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The Other Reason Why Medical Malpractice Reform Is Critical

Fri, 11/13/2009 - 12:23pm

By: Dr. Val
Published:

There hasn’t been much discussion about serious tort reform in the current healthcare reform debate. That’s probably because most policy experts don’t believe it will make a significant dent in healthcare costs. I happen to believe that tort reform would be a huge boon for healthcare (just ask Ob/Gyns in Texas) and save a lot in defensive medicine practices and unnecessary testing, but even if I’m wrong and it wouldn’t result in cost-savings, there’s another issue at play: access to primary care physicians.

We all agree that we’re in the midst of a major shortage in primary care physicians. Many different solutions have been proposed - everything from “let the nurses do it” to forgiving medical school loans to physicians who choose primary care as a career. However, solving the PCP shortage isn’t just about recruitment, it’s about retention. And with up to a half of PCPs saying that practice conditions are so unbearable they’re planning to quit in the next 2 years -- Houston, we have a problem.

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