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Tuesday
Dec072010

Defensive Medicine: New Survey

25% of every healthcare dollar spent with no purpose other than CYA defensive medicine and lawsuit protection.

Here's a quote from a survey about defensive medicine published by Jackson Healthcare that looks at defensive medicine and unnecessary testing.

The survey of more than 3000 physicians showed that 92% admitted practicing defensive medicine and that, based on physician responses, the annual estimated cost of defensive medicine in the US each year is $650 billion to $850 billion – accounting for $1 out of every $4 spent on US health care.

Of course, the physicians in the survey shouldn't be trusted since they're obviously biased and worried.

Instead, you should listen to the malpractice trial lawyers who have a much clearer opinion about why physicians order so many unnecessary tests and why 'defensive medicine' really doesn't impact the availablity of health care. Here's what lawyers think:

Lawyers who represent patients say one way to slash the exorbitant cost of health care would be to cut down on errors doctors make so that fewer cases wind up in the legal system. The American Association of Justice, an advocacy group for plaintiffs' lawyers, suggests that hospitals should more aggressively report mistakes and state medical boards should impose stiffer penalties on doctors who make them.

As a matter of public policy, it might make sense to spend less money as a society on unnecessary tests. But Jack McGehee, a Houston-based plaintiffs' lawyer, says it is difficult to convince ailing patients that their doctor should order fewer tests.

Ah the clarity that lawyers bring to an argument. It brings a tear to my eye.

While your cosmetic practice is probably not ordering tests, the same basic principals apply. Patients looking for vanity cosmetic treatments can be even more demanding of perfection since they're no expectation other than a perfect outcome.

Anyone have experience with this in a cosmetic practice?

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