Thursday, November 14, 2013
The Dayton Daily News has a story on malpractice at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Payment for VA med mal claims (paid from a federal treasury fund set aside for federal claims, not the VA budget) totaled $845M over 10 years (on a total of 4,426 claims). The peak year was 2012 with $93.3M in payouts. The article notes that VA health care providers are immune from lawsuits and details instances of bonuses given to providers who had made medical errors or administrators despite poor records at their facilities. The article also quotes attorneys arguing the early disclosure program and limits on attorneys' fees (20% on settlements and 25% on awards) reduce the amount of claims brought against the VA. On the other hand, when asked whether VA doctors were worse than other doctors, Dr. Anupam Jena, assistant professor at Harvard, said simply, "no." The article includes poignant stories by individual victims of malpractice.