November 21, 2012, by Jeff English
There isn't a day that goes by that doctors don't order more tests
than are medically necessary to keep from being sued.
In our litigious climate where almost any patient is a potential
plaintiff, doctors -- no matter how much they want to help reduce
the cost of health care - almost always practice defensive medicine
and order unnecessary tests and procedures. It puts their minds at
rest and makes patients happy while preventing the outside chance
of a lawsuit.
A recent study found that one in four dollars spent on medical
care in Georgia is for unnecessary procedures such as x-rays, blood
work, CT scans and MRIs. This costs consumers about $14 billion
annually. Eighty-two percent of Georgia physicians said they
practice defensive medicine.
And doctors too are paying the price in enormous malpractice
premiums as they try to protect themselves from the next
This inefficient system is not getting any better despite modest
changes to Georgia's tort laws adopted in 2005.
Escalating health care costs combined with the practice of
defensive medicine make for bad outcomes in health care for both
patient and doctor. The only way to cure the system is to outright
replace it with a new model that is compassionate to patients and
fairly compensates them if they are injured by a doctor. That model
is one being proposed to the General Assembly called a Patients
Patients for Fair Compensation is asking Georgia lawmakers to
consider a model that would remove the wedge between patient and
doctor and allow physicians to choose the wisest treatment for
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