For the past couple years, our country has done a lot of talking about health care reform. Much of that centered on providing universal access to health care services. After that comes ways to reduce costs; pivotal to providing health care for everyone. Missing are serious discussions about Defensive Medicine and Tort Reform. It’s as though these items are off the table, presumably because reforming these elements would cut into the legislature’s fellow attorneys’ profits. Thin excuses are provided; such as statements claiming that unfettered civil suits are necessary to ensure that a patient is not violated — even when proposed reforms would not affect patients’ right to direct compensation for actual costs incurred. We at Medical Justice aren’t looking for immunity from civil recourse. We’re simply after reasonable limits, to eliminate the temptation to sue in hopes of receiving a jackpot award. When 3/4 of all medical malpractice suits are found to be baseless, it’s only right that doctors be relieved of the drains on time, energy and finances that defending against such frivolous cases require. But perhaps we’ve been using the wrong term. Rather than calling it Tort Reform, perhaps we should start asking for Health Justice.
In an article at the Center for Health Transformation website, Dr. Jeffrey Segal, founder of Medical Justice, suggests such a system; “if the medical record supports the doctor followed the standard of care, he would not be sued.” He notes that Senator Tom Daschle, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and President Obama all concur that “if a doctor follows clinical guidelines, he should have safe harbor immunity from litigation.” Almost everyone, including patients, agree with this idea. So why does Health Justice seem to be off the table? Would not a rose by any other…? Apparently not, at least not in Congress.
Let’s try demanding Health Justice instead of Tort Reform. That seems to be something Democrats, Republicans and even the Oval Office can get behind. Health Justice for everyone!