According to a new national Gallup survey of physicians, defensive medicine accounts for 26 percent of the nation’s healthcare costs–one in four dollars. Using the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate of our healthcare at $2.5 trillion, defensive medicine drains some $650 billion per year out of the healthcare system.
Calculating 2 years at this rate shows the total amount surpassing the budget alloted to healthcare reform.
“Doctors order unnecessary medical care because they are in fear that one mistake could wipe out everything they’ve ever worked for,” says Richard Jackson, chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare. “If we eliminate defensive medicine, we can make healthcare more affordable for everyone.”
Seventy-three percent of the surveyed physicians admitted to practicing some form of defensive medicine over the past 12 months.
What we should be learning from this is that healthcare reform can not be successful without tort reform. You cannot just tell physicians to stop ordering tests when the lawyers are looking over the shoulder and asking why a particular test was not done. “Financial consideration” does not hold up as a defense in court.
Instead of fervently changing the structure of how medicine is meted out in this buy inhalers for asthma buy ventolin online europe online country, we should be drastically overhauling how liability is viewed.
Rather than the current malpractice structure, I propose the following.
For the healthcare provider:
- If a physician makes a mistake in diagnosis or judgement-make retraining in that ailment a criteria for continued practice
- If a physician is found to be totally incompetent, remove the state license
For the injured party:
- If the person can no longer perform particular job functions, spend the money training that individual for a different occupation
- If that person can no longer perform life functions, pay for the nursing or rehabilitative care needed (subtracting what social services, medicare,medicaid and current insurance will be subsidizing)
- For pain and suffering- while it is tragic, no amount of money is going to take away the pain, so why award it?
Tragedy should not be the ticket to winning the lottery and should not be viewed as such. Until the legislature made up predominantly with lawyers, are willing to revamp the legal system,( and take their hands out of their pockets) we will be going in circles to change the cost of medical care.