Where Are the Tort Reformers?

June 30, 2008

And California is not alone in this.

Serious patient errors at California hospitals disclosed in state filings

Officially called “adverse events,”
those accidents are also known as “never events” because they are
considered preventable, and many safety experts say they should never
happen. California patients are being injured at a rate of about 100 a
month, according to data compiled by the state Department of Public
Health.

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The Best System to Prevent Frivolous Lawsuits

June 19, 2008

Contingency Fees Are the Best Way to Prevent “Frivolous Lawsuits”

[M]ost economic studies show that trial lawyers, because of their fee structures, actually reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits. This makes sense if you think about it since most trial lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis. Lawyers working on contingency only get a fee if their client is awarded money. Therefore, they are less likely to take cases in which there will be no recovery, like a case where a jury would find for the defendant. Economists argue that the contingency fees act as screeners, and most lawyers will drop a case they believe is without merit before even bringing a lawsuit.

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Tort Reform Issue

June 17, 2008

Every study shows that the rise in insurance premiums is not dependent on jury verdicts, lawsuits, trial lawyers and settlements. Yet, there is a constant and relentless voices falsely connecting all this together.

False Diagnosis

In short, as far as medical malpractice cases are concerned, for 15 years the Texas tort system has been remarkably stable. Texas’s situation is not . One study of Florida’s experience from 1990 to 2003 also found declines in paid claims per 100 practicing physicians as well as per 100,000 population. Over the same period in Missouri, the total number of malpractice claims fell by about 40 percent and the number of paid claims dropped almost by half.

Malpractice premiums have risen sharply in Texas and many other states.

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Eat Fish… Or Not.

June 17, 2008

This article starts in a promising manner about how eating oily fish can reduce risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). But then in the last sentence of the article this appears: “In a separate analysis, consumption of fish oil supplements had no effect on the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.” So, where is the beef?

EULAR: Fish Rich in Omega-3 May Reduce RA Risk

Eating oily fish at least once a month may help fend off of rheumatoid arthritis, a large observational study has suggested.

People who reported eating one or more servings of oily fish each month had a 20% lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis compared with individuals who reported seldom or never eating oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, Annmarie Wesley of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, reported here at the European League Against Rheumatism congress.

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More Health Care Makes not Better… Necessarily.

June 2, 2008

This study shows that the intensity of care in hospitals is generally more in private providers as opposed to public ones. Yet, the result is pretty much the same.

In New York City, Two Versions of End-of-Life Care

The Dartmouth Atlas, from which the data is drawn, includes 46 New York City hospitals: 8 public and 38 private.

The Consumer Reports rankings allow consumers to look at data from hospitals across the country, and examine the intensity of care during the last two years of life. Intensity is measured by how many days the average patient spent in the hospital, how many times a doctor visited that patient and how much the patient or private insurer spent for doctors beyond what Medicare covered.

Patients in the city’s private hospitals averaged 54 visits from doctors, while those in public hospitals averaged 24 visits during the final six months. In private hospitals, 56 percent of patients saw 10 or more physicians, compared with 32 percent in public hospitals.

And private patients paid an average of $4,000 out-of-pocket over two years, nearly double the $2,200 per patient at the city-run institutions. But in terms of the ultimate outcome, there was little difference.

The Dartmouth Atlas showed that 58 percent of the public-hospital patients died in the hospital as opposed to at home or in hospice care, compared with 57 percent for private hospitals. Thirty percent of patients in public hospitals had been admitted to intensive care units before their death, compared with 27 percent in private hospitals.

Many fewer patients from public hospitals — 7 percent — were enrolled in a hospice than patients from private hospitals, where the rate was 12 percent, according to the Dartmouth data.

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