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Phoenix, Arizona

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Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice Reform

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According to breaking news from the Arizona Daily Star, the Arizona Medical Association has made a decision not to pursue lawsuit reform initiatives in the next election. In order to seek limits on the amount and type of damages a jury can award, those who oppose the current system of justice would have been required to seek changes to the Arizona Constitution.

According to representatives of the organization seeking these types of ballot initiatives,

medical malpractice claims and suits seemed to decrease slightly in the past year and that Arizona voters weren’t likely to approve meaningful changes.

It appears that Arizona voters will reject attempts by government to place government restrictions on what decisions private jurors can and cannot make inside the courtroom.

An article from January, 2005 in Medical Economics Magazine, a medical trade publication, proposes different solutions without placing blame on physicans, patients, or patient advocates. Some of these proposed solutions may work. For example, the author proposes medical liability screening panels to initially evaluate claims prior to entering into the judicial system. This initial screening process may assist in sifting through and identifying patient claims which have merit. Moreover, the author proposes establishing minimum specialty practice guidelines for physicians. By doing so, if you have stomach pain and are referred to a specialist, your doctor will perform a minimum series of tests to diagnose your condition. Right now, other than certain narrow limited specialties, doctors have no minimum guidelines or criteria to assist in patient diagnosis and treatment. Also, good doctors with a good track record should be rewarded with lower insurance premiums. Such rewards can encourage good medicine and quality patient care. These type of solutions do not require government interference and I for one trust the marketplace rather than government to work out these issues.