Curb Malpractice, Not Damage Awards
I read an interesting article this morning written by Robert E. Oshel, a former associate director of the Division of Practitioner Data Banks at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That division of the government has produced studies on malpractice payments. As always I hope this gives you something to think about.
From Mr. Oshel's perspective the solution to high malpractice premiums is less medical malpractice and not a limit on compensating injured patients. We have been saying that for years and it is nice to see others outside of the plaintiff's bar recognize the same issue.
One of the reasons behind his position is that studies from the Division have shown that the majority of dollars paid out for malpractice result from the negligent actions of a very small proportion of physicians who face multiple malpractice payments. The logic is to restrict the licensing of these physicians with a record of multiple malpractice awards.
The basis for the licensing restrictions will obviously be more complex, however, this looks like it may be a place to start. The theory is to get rid of the bad apples. We all know they exist in every profession. If we can do that it would not only help reduce premiums, more importantly it could save lives.