Cut malpractice costs with patient compensation

A no-fault, patient-compensation system resembling state workers' compensation plans could reduce medical malpractice while ensuring patients receive financial awards, the Morris News Service reported.

Such a system, proposed in Georgia, aims to curb avoidable healthcare costs due to defensive medicine among physicians, who rack up $15 billion annually in unnecessary tests and procedures, the article noted.

Under the patient-compensation system, doctors and hospitals in Georgia would compensate victims outside of court, while patients would resign their right to pain-and-suffering awards. An independent panel would determine patient compensation based on national guidelines for specific medical errors and injuries, the Morris News Service noted.

The system could cut back on malpractice-related costs with a quick, inexpensive system in which patients wouldn't need to hire a lawyer, according to Kelly McCutcheon, president of think tank Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

The James Madison Institute championed similar calls for a patient-compensation system in a 2011 report. The report claimed that having physicians and patients work together outside of the court could resolve malpractice issues sooner, as well as provide victims greater financial settlements.

In New York City, five hospitals are using judge-directed negotiations to cut medical malpractice costs. The three-year program involves revealing medical mistakes early, quickly offering settlements and using special state "health courts" in which judges help negotiate agreements before malpractice cases head to trial.

To learn more:
- here's the Morris News Service article