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I think Ms. Yvonne Craton Kennedy should be concerned about the high malpractice rates doctors are being charged these days. Who does she think these charges are going to be passed on to?? I believe that would be us...the general public. They are just trying to do something about all these frivolous lawsuits that are keeping malpractice insurance rates on the rise. I do believe when they are negligent, they should be fined & made to make retribution, but the majority of lawsuits are just peoples' attempts to make a lot of money quickly & with no effort on their part. We have become such a litigious society, one where people sue at the drop of a hat & I for one am ready to see someone do something about it! Maybe Ms. Kennedy should think about that, so the day never comes where she can no longer find a doctor for her medical needs, because no one can afford to practice medicine any longer due to these ridiculous malpractice insurance rates! But then again, maybe she's married to a lawyer & is one of those who benefit from these frivolous lawsuits that keep plaguing our medical providers?
Tammy Kennedy writes:
Anonymous you have not been reading the news accurately. To quote from the ORIGINAL "Medical Emergency" article that ran October 19, 2003:
"What Davis and other physicians talked about OVER and OVER to help clear public misunderstanding and perception is they CANNOT raise their rates for providing medical care.
Health care insurance plans, that most if not nearly all patients have, set fixed rates on standards of care. Doctors and physicians CANNOT alter or deviate from those rates if they agree to treat patients covered by those plans.
'We have a CAP on what we can EARN. The insurance plans pay what is allowable,' Davis said."
So you see it IS the DOCTORS that will absorb the expense NOT THE GENERAL PUBLIC.
But I should add that the real issue here is actually PUBLIC SAFETY. There is research here NOW that can affect the malpractice insurance rates and bring those rates down considerably. But, the DOCTORS MUST listen to the ground breaking and revolutionary ideologies that DO have the capacity to fully respect the issue of public safety, and potentially replace the failing medical system that we have today. This means lives are not needlessly lost and people are not left in a vegetative state just because the current medical paradigm has not YET come up to speed. The bottom line is that we need to work together.
Don't you think that would be a good thing if not the best of things?
Yvonne Kennedy writes:
Annoymous, it is apparent that your concern about my letter to the editor hinges on the malpractice insurance issue, which was only addressed in the last paragraph of my letter. Have you actually taken a poll to prove your point that most lawsuits are frivilous?
What about the 120,000 patients that die each year because of MEDICAL ERROR AND NEGLIGENCE, which amounts to a jumbo jet's crashing every day? That is an awfully lot of people. Where is your OUTRAGE about these innocent patients - the true victims?
concerned citizen writes:
This comment is for anonymous: What about all the people who have to stand at the graveside of the people they love because of the doctors' stupidity and ego? Which one of your loved ones are you prepared to sacrifice?
Maybe we should erect a memorial similar to the fence in Oklahoma City around the hospitals that are killing and otherwise hurting the innocent. Then perhaps we shall see the true impact of the system of medicine in America, and the terror and heartbreak that it elicits.
Tired of Fraud. writes:
There are actually three issues here.
First, and LEAST important, is the issue of malpractice insurance. There's a lot to be said for it in the eyes of a doctor, because we are a litigious society. Anyone who can get millions out of McDonald's because the wing-nut spilled coffee in her lap, then had the audacity to be surprised that it was hot proves the frivolity of many lawsuits. Having worked in healthcare, I can't count the times I've heard the words "I ought to sue" when something was done FOR the safety of the patient, or FOR their well-being. And it's true that doctors can't pass that cost on to patients, at least not their insured patients. What about those who aren't insured? Since when does a dose of aspirin cost eight bucks? So, indeed, doctors may not pass increased malpractice insurance costs on to SOME patients, others, well, they do pay. Some, insured or not, even pay with their lives by avoiding medical treatment because of the cost to the point that their condition has become terminal.
Second, patient safety, number of lawsuits and malpractice insurance costs could all be improved by running health care less as a business and more as the practice of healing people. Hospitals, doctor's offices, etc. look more like cattle corrals than medical practices these days. Shove 'em in, give 'em a pill, get the dough and shove 'em out. A doctor spends, what, about ten minutes with you in an exam room. Some people even take lists of issues to address with them so that they aren't rushed out of the office before their health and medical concerns are dealt with properly. I am fully aware that people aren't able to spend hours with their doctor for one appointment. I feel that if the medical profession in general were to take a back seat to the money being made and reduce the patient/caregiver load, in spite of the money lost in doing that, patients would be safer, they'd sue less because there would be fewer mistakes, and lo and behold, malpractice insurance costs would decrease. Novel ideas.
Third, insurance is a fraud. Pure and simple. Patients pay an insurance premium. They go to the doctor, who charges $50.00 for an office visit. The insurance carrier in turn, receives the claim and tells the doctor, "We'll pay you $30.00 for an office visit." The doctor agrees and makes $30.00 for your ten minute visit. Now, you may ask why doesn't the doctor just charge $30.00 for the office visit then? Because then the insurance company would reduce their "allowed" charge for an office visit to only $15.00. You see the cycle. Therefore, the non-insured go to see a doctor and pay, in this example, $20.00 more for the office visit than the insurance company pays for. And if you have a co-pay for that visit, you're actually saving your insurance company some money. This is ONLY an example and does not reflect any medical providers charges, nor any insurance company's payments, etc.
Yet, if we gave up the insurance we carry, where would we be? Paying outrageous prices for all of our medical care, that's where. Insurance companies are indeed making money, hand over fist I'd wager, yet they will fight, tooth and nail to keep from paying a provider, or deny the insured necessary or recommended treatment because they have an "exclusion"... Well, hey, what is it exactly we're paying for if we get medical coverage and there are "exclusions"? As I said, insurance, especially medical insurance is a giant fraud and someday I hope we are able to ban it in every way.
