Emergency Physican Advocacy Alert
The Honorable Phil Gingrey, MD, U.S. House of Representatives introduced H.R. 5, the “Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011.” The bi-partisan bill, introduced by Representatives Phil Gingrey, MD (R-GA), David Scott (D-GA), and Lamar Smith (R-TX) includes reforms to help repair the nation’s medical liability system, reduce the growth of health care costs, and preserve patients’ access to medical care. Click here to view bill H.R. 5.
The American College of Emergency Physicians, and 100 other state and national medical societies co-signed a letter on January 25, 2011 commending Congressman Gingrey for his commitment to improve our nation’s medical liability system. Click here to view this letter.
Liability costs affect everyone and have a demonstrated limiting effect on access to specialty care in the ED. Ohio ACEP will be acknowledging our chapter’s support of the HEALTH Act of 2011 through letters to Ohio’s Congressional delegation. The Ohio ACEP Board of Directors and Government Affairs Chair, Dr. Catherine Marco, encourage you to contact your Representative in Congress and note your support for the HEALTH Act of 2011.
Medical Liability Reform Talking Points:
Liability pressure increases health system costs through its impact on defensive medicine.
Reforms work! The state of Texas is a model of reform for the nation with a 2003 law that has drawn more emergency and critical care physicians to the state and improved patient safety. In fact, in Texas, physicians liability rates have been cut by an average of 27%. The state has experienced a statewide increase in all physicians.
- Despite the promise shown by earlier legislative reform with the leveling out of medical malpractice premiums, the 2009 Ohio Department of Insurance Medical Liability Closed Claim data report shows emergency medicine remains the 3rd most sued specialty in Ohio, likely due to the unique environment in which they practice, making life and death decisions, often without access to critical medical information. 85% of these cases were closed without indemnity, showing a vast over-litigation rate for our specialty.
- Patient access to care is affected by liability concerns. Other specialists providing essential on-call services to emergency patients are often in critically short supply, due largely to increased liability exposure, higher liability premiums and reduced reimbursements for providing emergency care.