower you don't get treated.
In France, UHC some things happen and Docs get punished, not by money but by prison.
In France, Doctors still make house calls. If you are rich you can go to the American Hospital in Neuilly and a friend lived across the street from the morgue exit. Ari Onassis (Jackie Kennedy's husband at the time) was hauled out in a herse, saw it. Everybody has to go sometime.
You can also go to 'non-conventiones' hospitals like the British Hospital (i.e., not completely covered by UHC but covered 90%) for a small fee.
America spends much more for health care per capita than any other civilized nation and ranks 37th in wellness and health: infant mortality is way over that of other industrialized nations; you go to the hospital for a serious illness and you don't lose your home to pay for it, etc.
You propose a false dilemma.
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atre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 03:30 AM
Response to Original message
4. You're making a pretty big assumption
Edited on Sat Feb-14-04 03:34 AM by atre
That assumption is that the malpractice verdicts are signficantly impacting malpractice insurance premiums. You'd be wrong about that assumption.

Allow me to explain. Insurance companies do not just stuff the insurance premiums they receive under a mattress. They invest the premiums. When the economy is doing well, their extra investment income allows them to reduce insurance premiums. When the economy is not doing well, they have to pass on their investment failures to their customers in the form of higher premiums.

Studies have born out the fact that insurance premiums have a statistically significant correlation to the economy (specifically the stock market) and a statistically insignificant corellation to agreggate malpractice verdicts. If this thread continues, I will go dig them up, if necessary.

On the topic of reducing health costs to effect UHC, there are more reasonable solutions, I think. How about eliminating prescription drug advertising (if not for that First Amendment and the new commercial speech doctrine), reducing the length of drug patents, streamlining the FDA process? Here's another good one: Break the A.M.A.'s lock on medical schools- FORBID them from capping the number of available spots in medical schools? I can guarantee you that would lower medical costs.

Maybe UHC is cheaper on the whole than PHC, anyway. There are also studies to the effect that implementation of UHC would help reduce health care costs. Under the current system, hospitals are statutorily forbidden from turning down emergency patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Once they've been stabilized, however, the hospital can and will simply release them, without actually treating the condition. This system has been criticized as cost-inefficient for two main reasons: 1) the hospitals typically cannot collect from the uninsured for these medical costs, so the costs are passed on to other patients in the form of higher med. costs; 2) this system does not require hospitals to practice preventative health care, which some have suggested is cheaper and more effective than the system we currently have.
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GemMom Donating Member (281 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 03:34 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Interesting.......
Break the A.M.A.'s lock on medical schools- FORBID them from capping the number of available spots in medical schools?

Thank you for mentioning that - I didn't really realize that situation existed. Yes, I agree. Open the doors to as many students as the individual school can support.
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smaug Donating Member (146 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 05:06 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. I'd like references to those studies
Studies have born out the fact that insurance premiums have a statistically significant correlation to the economy (specifically the stock market) and a statistically insignificant corellation to agreggate malpractice verdicts. If this thread continues, I will go dig them up, if necessary

I'd like references to those; I'm always in arguments with Rethugs who argue that we don't want UHC; then they complain about their health insurance premiums in the next breath!
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 03:37 AM
Response to Original message
7. In the UK they sacrifice malpractice suits and have UHC and...
it's a false dichotomy. The endure a ton of medical negligence, which is not necessary.
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burrowowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 03:43 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. The UK has adopted a partial HMO system
Edited on Sat Feb-14-04 03:45 AM by burrowowl
and now that the EU exists, they parasite the French and German health systems by sending their patients to them. The UK is not an example, they ape the U$ hoping to regain or bask in the Empire's lost glory. Also of note, the UK's capitalists own much of the U$.
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xxqqqzme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 05:25 AM
Response to Original message
11. no...no...no....no
and neither should U. This is de-regulation of medical practice. It is your ONLY safeguard. Why would anyone even entertain this thought?
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radfringe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 05:37 AM
Response to Original message
12. capping lawsuits won't stop/curb the "problem"
lawsuits are only ONE part of the 'problem'

the other parts are insurance companies continuing to provide mal-practice coverage to doctors and other medical professionals who have established a 'history' of mal-practice suits -- insurance companies should be setting a limit on how many times they would cover/settle these suits and then cancel the coverage when that limit is reached on that particular medical professional.

every lawsuit that is settled/awarded ends up increasing medical costs across the board -- risk pooling or share the liability

limiting the amount of awards will more likely increase the number of lawsuits -- a lawyer would have to have two or three times the number of active cases. let's say a lawyer now makes $50k average on a lawsuit, the award limits go into effect and now the lawyer is only making $10k per case... to maintain his previous fee level, he would have to take on 5 new cases....

