Your Voice: Price will protect physicians from medical liability

March 10, 2017

Price will protect physicians from medical liability

I was surprised in reading “Physicians react to Tom Price nomination (MedicalEconomics.com, December 14, 2016)” that those who reacted favorably did not mention his position on medical liability.

The news media has mentioned that as head of Health and Human Services (HHS) he wants to tighten up the requirements for bringing malpractice suits against doctors.

 

Related: What a Gorsuch Supreme Court appointment could mean to healthcare

 

As a physician, Congressman Price knows how physicians are often hit with lawsuit threats based on questionable evidence-and how they are forced to spend time, sometimes several years, defending these suits.

Because defending suits is exhausting and disruptive to their practices, many doctors try to ward them off by ordering tests and consultations that are not needed just to have a defense in case a suit is filed.

This “defensive medicine” approach-which most doctors now practice routinely-wastes immeasurably large amounts of money. Money that could be used to provide care for the poor and to lower costs for all of us.

Making the burden of proof for bringing suits against doctors more exacting has been a top priority for physician minds since at least the 1970s.

With Congressman Price as head of HHS, never have the chances for achieving this goal been within closer reach.   
I believe that those who support his nomination far surpass those who do not.

Protecting patients is important of course. But, so is protecting doctors against false suits.

Edward Volpintesta, MD
Bethel, Connecticut 

 

Next: Obamacare is not healthcare

 

Obamacare is not healthcare 

In response to “We must stay on the Obamacare course (Your Voice, December 10, 2016),” in the United States, the only choice for healthcare is corporate-sponsored insurance or Obamacare. Thus, all the mom and pop organizations, stores, shops or solo practices like mine, can only subscribe to Obamacare, or pay huge tax penalties. 

 

Further reading: No matter the fate of Obamacare, doctors stand reading to help patients

 

This is what our government considers “good.” As many patients in my office state: Obamacare is not healthcare. It is $4,000 deductibles, it is 50% of hospital bills covered, it is constantly rising premiums, it is insurance companies bowing out (i.e. UnitedHealthCare). It offers no eyeglass or dental – unless you are in Medicaid. 

Most of the 20 million [enrolled] agree it is just a big tax with healthcare paid out-of-pocket. On a personal note, the cost for my thyroid medicine is more expensive under Obamacare than I can buy online. 

 

Saulius Skeivys, MD
Woodside, New York 

 

Don’t criticize physicians who take time off 

I found the recent essay “Lunch is for Losers (Medical Economics, December 25, 2016)” to be anachronistic. While I admire the author’s obvious dedication to his career and his patients, his willingness to criticize others who do not share his philosophy is disheartening.

My objection to this article is the unacknowledged reality that it requires a supportive spouse to hold down the fort at home. More than 90% of the time, it will be a woman who sacrifices her own professional goals in order to promote her husband’s.

Next: "The responder missed the whole point of the missive"

 

There are many of us for whom this model simply is not available, or not preferred, including most professional women and single parents. To write those physicians off as “losers” or less dedicated to their patients is offensive.

 

Further reading: Top 10 challenges facing physicians in 2017

 

Medicine would be better served by promoting models which allow physicians to thrive in a variety of social models. There are many excellent physicians who sometimes need to take a lunch break and pick up the kids by 6 p.m. 

 

Kimberly Zoberi, MD
St. Louis, Missouri  

 

IN RESPONSE:

The essay’s author, E. Michael Reisman, MD, replies:

… The responder missed the whole point of the missive … When someone goes in to a store three minutes before closing time, an employee will almost always say, “I’m sorry, we are closing now.” If it is the owner, they will say, “Come on in.” My point is that to go the extra mile will help all involved, [and] you will grow your practice by being available, affable and able. You also are pleasing the referring doctor, but most of all, you are taking care of a patient in need efficiently and relieving their suffering promptly. 

I believe that those are things worth doing, and, yes they will come at an inconvenience (no lunch some days). Sometimes you do have to stay late, if you are a surgeon you already know that this may happen and you will have a contingency plan, be it your spouse, day care or other arrangement.