ACUTE CARE, INC. supports reform of Tort Law as outlined in the American College of Emergency Physicians’ (ACEP’s) policy statement:
ACEP endorses in principle federal laws, state legislation, or constitutional amendments to implement tort legal reforms, including but not limited to the following:
- Limitation of liability for non-economic damages;
- Holding judges accountable for the quality of scientific evidence presented in medical malpractice litigation;
- Joint and several liability;
- Recognition of collateral sources of compensation in granting awards;
- Structured payment systems for damage awards;
- Reduction of term length in statutes of limitation;
- Controls on attorney’s contingency fees;
- Qualifications for expert witnesses;
- Apologies without admissibility;
- Sovereign immunity for EMTALA required services;
- Recognition of local standards of care in rural areas;
- Immunity for following guidelines; and
- Pilot programs to study innovation such as health care courts and publishing expert witness opinions.
Research reveals that Tort Reform Influences Physician Supply.
States that enacted malpractice reforms saw an increased supply of physicians, according to a study in the June 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“Debates about medical malpractice have recurring themes, with tort reformers emphasizing the threat that liability crises pose to the cost and availability of medical services and tort defenders emphasizing the importance of liability to medical quality,” wrote the authors, led by Daniel P. Kessler, PhD, JD, of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, the Hoover Institution, and the National Bureau of Economic Research, all in Stanford, CA. Referring to malpractice crises, they added, “Even between such crises, however, malpractice climate remains one of many factors determining how many physicians enter the medical profession, what specialties they choose, and where they practice.”
Many believe that fear of malpractice lawsuits drives physicians to order otherwise unnecessary care and that legal reforms could reduce such wasteful spending. Emergency physicians practice in an information-poor, resource-rich environment that may lend itself to costly defensive practice. ACUTE CARE, INC. supports tort reform, as a means, to correct this problem.
Chief Operating Officer