AMA and states continue to license/certify medical professionals that have developed a history of malproactice -- again some sort of limit should be in place that will yank the licenses when the limit is reached

yes I know that there are people out there that would sue at the drop of a hat -- but most people end up sueing because they get the runaround and it leaves them with no other recourse but to sue. up until the point that a person starts contacting lawyers - they are pretty much left on their own to resolve their complaint. A community 'omnibudsmen' organization to deal with medical issues may help resolve the complaint and avoid going to court

in 'blaming' it all on lawsuits is just like blaming it all on people... hey if people didn't sue then the costs wouldn't go up, it's their own fault ( sheesh :eyes: )

briefly:

1. Insurance companies/medical licensing boards need to set limits, and yank coverage/licenses when that limit is reached

2. Community medical advocacy centers to help people resolve their complaints, assist them in getting the answers/results.

3. Clearing house for law suits -- call it a pre-review to determine the merits of the case. A board - made up of a doctor, nurse, lawyer, specialist in the particular medical field that the lawsuit targets, medical advocate, couple of people from outside of the medical/legal field.

the board would review the case to determine the merits and would recommend whether or not it should be pursued in court or suggest alternate options for resolution.



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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 05:51 AM
Response to Original message
13. false dilemma: there's no reason why we can't or shouldn't have both.
with UHC there can still be malpractice, and we want to be protected from that, don't we?
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davsand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
14. Malpractice suits are about all that protect us currently.
I'd never tell consumers to waive that right. Nor would I support tort reform that limits damages.

State agencies and the medical profession cover each other in way too many cases. Frankly, I think that there are several problem areas right now that need t be addressed and THEN you will see the malpractice issue become less critical:

One major fix would be to prohibit "gag orders" on settlements. Currently, there are "gag orders" contained in many of the malpractice settlements. Those orders effectively prohibit anyone from disclosing details about the case. We have a right to know this stuff.

I know a Doc who was working in a free clinic when a prostitute came in for treatment of an STD. She was given a scrip for oral antibiotics and was told how important it was to be sure and return in 24 hours for the culture results to be sure the antibiotics were going to be effective. She never came back, and it turned out that her particular bacterial strain was resistant to the drugs they gave her.

She sued for malpractice, claiming she'd been left sterile by a Doctor's error. Now, bear in mind that she'd had this same disease more than 12 times in the previous couple years, and it was impossible to determine when the damage actually occurred.

The Doc's insurance company chose to settle with her rather than take it to court. They wrote her a check for thousands of dollars and raised his insurance fees--all with a gag order in place so nobody can make this info public.

Frankly, I want to know the nature of the malpractice suits my doc gets hit with. I see it as vastly different if he's screwing up diagnosis or sewing retractors into patients -v- a patient not following treatment as prescribed or not even bothering to take the meds as directed. Without knowing the details of the cases (within limits) we can't make informed decisions as consumers.

I think docs should be required to post information about the number of malpractice cases they have been hit with IN THE WAITING ROOM! You can bet the number of patients would soon drop off in offices where Docs have been sued repeatedly for the same kind of treatment errors. Again, this is prohibited by gag orders currently.

I think that as a consumer you should be able to access all the info about your Doc and how many cases he's been sued for and what the nature of every complaint was.

Just my two cents.

Laura
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Peregrine Donating Member (712 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
15. As long as there is an independent review board
to evaluate complaints and fine, suspend, or expell doctors. This board cannot be part of the AMA.
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PA Democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
17. This is a False Choice
Medical malpractice costs account for less than 1% of health care costs.

Check out Americans for Insurance Reform 2002 statistics.

http://www.insurance-reform.org/pr/AIRhealthcosts.pdf
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maveric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. Then what else could be trimmed to make UHC affordable?
"Medical malpractice costs account for less than 1% of health care costs."
What can be cut or modified? Where is there waste in the system that can be done away with?
The repubs that I know tell me that UHC is not fiscally feasable and malpractice lawyers are the reason.
For an arguing point, what could make UHC a reality.
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Kanary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. The waste is in the insurance industry.
Try checking into how much $$ is spent with repetitive paperwork, and paying for all those beancounters who deny you treatment.

The repubs you know probably think big business is fine, and "creates jobs". An argument could be made that health care is one place big business does NOT belong.

If you want effective arguments for your repub friends, try researching medical threads by Silverhair... he detailed all that goes into the insurance end of it.

Kanary
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Hamlette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
18. Do it like workers compensation
simple, no questions about liability, you get treated with an unexpected result and a workers compensation like insurance will pay for your expenses: medical and time off work and a small amount for permanent injury.

Of course workers comp only works because we have OSHA. All work related injuries are sent to OSHA for investigation. We'd need something like that too.

It's not perfect but it is a good model.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
19. Just proved false in Texas!
One of the recent constitutional amendments voted in (at a special election--would probably have failed if on the November ballot)--limited awards for malpractice. The promise: malpractice insurance costs will go down!

Wrong. Malpractice insurance continues to go up. However, the insurance companies who contribute so much money to Governor Goodhair (aka Tom Delay's Bitch) are very happy.


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