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Doctors ordering fewer tests in light of med mal reform is a myth


If you’ve heard it once, you’ve likely heard it more than that – medical malpractice reform, also referred to as tort reform – would make medical professionals order fewer tests.

Well, that’s interesting, as the other school of thought is that it would make them order more to cover themselves. It seems the truth may lie somewhere in the middle and if it comes right down to it, the truth may be solely based on what an individual doctor would do on their own, not what the whole profession may or may not do.

One of the most argued points of view, when it comes to med mal reform, is that medical health professionals would react by ordering fewer tests, because patients could only get a limited or capped amount in a med mal lawsuit. What that says about a doctors thought process is frightening. However, this may not be the case, as a recent study by the University of Iowa indicated. A study was also done in New York City and Westchester County. It reveals that cutting med mal costs won’t make doctors less concerned about being sued and it won’t necessarily mean they order fewer tests either.

Overall, the study concluded that many of the policies focusing on controlling malpractice costs really don’t affect doctor’s malpractice concerns. This is an interesting finding, given that those who believe in med mal reform or tort reform, and that includes those who make the laws, figure doctors go out of their way to order unnecessary tests, because they don’t want to be sued – something they refer to as practicing defensive medicine. Those who favor tort reform also think this drives up the costs of health care. It seems they just may be wrong, but it also seems no one is really listening.

Never at a loss for reasons why doctors do their jobs the way they do, politicians and lawmakers are now also suggesting that even though some medical health professionals do ask for unneeded tests to avoid being sued, many physicians are doing what they can to make sure they do a good job. On the other side of the fence are those who want the fee for service, which means they can bill more for more services. Med mal reform and health care is getting to be a morass of complexities that few can decipher with any great degree of accuracy.

If you think you have been a victim of medical malpractice at the hands of your doctor and don’t know what to do, make your first phone call to a well trained and knowledgeable New York Medical Malpractice Attorney. The laws in this area are changing so fast, you will need to know what applies to you and your case. Only your New York Medical Malpractice Attorney will have the answers for you.

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