Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Novel Approach to Medical Liability Reform, No-Fault Liability

I have written multiple articles on Medical Liability and its reform.  Another idea has been proposed, institution of a no-fault liability system. There is currently a proposal in the Florida legislature to create what they have named, a Patients’ Compensation System.  In this system, an injured patient would file a claim with the help of a patient advocate, a medical review department would research and review the claim, a fee schedule would be used to determine and recommend an amount for economic and non-economic damages.1  If there was a dispute, a judge would determine whether law was appropriately applied. 

The proposed system would hypothetically be faster and also much cheaper than the current system.2  It is also believed that by removing blame from the equation, physicians will be less likely to practice defensive medicine, which in turn would help lower cost of medical care by billions.  “If an effective no-fault PCS would be enacted, and assuming a slow change in physicians' defensive medicine behavior, first year savings for payors could be $1.5 billion; that number may grow to annual savings exceeding $16 billion when physicians have reduced their defensive medicine practices significantly.” 3 

Money that physicians currently pay for malpractice premiums would go towards funding the Patients’ Compensation System.

I think this is a very interesting system to help curb liability and health care costs, and more importantly, compensate injured patients faster.  I will be keeping a close watch on how this develops.



1.      Guglielmo, WJ. Movement to A No-Fault Liability System.  Medscape. September 13, 2012.  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/770384.  Accessed September 18, 2012.

2.      Latner, AW.  Florida Considers patient Compensation System.. The Clinical Advisor. February 21, 2012. http://www.clinicaladvisor.com/florida-considers-patient-compensation-system/article/228551/ Accessed September 18, 2012.

3.      Bioscience Valuation. The economics of defensive medicine and no-fault patients' compensation systems: Florida. July 6, 2012. http://www.patientsforfaircompensation.org/media/21160/bioscience-fl.pdf Accessed September 18, 2012.

1 comment:

  1. No fault is always an enticing idea ... but I don't know if you recall, but NJ instituted "no fault" liability for car insurance ... and then had the highest rates in the nation ... gubernatorial elections since have been decided by which candidate the voters think will lower car insurance ...
    Under the proposal, will doctors see their malpractice premiums rise if there is an award against them for their care?
    A better solution (to my mind) for defensive medicine is have health insurance actually be INSURANCE - rather than the health SERVICE policy it currently is (health "insurance" isn't insurance against a major loss like every other type of insurance - its like an extended warranty where every "repair" is covered) ... if people actually paid out of pocket for their health care (from a tax free medical savings account), they would ask the Dr what are the $2000 in tests for - he would say you need the first 5, but there is a 1 in 10,000 chance the other 5 might turn up something ... to which most patients would say "skip those 5" ... in the unlikely event that something does turn out wrong, people are far less likely to sue .. the medical industry would also have to restructure and become patient focused where doctors and hospitals compete on price and service (customer satisfaction) ... would be a brave new world ;-)