Hey kids, it’s our favorite time of year again – PopTort Pop Quiz time! It’s been awhile since our last quiz on the important topic of medical malpractice and health care, and I just know you've all been studying hard. So get out those #2 pencils and let’s begin:
1. When the Yale School of Medicine implemented a comprehensive obstetric patient safety initiative, their liability payments dropped:
The answer is “d”. As reported online by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Yale School of Medicine researchers found “a strong association between introduction of a comprehensive obstetric patient safety initiative and a dramatic reduction in liability claims and liability payments.”
2. True of False: After Texas enacted severe limits on injured patients’ legal rights, including “caps” on damages, preventable errors increased and hospitals became less safe.
That statement is TRUE. Before Texas enacted severe limits on medical malpractice lawsuits, rates of preventable adverse events that patients experienced (PSIs) were stable or declining relative to control states. After Texas med mal “reforms” became law, “PSI rates gradually rise, consistent with hospitals gradually relaxing (or doing less to reinforce) patient safety standards.”
3. Patients are set on fire in U.S. operating rooms how many times each year:
Horrifyingly, that answer is again, “d.” Writes Modern Healthcare, "Despite a slew of news accounts about patients being set on fire in operating rooms across the country, adoption of precautionary measures has been slow, often implemented only after a hospital experiences an accident.”
4. Medicare pays physicians:
a. whose medical licenses have been suspended or revoked;
b. who have been disciplined for gross malpractice;
c. who have committed battery or violated prescription drug laws;
d. none of the above.
I know, you were probably hoping the answser was "d." Sorry about that. Actually, this is a trick question. The answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE. At least eight doctors whose medical licenses were suspended or revoked collectively billed Medicare more than $7 million in 2012. According to federal records, “Medicare approved payments to physicians who’d been disciplined for gross malpractice, battery, and violating prescription drug laws. Some had lost their licenses in their home states but were able to keep practicing by obtaining a license in another."
5. True or False: Medical malpractice insurance companies make twice as much profit as the entire property/casualty insurance industry.
Yup, that’s true too. Thanks in part to all the draconian state laws that have made it nearly impossible for legitimate medical malpractice cases to go forward, the med mal insurance industry has had seven years of underwriting profit – something completely unheard of in the property/casualty sector.
6. When asked their main reason for leaving New York state, newly trained physicians cited which of these as the main reason for leaving:
a. The high cost of malpractice insurance in New York State;
b. New York’s liability laws, or legal environment (i.e., New York does not “cap” damages);
c. To be closer to their family;
d. New York’s high cost of living.
Answer: "c." When respondents - newly trained physicians - who were planning to practice outside of New York were asked their main reason for leaving the state, the most common reasons given were proximity to family (29%), better jobs in desired locations outside New York (12%), and better jobs outside New York that meet visa requirements (11%). The category “Cost of Malpractice Insurance” was practically dead last on this list. Even the general category “Other” outranked “Cost of Malpractice Insurance.” And “New York’s liability laws or legal environment” were not even listed as a reason.
So how did you do?
Of course, all of this information and much more can be found in the Center for Justice & Democracy at New York Law School’s new briefing book, Medical Malpractice – By the Numbers! Study up. You never know when quiz time will pop up again!