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Do Newt Gingrich and I agree?


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Newt Gingrich wrote a piece which appared on Politico today on medical liability reform....I and actually agree with him....to a point.  Newt Gingrich does lead off with a falsehood-- medical liability reform IS addressed in the current health reform legislation, through an amendment added by Rep Bart Gordon (D-TN).   The amendment authorizes state pilot programs to find out what will work for medical liability reform.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee adopted the amendment, which authorizes a pilot program for "early offer" and certificate of merit initiatives.

What I did appreciate about the Politico piece was that the proposed solutions to the medical liability issue were actually ones that could improve the safety and quality of medicine....and decrease the practice of defensive medicine.

The piece states:   At the Center for Health Transformation, we have developed several solutions which would advance patient safety and provide for fair and effective compensation for individuals who have legitimate claims. Our solutions establish accountability and encourage the disclosure of adverse medical events so future medical errors can be avoided.  For example, we believe that physicians should be shielded from liability if they demonstrate the use of clinical best practices in the care and treatment of patients. Shielding physicians from liability when they use best practices would reduce defensive medicine and minimize the loss of competent health professionals driven out by the high cost of litigation insurance.  We also support the creation of specialized health courts to address medical malpractice cases as a rational civil justice reform.

Newt Gingrich failed to mention that as a Senator, President Obama co-sponsored legislation with Hillary Clinton that would create a National Medical Error Disclosure and Compensation (MEDiC) program.  Their bill provided liability protections for physicians who disclose medical errors to patients and would encourage early settlement before litigation is pursued.  Sounds really similar to Newt's proposal and one that the physician community would certainly support.

Dare I say that we have bipartisan consensus building on the issue of medical liability reform.....

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