Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Physician Business Ideas: Defensive Medicine Costs - How Much?

Preface: If you talk to lawyers and doctors about how much the medical liability system costs, you will get entirely different answers. Lawyers generally cite costs of settled cases and put the figure at about 1.5 percent to 2 percent of total costs. Physicians think entirely differently. They estimate the true cost runs 26% if you take the psychological imperative of doctors to protect themselves into account. This would amount to $2167 each year for each U.S. citizen. Small wonder that doctors put tort reform as number one on their health reform agenda.

Physicians attribute 26 percent of healthcare costs to defensive medicine

According to a new study released by Gallup and Jackson Healthcare, physicians attribute 26 percent of overall health care costs to the practice of defensive medicine.

Among survey findings:

• While physicians attribute an average of 26 percent of overall costs to defensive medicine, 13 percent believe the practice constitutes 50 percent or more of the cost.

• 73% agreed that they had practiced some form of defensive medicine in the past 12 months.

• 23% of practicing physicians estimate that defensive medicine constitutes less than 10 percent of their practice while 29% estimate the percentage to be between 10 percent and less than 25 percent.

• Physicians indicating they had practiced a form of defensive medicine in the last twelve months attribute 21 percent of their practice to be defensive in nature.

Jackson Healthcare, February 19, 2010. "New Gallup poll quantifies U.S. physician opinions on the scope of defensive medicine practices."

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