Thursday, October 13, 2011

Report: Tort Reform Made Texas Healthcare Worse

According to the Austin American Statesman, a report, titled "A Failed Experiment," by Public Citizen "says the 2003 Texas law that limited damage awards in malpractice suits has caused health care spending to rise and has not significantly increased the number of doctors in Texas." While "Gov. Rick Perry has touted the benefits of the law," the report found "that, contrary to Perry's claims, the per capita increase in the number of doctors practicing in the state has been much slower since the state passed the so-called tort reform law than it was before the law." The report concludes "that using Texas as a model would benefit doctors and insurers - not residents."

The Fort Worth Star Telegram writes that the "report shows that healthcare costs and insurance premiums have continued to rise in Texas even more than the national average since the state's tort reform legislation, and that the number of uninsured Texans has continued to climb."  Still the report did find that medical malpractice insurance premiums as well as payments have decreased.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Doc's Reasons for Over-Treating Patients

In the NY Times "Well" blog, Pauline W. Chen, MD, discusses an Archives of Internal Medicine article which found that almost half of doctors "believed that patients in their practice were receiving too much care." Doctors pointed to three factors: "inadequate time allotted to patients led them to order more tests or refer to specialists," the fear of litigation or perception of "not doing enough," and "the current quality measures and clinical guidelines" that sometimes promote excessive testing, especially since "insurers are increasingly linking payment to these guidelines."