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Malpractice Reform: Payments To Victims Not A System-Drain

When legislators, politicians and lobbyists talk about "medical malpractice reform," they usually have in mind strict limits on the amount of money that hospitals and doctors have to pay to compensate victims. In many states, these "reform" efforts result in caps on recovery. Victims who suffer medical malpractice-related injuries in those states after a doctor's mistake can only recover as much as the statute allows.

This creates a big risk that victims will wind up unable to receive the full amount to which they would otherwise be entitled. 

According to a new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University, one of the major justifications for "medical malpractice reform" does not actually exist. This study concluded that malpractice payments are rarely frivolous and big judgments are not damaging the health care system. So-called "catastrophic claims" that result in payments of $1 million or more are generally well justified by the victim's injuries and future needs. These claims involve serious cases like malpractice-related wrongful death lawsuits.

This is just one more example of research that undermines the health care industry's aggressive attempts to protect itself from liability for its mistakes.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Medical Malpractice Payouts Not Driving Up Health Costs: Study," May 8, 2013 

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