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True Cost of Increased Malpractice Insurance in the Health Care Industry
During the last decade, medical malpractice premiums have increased exponentially, resulting in a decreased pool of qualified physicians operating in the medical arena. The medical industry is facing many crises, including rapidly increasing health insurance premiums that affect consumers directly. One arena consumers may not have considered evaluating is that of medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice, as defined by the U.S. General Accounting Office and Black Law Dictionary, arises as a result of "bad, wrong or injudicious treatment of a patient, professionally and in respect to the particular disease or injury, resulting injury, unnecessary skill, disregard or established rules of principles, neglect or malicious or criminal intent" (Black Law Dictionary, cited in U.S. General Accounting Office, 1987f: 11; from Hay, 1992). One should assume under the governance of law within the United States that a majority of human activities performed are "basically good" and therefore doctors should not simply pay because of their actions, but rather as a result of a breach of an "applicable standard of care" or negligence (Hay, 1992).
America is currently facing a medical malpractice crisis, where the growing numbers of claims and severity of such claims is causing the rise of malpractice insurance premiums to an extent where some physicians can no longer afford to pay premiums. This in turn results in practitioners dropping out of practice.
The public consistently demands improvements within the area of medical care, yet such claims are hard to substantiate with the pool of qualified physicians decreasing. The success of health care providers and continuing illness prevention is contingent upon physician's ability to offer premium care to patients. Premium care will be substantially limited however, if the cost of medical malpractice continually increases.
One example of this crisis is exemplified in the field of obstetrics/gynecology. Several studies have cited instances where patients have had to travel greater than one hour out of their way to find a physician to deliver their child, due in part to the increasing number of physicians dropping out of practice because of rising medical malpractice costs.
A first acquired interest in medical malpractice because of personal concerns with the medical field in general; I have found it increasingly difficult to find qualified physicians and specialists readily available to treat at a moments notice. I have been subjected to what I perceive to be a general decline in the quality of health care, due in part to rapidly rising health insurance premiums, and due in part to a decreasing pool of qualified physicians.
This dissertation will allow me the opportunity to investigate the decline in availability of qualified professionals as a result of increasing medical malpractice insurance premium, and expose the potential crisis related to unsubstantiated medical malpractice claims that may be facing American citizens.
This dissertation will aspire to determine what the crises the health care system faces as a result of rapidly increasing medical malpractice premiums.
A hypothesis will be developed outlining what the exact detrimental effects of such increases are to be expected from information gathered during the Literature Review. Additionally an initial proposition will be formulated suggesting a solution to the potential crisis, based on observations gathered during the dissertation.
This dissertation aspires to suggest a reasonable solution for physicians and patients related to medical malpractice claims. Research conducted within the field shall confirm or disprove this hypothesis, thus resulting in a bonafied set of criteria with which medical practitioners can incorporate into their practices.
Significance of Study
Review of Relevant Literature and Research
Medical Malpractice defined in a historical context
Legal Changes Affecting Malpractice
New World Health Care Strategies
Data Gathering Instrument (Questionnaire)
Sources of Data
Interview structure and questions
Evaluation of Responses
The analysis for this dissertation will be divided into three distinct parts:
The first section will focus on evaluating historical trends in medical malpractice, different perspectives in malpractice insurance and physician policies and patient practices. It will highlight trends developed primarily within the U.S., though historical practices within Europe will also be evaluated.
This will be accomplished by obtaining statistics and examining the historical practices…[continue]
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