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Legislation Could Replace Malpractice System, Cut Costs

Mon, 01/09/2012 - 7:48am

PRNewswire/ -- Patients for Fair Compensation today applauded Florida lawmakers for sponsoring proposed legislation that aims to replace the current malpractice litigation system and eliminate up to $40 billion per year in medical costs for Florida. Senate Bill 1588/House Bill 1233 would address malpractice compensation claims through an administrative - rather than litigious - process.

"The current medical liability system isn't working for patients or physicians. It is adversarial, expensive and inefficient," said Representative Jimmy Patronis. "Legislative action in 2012 is essential to protect Florida's patients and reduce unnecessary healthcare costs." The bill would replace the current medical liability system with one legally modeled after the Workers' Compensation System, Proponents feel it could discourage the practice of defensive medicine and improve overall care. The proposed legislation in support of a Patients' Compensation System could:

  • Utilize a no-fault, state-driven approach modeled after the legal precedent of the Workers' Compensation System.
  • Lower healthcare costs by reducing the incidence of unnecessary tests and procedures currently ordered by providers seeking to protect themselves from potential lawsuits. This form of "defensive medicine" is estimated to cost the Florida healthcare system as much as $40 billion a year.
  • Improve quality of patient medical care by establishing a system that realigns incentives toward patient safety and a reduction in medical errors, while assuring all patient complaints are heard and quickly resolved. The system also would ensure more patients are fairly compensated.

"It is estimated that one in three dollars spent on health care in Florida currently pays for unnecessary test and treatments that physicians order for fear of being sued," said Senator Alan Hays. "Passage of this bill will significantly help reduce the rate of increases in healthcare expenses."

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