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Efforts at Tort Reform Continue to Spur Debate, But Providing Quality Health Care Doesn't Cost Anything Says Nexus Insurance Services

09-30-2011 08:48 AM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: Nexus Insurance Services

Efforts at Tort Reform Continue to Spur Debate, But Providing

Efforts at medical malpractice tort reform still continue to spur debate and controversy among politicians and the health care community. The Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011 (H.R. 5), which was introduced early this year would put a limit on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims, shorten the statute of limitations, and restrict liability in cases involving unsafe drugs and medical devices.

There are many people who have opposed malpractice tort reform saying that reform only benefits insurance companies and medical professionals. The belief is that depriving a person’s right to sue a negligent health care provider will only decrease the quality of care and ultimately drive up the cost of medical errors. Those who support H.R. 5 say that the bill will prevent the abuse of medical lawsuits and excessive awards.

The Court of Appeal of the State of California, 5th Appellate District, recently upheld the state's $250,000 noneconomic damages cap, which stemmed from a case in which a jury awarded a widow $1 million in economic damages and $6 million in noneconomic damages in a medical malpractice case.

The court said, “...the statute does not violate equal protection rights because the Legislature rationally could conclude a medical malpractice crisis existed that required legislative intervention to reduce medical malpractice insurance costs, and that [MICRA] is rationally related to the cost-reduction goal.”

“While imposing caps on damages may prevent the abuse of lawsuits, there has not been conclusive evidence that malpractice caps have driven down the cost of health care,” says Michael Kataf of Nexus Insurance Services. “Our medical malpractice insurance focuses on educating health care providers about preventing lawsuits through providing quality health care and making a personal connection with each patient. There have been studies showing that doctors and physicians who are sincere about taking care of people are less likely to be sued.”

There have been various studies conducted to indicate the importance of owning up to medical errors. In 2001, the University of Michigan Health System launched a program encouraging health workers to report medical mistakes. The result was a reduction in the number of lawsuits and other compensation claims, a faster resolution of disputes and lowered legal costs overall. The monthly rate for new claims fell from just over seven per 100,000 patient encounters to 4.52 per 100,000, or 36%, and the average cost for lawsuits that were filed decreased, from nearly $406,000 to $228,000.

“What lawmakers fail to realize is that quality health care doesn’t cost anything but time on the part of medical professionals,” says Kataf. “Time spent with patients can make a huge impact on keeping costs low. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

To share your opinion about tort reform, join the Nexus Insurance Services community on Facebook:

About Nexus Insurance Services

Nexus Insurance Services is a professional insurance broker that has helped many doctors, lawyers, realtors, and business owners gain access to insurance providers for their practice or business. The company's mission is to be a firm that brings real value to clients, builds personal relationships on top of business ones, and always conducts itself with sincerity, integrity and fairness. Because of the relationships with many providers, the company is able to shop a client's application around to get the best rates. Contact Nexus Insurance for a free, no obligation quote for medical malpractice insurance, professional liability insurance, or workers compensation insurance. For more information, visit:

Michael Kataf
Nexus Insurance Services
15 Edelweiss
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Phone: 800-459-3353
Fax: 888-600-6280

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