Friday, September 15, 2006
There have been a couple of developments that have been pointed to as evidence of changes in liability law working -- Mississippi saw another reduction in med mal insurance rates, and Texas has a new survey in which physicians state that they feel better about practicing there, and there is apparently a fairly significant increase in the number of new license applications. (Texas has also seen some reductions in insurance rates.)
One quote caught my eye in the Texas Medical Association press release:
“As it should be, Texas physicians’ No. 1 challenge is how to cure the patient, not how to avoid a frivolous lawsuit,” [TMA president Homer] said.
One can certainly assert with some credibility that the liability caps had at least something to do with the insurance rate reductions -- if the total exposure drops, one would expect the carriers to recognize that. And if insurance rates are lower, one can also expect physicians to be more open to riskier procedures.
But was there something in the 2003 reforms that targeted "frivolous" suits? Screening panels? Tightening up expert testimony? If not, how do caps reduce frivolous suits?