Medical malpractice insurance authorities gloat over success in eliminating, reducing legal claims by victims
Medscape published a report this week confirming that for the eight consecutive year, malpractice insurers have reported a decline in successful malpractice claims and recoveries. Data from the National Practitioner Data Bank showed that in 2011, malpractice insurers paid a total of 9,758 claims, nationally, the lowest number since tracking started 20 years earlier in 1991. The average payout was $327,561.00, the lowest average since the year 2000.
The decline in numbers of claims in heavily "reformed" states like Michigan is even more dramatic. Instead of declaring victory and celebrating their extra protections, the medical industry has instead been emboldened by its success in buying protection from Michigan's Legislature and Courts through campaign contributions and special interest legislation. Next week, for example, the State House is to vote on a bill that would grant virtual immunity to anyone treating a patient admitted through the ER or OB Unit. The bill would also reverse a 2008 Supreme Court holding which recognized that a housewife's domestic service contributions to the household are economic damages--not "pain and suffering" or non-economic damages. The Michigan State Medical Society has invited doctors to send their staff to "pack" the hearing room to pressure lawmakers--just in case their money contributions aren't adequate for that purpose.