The health care reform law passed in March created a $50 million demonstration program to test alternatives to the current medical liability system. But reaction is mixed as to whether the new project will help fix what the physician and medical liability insurance communities view as a flawed and inefficient system.
Explore this issue:December 2010
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to award grants to states to develop, implement and evaluate different approaches to tort litigation. The projects must improve the availability of prompt and fair dispute resolution, encourage disclosure of medical errors, enhance patient safety and improve access to liability insurance.
American Medical Association (AMA) survey findings released in August indicate that, on average, 95 medical liability claims are filed for every 100 physicians. However, about 65 percent of claims against physicians are dropped, dismissed or withdrawn without payment, according to data from the Physician Insurers Association of America (PIAA). Physicians are found not negligent in more than 90 percent of the cases that do go to trial, and about $120,000 is spent defending those claims.