Georgia taxpayers could save nearly $7 billion within 10 years
if the Legislature replaced the state's medical malpractice system
with a no-blame, administrative Patients' Compensation System
(PCS), according to two studies by the healthcare economics firm
study found that Georgia taxpayers could save $3.1 billion in
Medicaid costs during the first decade of a PCS. In addition,
taxpayers would save an additional $3.8 billion over 10 years in
the State Health Benefit Plan which insures almost 700,000 state
employees, according to the second
study. Each study was peer reviewed and affirmed by a scholar
at the Economics Department at Emory University.
"Georgia is in a horrific financial bind due to escalating
healthcare costs, primarily due to Medicaid," said Wayne Oliver,
executive director of Patients for Fair Compensation. "This is an
astounding savings that policy makers under the Gold Dome must take
into consideration as they examine the PCS proposal and its
multiple benefits for Georgia."
The Georgia Senate is considering Senate Bill 141 which would
replace the current medical liability system and replace it with a
no-blame, administrative PCS. Doctors and hospitals would no longer
be sued and harmed patients would instead file claims before a
panel of medical experts. If the panel deemed a "medical injury"
had occurred, the patient would have their claim sent to a
compensation office for compensation - and at an amount no
different than under the current legal system.
A report late last year compiled by BioScience Valuation and
reviewed by David E. Frisvold Ph.D. of the Department of Economics
at Emory University found that under a PCS, physicians would change
their behavior when it comes to the practice of defensive medicine,
or ordering unnecessary tests and procedures than are medically
necessary to keep from being sued. Yearly savings for Georgia
taxpayers for the state Medicaid program would start at $36 million
annually and grow to $380 million annually after the first five
years, according to BioScience Valuation.
When it comes to the State Health Benefit Plan, which insures
almost 700,000 state employees, retirees and their families, the
savings for state taxpayers would start at $40 million annually and
grow to $460 million annually after five years.
"These are real dollars that lawmakers could use to help prevent
drastic cuts to the state budget," Oliver said. "Better yet, it
could even go to help pay for raises for state employees or other
neglected items in the state budget."