On Wednesday, February 16, the House Judiciary Committee approved a medical liability reform bill that would limit a plaintiff’s non-economic damages to $250,000. This vote comes at a time when tort reform has been in the spotlight as President Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget proposal included $250 million in grants over the next three years to fund state efforts to revamp their medical liability laws. These grants suggest that states enact reforms such as health courts, early disclosure protocols and safe harbors for providers who meet clinical guidelines.
The need to address the practice of defensive medicine is becoming increasingly important with the expansion of healthcare benefits to more and more Americans. In a study analyzing defensive imaging orders performed at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, researchers found that 38.7% of the MRIs ordered were ordered for defensive purposes and that MRIs constituted 48.5% of defensive orders totaling almost $96,000 and 84.6% of defensive costs. Furthermore the study revealed that defensive imaging was 58% greater among surgeons who had been named in a lawsuit in the previous five years.
The risks of practicing defensive medicine in an over litigious society carry numerous risks including health risks due to over-exposure to radiation, increased health costs, and decreased efficiency in the system.
For more information regarding healthcare litigation, please contact Robert S. Iwrey, Esq. at (734) 904-4865 or (212) 734-0128 or visit the HLP website.