The entire nation is still ablaze, talking about the healthcare reform bills. Some of the fire has been lost, owing to the way that things aren’t materializing in D.C., but the subject remains a hot topic. We within the medical profession engage loudly these days, and mostly in solidarity. The one point we’re most clear about is that any real reform MUST include a way to stop doctors from being sued just because people hope to score a jackpot judgment. We have talked about it, blogged about it, YouTube’d about it, Tweeted about it… but almost always to our peers, to each other.
It’s time to stop preaching to the choir. This message needs to get out further. Handing it to Washington, D.C. isn’t the answer. That’s already been done, and the politicians have largely – and conveniently – ignored it, (presumably because so many of their peers and cronies are lawyers making large bank on the problem.) The White House’s hand-picked, head-bobbing yes-men made their Dog & Pony Show appearance on the lawn, but nobody bought that one. What it’s going to take is for the everyman, our patients, to recognize how much those frivolous lawsuits are costing them, both financially and in terms of the quality of care we’re able to provide. Then perhaps their voices will rise up and Congress will have no choice but to address the issue.
We need to do our part to police ourselves and clean up our own act as well. Where excess is being charged to a patient or insurance company, we need to look at ways to eliminate or reduce that expense. A lot of defensive testing and the like won’t go away until the lawsuits stop, but there are places where we could trim the fat.
We can also take prophylactic steps to reduce our exposure to risks. Medical Justice is all about risk reduction — our members are far less likely to be sued. Less than 1 percent of Medical Justice Members are sued*. Non-members are exponentially higher. Lawyers know better than to file against a properly defended doctor’s office. Medical Justice provides the tools to keep malicious statements off the Internet, stops attorneys from filing frivolous cases, etc., and by poses a real-world threat of counterclaims, should someone push forward an unwarranted suit. Between them, they send a loud message to the greedy attorneys: Leave this doctor alone — there are easier marks to sue.
Spread the word. Let’s stop preaching to the choir and start taking our message to the congregation.
Maybe it’s time we put out emails or a brochures to our patients, making our case with them directly. It’s definitely time we spoke out loudly in the media, powerfully but reasonably demonstrating where the real problems lie. It’s no exaggeration to say that the health of the entire nation is at risk. That’s something definitely worth standing up and fighting for, don’t you agree?
*Members with full Medical Justice Protection