If you want to increase patient safety, decrease lawsuits and the cost of malpractice insurance, abolish medical coverage.
People used to pay their doctors in pig feed, installments and various other ways and you know what? It worked. People got personal care, the doctor's weren't crazed, irrational, stressed out, debt ridden and unhappy people and most of all, there was no middle man to jack up the cost.
Insurance is pure evil.
Thank you Tired of Fraud for your opinions and insight. You are right.
You should also know that just because the mainstream medical community has not abolished the game as you have defined it, that it does not mean that others such as myself have not striven to do just that, end the game.
There is no need to purchase health insurance if the health insurance refuses to pay for the proper care that will bring the individual to a healthy state. There is also no need to see the doctor that refuses to work for the absolute healthy state of the person. Trust me, if the doctor is focused on pushing pills or a necessity of continued treatment sessions as chiropractors do the best interest of the patient is not being considered. Instead the health of the wealth that is being amassed at the request of a system that has been in place for how many years now is the priority concern. The thing is that the doctors simply don't know any better since they have bought hook, line, and sinker into something that is fast becoming obsolete. There is a better way and due to the sacrifices of the innocent and the free speech of those that oppose such a sacrifice, change is slowly coming about. It's about time is all I can say and that complete change toward truth and health in the American medical system will never be fast enough to replace my loved one.
Yvonne Kennedy writes:
The headlines to the dot.Comments! of February 6th, which is "Way to increase patient safety is fewer lawsuits", in my opinion is misleading. The sentence in question is: "If you want to increase patient safety, decrease lawsuits and the cost of malpractice insurance, abolish medical coverage."
Evidently, the newspaper took this sentence to mean: If you want to increase patient safety, then decrease lawsuits, etc.
I take it to mean: If you want to 1) increase patient safety, 2) decrease lawsuits and 3) decrease the cost of malpractice insurance, then ABOLISH MEDICAL COVERAGE. That would be in keeping with Tired of Fraud's last statement, which is "Insurance is pure evil."
I feel the headlines should have read: IF YOU WANT TO INCREASE PATIENT SAFETY, ABOLISH MEDICAL COVERAGE.
Personally, I wish there were no frivolous lawsuits whatsoever, but I know there are. But to suggest there should be fewer LEGITIMATE lawsuits, because of the death or injury of a patient due to medical error, is just plain cruel! There probably should be more LEGITIMATE lawsuits than there are. But, due to the helplessness and intimidation the victim or their family feels about the huge task of going against the big institution of the hospital and the "untouchable" doctors, etc., they don't even try. I have heard this very sentiment expressed. But, when they don't try, doctors get away with it, which DECREASES patient safety, because the doctors run unchecked. In cases where the injured do not try to get justice, what then is left for the victim, or their surviving family? The answer: The injury or horrific loss of their loved one, who is PRICELESS and the added injustice of not being awarded any compensation (which could never be enough) for their loss. Just because doctors DEMAND? Remember, it could be you or your loved one next!
I hope Tired of Fraud will write again to clarify the meaning of the sentence in question.
Finally, for clarity's sake, regarding the issue of patient safety, the answer does not lie in matters of business, but instead, hinges on ethics and cooperation with the patient.
Perhaps the argument needs to be made that the doctors have no opportunity to purchase malpractice insurance at all. This would cause the guilty to be held entirely responsible for the financial cost of bringing damage upon one of their patients. And, there is no middle man to rake in the fortune that I am sure the medical malpractice insurance companies are receiving now. Seems to me that this may be the answer to public safety. That way the health care providers would have a greater concern for the well being of their patients because if they do their job wrong the mistake would get into their own pockets. Of course, the law would have to be written in a way that there is no loophole for the guilty to be able to file bankruptcy should a lawsuit arise and they would INDEED be held responsible personally should they hurt someone.
Tired of Fraud writes:
Indeed, I meant the sentence as you read it Yvonne.
I in no way believe that a legitimate lawsuit should NOT be pursued. By all means, when a mistake is made, (someone, be it the individual, the hospital or both) there should be punitive measures taken.
The biggest part of my argument however, was totally ignored. And it is the biggest problem.
Running a hospital as a business is dangerous. When patients are cared for by staff (nurses, doctors, laboratory attendants, imaging techs, surgery staff, on down the line) who are 1) rushed 2) stressed 3) overloaded 4) not supported by the doctors and administration of the hospital and 5) encouraged to work long hours without proper rest and support there will be mistakes. There's no way out of it in an environment like that. Add in the factor of human error and you've got a disaster waiting to happen. My reference to a cattle corral pretty well summed up the mentality found in the medical environment. Especially hospitals. There are few areas of a hospital where patients are cared for as people, rather than "cases".
My comments regarding abolishing medical coverage, are, in my opinion, the only way to rectify the skyrocketing cost of healthcare, and thus the cost of medical malpractice insurance carried by doctors. If doctors were to reduce their patient load (i.e. to care more about the patients they see rather than the number of patients they can see in a day) and give up a little of the money they make in order to be better rested, less stressed, and more attentive to their job we'd probably see a dramatic improvement in the number of mistakes made. Running a hospital just isn't the same as running a restaraunt. Yet, because of the value we, as a society, put on the value of money, hospitals and medical practices are treated as money machines.
In terms of taking things out of context, well, someone always needs a spin, and what better place to make someone look like a fool that in the dot.Comments section, right?
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