The recent health care reform movement strives to give every citizen access to high quality health care. This is greatly beneficial to many in Salt Lake City, but can negatively impact a few aspects of the medical industry, such as malpractice lawsuits. Because the number of individuals with access to health care is increasing, the number of drug injury and medical malpractice lawsuits has increased as well.
A large proportion of people in Salt Lake City have been affected by the Affordable Care Act due to their previous lack of health insurance. Unfortunately, the only part of the Affordable Care Act that specifically mentions medical malpractice is section 10607 of the act, which states that the Secretary of Health and Human Services is able to award demonstration grants to states so that they can develop and implement tort litigation. It does not eradicate malpractice litigation.
Health Practitioners Using ‘Defensive’ Medicine
Because of this, health care providers in Salt Lake City have continued to practice defensive medicine because they are scared that they will have to hire a lawyer if any malpractice issues arise. This means that health care providers have become too cautious, often performing unnecessary medical procedures and prescribing larger amounts of painkillers. These are not always beneficial to the patient, and can actually lead to an increase in drug injury claims. Drug injury lawsuits can easily result when a patient is inaccurately prescribed a colorful cocktail of medications.
Increase in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Unfortunately, physicians do not form as personal of relationships with their clients under the Affordable Care Act, because outpatient care and inpatient care is divided. It is this lack of attachment that plays a significant role in the increase of medical malpractice lawsuits. This causes difficulty if a patient hires a lawyer to defend his or her case in regards to malpractice premiums. The lawyer is caught between answering to the patient’s employer as well as the physician. Because of this, the provider will likely continue to be the target of malpractice suits.