Handling malpractice cases out of the court system

April 1, 2008

The National Center for Policy Analysis is calling for reform that would move malpractice cases completely out of the court system.

The National Center for Policy Analysis is calling for reform that would move malpractice cases completely out of the court system. Under the NCPA plan, physicians would be able to settle negligence claims "by contract," reported Medical Liability Monitor (1/2008).

This contract would set in advance the amount a physician would be obligated to compensate a patient (or family) in the event of unexpected death or disability, regardless of fault; allow the amount to be reduced for riskier patients or procedures; and make eligibility for full compensation dependent on patient compliance with medical directives. It would also require physicians to publicly disclose quality data about their practice, such as mortality rates for surgeries.

"Instead of buying malpractice insurance, physicians would essentially be purchasing short-term life insurance on all patients," said NCPA policy analyst and co-author of the report Pam Villarreal. "Under this system, insurers would have a strong interest in monitoring how doctors practice medicine and would price their policies accordingly. Bad doctors would be priced out of the market."