Sunday, May 6, 2012

Who Will  Be Physicians’ Malpractice Savior?

OSHA (Our Savior Has Arrived)

Acronym Pun

May 6, 2012 – I’m fond of puns.  When it comes to health reform, this fondness may be undoing.   Health reform, after all, is a serious business – often a life and death, or at least, a disease and health proposition. Iit is  nothing to be joshed about.   
Health reform doesn’t lend itself  to puns, said by Noah Webster (1758-1843), America’s first dictionary maker, to be “the lowest form of wit.”  Yet, James Boswell (1740-1795), the biographer of Samuel Johnson,  the English dictionary-maker, remarked, “ Think not innocent species of wit or pleasantry should be suppressed, and that a good pun may be admitted among the smaller excellences of lively conservation." (Life of Johnson, 1785).
As I  prep for a talk before the Physicians  Insurance Association of America on May 9 in Washington. D.C., I am thinking what the punishment might be for using the OSHA pun.   Donald Palminsano, MD, JD, who invited me to give the talk, said, “Give an unbiased picture of physician futures before and after reform.”
A tall order.  Physicians are in bad mood because of Obamacare’s failure to address the malpractice crisis, which is costing an arm and a leg in malpractice premiums  ($100,00 or more per year for high-risk specialties like Obstetrics and Gynecology, Neurosurgery,  Invasive Cardiology, and Orthopedics).
Who is to be the Savior of these physicians?
  • Will it be the federal government of the Obama administration?  Not likely, considering it thinks no crisis exists.  National health reform, in its mindset and the influence of trial lawyers, is not in the cards.
  • Will it be leaders of the political parties? Again not likely.  Neither GOP nor Dems can even come to grips with ending or fixng the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which calls for a 27% cut in Medicare fees for physician s in January 2013, and a $300 billion raise in the federal budget deficit.
  • Will it be the physicians themselves?  Maybe.  There’s a movement out there, called, based on a book by that name, which says physicians and their allied organization,  by saying “I’m sorry,” and by disclosing or apologizing for any mistakes that occurred, can dramatically reduced malpractice awards.
Tweet:  Who is to be the physicians’ savior in rationalizing or reducing malpractice awards  and malpractice premiums – government,  political parties,  or physicians themselves?

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