Can Georgia’s New Law Limit ACA Related Malpractice Claims?
Earlier this year, we took a look at how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may affect medical malpractice cases, citing the concerns over doctors seeing a much higher patient volume than in the past, leaving them potentially overwhelmed. According to various opponents of the ACA, the healthcare reform has not done anything to protect physicians and hospitals from potential malpractice claims or to deter the costs of defensive medicine.
According to a 2012 Oppenheim Research survey, 82% of Georgia physicians said they practice defensive medicine; meaning that many times they order costly x-rays, blood work, CT scans, prescription medications, ultrasounds and MRIs out of fear of lawsuits rather than just because it’s good patient care. In Georgia alone, defensive medicine costs up to $14 billion a year, a cost that could increase even more with the sudden influx of more patients.
If implemented, a new Georgia law called the Patients’ Compensation System (PCS) could save Georgia employers between $15 billion and $31 billion over 10 years in health insurance costs and save state taxpayers $7 billion over 10 years from insuring Medicaid patients and state employees, teachers and their dependents.
What a PCS would do is allow an injured patient to file an application asking for an investigation by an independent panel of medical experts to determine whether a medical injury occurred. If the independent panel finds it has, the patient would be eligible for compensation. This would work much like a worker’s compensation policy, and would not require taxpayer funding. It would instead be financed by health care professionals and facilities. Also, patients who have been injured would be compensated in a matter of months instead of years that it could take to receive their malpractice suit awards.
Many members of the healthcare industry are apprehensive and concerned about the rising costs of health care, and look forward to this state-based solution that can reduce health care costs, and facilitate justice to patients without raising the risk of physicians facing malpractice lawsuits.
It is important to note that there is no fool-proof way for your clients to prevent a Professional Liability claim, called Malpractice in the health care industry. At PLRisk Advisors, we provide Professional Liability, or Professional Liability, insurance products for a number of professions. We understand that running a professional services business exposes your clients to extraordinary liability risks, especially if they are in the medical field. To learn more about how we can assist your clients with their professional liability needs, please contact us at (855) 403-5982.