Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Still more on S33/Med Mal

Kevin Pho of with a brief post noting medical malpractice reform in return for less pay. The comments to his post are interesting (you should follow him on twitter if you are interested in medical malpractice @kevinmd). Kevin has written a lot about medical malpractice, and thinks it is a big problem but is not a big fan of damage caps (like those envisioned in S33 in North Carolina), instead preferring medical courts.

In the comments section of my post yesterday on medical malpractice, a comment says:

"We need to distinguish clearly between two kinds of reforms: a jury of experts rather than peers to determine guilt, and reforms on the awards permitted for malpractice verdicts. Perhaps the experts, following clear rules, should decide the size of the award but not guilt?"

You could imagine a variety of reforms, including ones that kept citizen juries in a portion of the process and others that were totally expert-driven. You could also imagine a system in which a lawsuit was not needed to obtain money for needed medical care, which would allow the malpractice system of whatever design to focus on remediation and attempts to prevent future injuries. There are a lot of interesting and plausible alternatives, but one gets the feeling that the writers of S33 haven't thought far afield on the issue of medical malpractice, and especially haven't thought of how this issue is related to the overall health care system and need to improve quality and reduce errors. That is disappointing.

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