0

The full content of Annals is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >
Position Papers |

Beyond MICRA: New Ideas for Liability Reform

American College of Physicians*
[+] Article and Author Information

Requests for Reprints: Michael J. Werner, JD, American College of Physicians, 700 13th Street Northwest, Suite 250, Washington, DC 20005.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1995;122(6):466-473. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-122-6-199503150-00012
Text Size: A A A

The existing medical liability system does not work. It does not deter negligence, provide timely compensation to injured persons, or resolve disputes fairly. Studies show that a large percentage of injured patients are not compensated and that physicians feel vulnerable to a lawsuit whether or not they practice high-quality medicine. The arbitrariness and inefficiency of the system disrupts the physician-patient relationship, increases health care costs, and, in some cases, hurts access to care. As a result, comprehensive changes to the liability system must be made. The American College of Physicians makes the following recommendations.

1. Congress should immediately pass the tort reforms contained in the California Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), particularly caps on noneconomic damages, as necessary short-term changes to a flawed system.

2. Federal legislation should be enacted that overturns recent court decisions that have relied on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a federal law that regulates pensions and other benefit plans, to bar plaintiffs from suing their health plan for negligence if the plan's benefits or treatment decisions lead to an injury.

3. Demonstration projects should be created and funded to examine the feasibility of using a set of caps for noneconomic damage awards that are based on the severity of injury suffered and the injured party's age. A set of caps could be seen as fairer to injured persons than flat caps but would still protect physicians from unlimited awards.

4. Demonstration projects should be authorized and funded to test enterprise liability and no-fault systems. These systems could take many forms, including administrative approaches; lists of accelerated compensation events; “early offer of settlement” approaches; and organizational liability for health plans, hospitals, or health systems. Such long-term reforms are consistent with trends in health care delivery and are necessary to promote quality of care, compensate injured persons, and protect physicians.

*This paper was authored by Michael J. Werner, JD, and was developed for the Health and Public Policy Committee: Christine K. Cassel, MD, Chair; Charles E. Harrison Jr., MD, Vice-Chair; Whitney Addington, MD; Philip D. Bertram, MD; Sheldon Greenfield, MD; Angela McLean, MD; Mack V. Traynor, MD; Robert A. Berenson, MD; Nancy E. Gary, MD; L. Julian Haywood, MD; J. Harold Morris Jr., MD; and James Webster Jr., MD. Approved by the Board of Regents on 13 January 1995.

Figures

Tables

References

Letters

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Comments

Submit a Comment
Submit a Comment

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.

Toolkit

Buy Now

to gain full access to the content and tools.

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Advertisement
Related Articles
Related Point of Care
Topic Collections

Buy Now

to gain full access to the content and tools.

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.
(Required)
(Required)