Over the past several years, legislation introducing a patient compensation system (PCS) has been proposed in several states. Proponents claim a PCS would eliminate the stigma associated with medical professional liability (MPL) claims for healthcare providers. Without the stigma, they believe physicians would not defend themselves as often, resulting in lower legal defense costs than the current tort system produces.
However, some do not agree that the stigma would be less under the PCS system. Additionally, several factors present under current PCS proposals indicate that there will be more reported and indemnified claims, leading to higher MPL costs. In this article, Milliman consultants Susan Forray and Eric Wunder discuss aspects of some states’ PCS proposals that MPL carriers and healthcare providers need to consider.
In recent legislative proposals in Florida and Georgia, lawmakers have sought to establish a patient compensation system (PCS) as an alternative to litigation for compensating patients with injuries that could have been avoided under alternative healthcare (referred to as “medical injuries” within the legislation).
Proponents say offering a PCS as an alternative to litigation could lead to faster outcomes with claims. Advocates claim that faster claim resolutions and less attorney involvement would ultimately reduce overall costs, while providing access to compensation for more patients. They also argue that this system would benefit claimants with minor injuries, who are frequently excluded under the current system, because their claims generally do not result in the kind of large monetary awards that make taking a medical professional liability (MPL) case cost-effective for plaintiff attorneys.
Can PCSs really provide the many benefits, in cost savings, fairness, greater access, and efficiencies, that their proponents claim? This article by Christine Fleming, Eric Wunder, and Susan Forray offers some perspective.
This article was originally published in Inside Medical Liability, First Quarter 2014.