Patients For Fair Compensation
Two-thirds support reforming state’s tort system
ATLANTA (September 18, 2013) — By more than a 2-1 margin, Georgia voters believe physicians order unnecessary tests and procedures for their patients to keep from being sued, according to a new poll released today by Patients for Fair Compensation.
The poll, conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, found that 62 percent of Georgia voters believe doctors order unnecessary tests, procedures and medications to prevent litigation; 79 percent said when physicians order these unnecessary tests and procedures it has a negative impact on healthcare.
This practice is commonly known as defensive medicine, and Gallup says one in four healthcare dollars can be attributed to such unnecessary spending. In Georgia, an estimated $14 billion a year is spent on defensive medicine or about $1,400 per person annually.
“Georgians know from personal experience that when they see a physician that too often they have to endure extra tests, procedures or medications that really aren’t necessary,” said Wayne Oliver, executive director, of Patients for Fair Compensation. “They know it comes at a price – whether through increased insurance premiums, co-pays or out of pocket costs.”
The poll was conducted for the non-profit Patients for Fair Compensation which is promoting legislation in the Georgia General Assembly to replace the state’s medical malpractice system with a no-blame, administrative model similar to a workers’ comp system. The Georgia Senate is holding five hearings this fall on Senate Bill 141 proposed by state Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) including a hearing on Sept. 24.
When asked about healthcare in the state, Georgians also had strong opinions:
- Sixty-seven percent said the cost of healthcare is “too high.”
- Thirty-one percent blame insurance companies for the high cost; 22 percent blame the government; 15 percent blame personal injury attorneys.
- Fifty-four percent said the direction of health care is on the wrong track compared to 26 percent who said it is going in the right direction.
“Georgians are weary about rising healthcare costs, and they want something to change,” Oliver said. “The Patients’ Compensation System now before the Georgia Senate is the only idea that would actually bring down healthcare costs.”
Under Senate Bill 141, no doctor or hospital would ever be sued again. Instead, injured patients would take their claims to a panel of healthcare experts who would determine if an avoidable injury had occurred and would award compensation. It would award compensation no different than under the current, adversarial tort system, and it would be funded with medical malpractice premiums.
The McLaughlin poll of 800 likely general election voters was conducted Aug. 5-8, 2013. Certain questions were split into proportionate samples of 400 likely voters. The accuracy of the sample of 800 general election voters is within +/- 3.4 percent. The accuracy of the split sample is within +/- 4.9 percent.
Susan L. Meyers
About Patients for Fair Compensation:
Patients for Fair Compensation is a 501(c) 4 organization dedicated to educating and proposing policy solutions to ensure access to real justice for injured patients by eliminating up to $650 billion per year nationally of unnecessary costs due to defensive medicine.
Patients for Fair Compensation is seeking to replace our broken medical liability system with a no-blame, administrative compensation system. The Patients’ Compensation System will lower healthcare costs by eliminating the practice of defensive medicine, saving up to $650 billion per year nationally in unnecessary costs. By assuring access to real justice for injured patients and increasing patient safety, the system is one that works for patients and our economy.