Malpractice Insurance Effects on Health Care

Tamsen Butler
Upset Doctor

The malpractice insurance effects on health care are profound. Malpractice lawsuits are costly, leaving both medical providers and insurance companies reluctant to approve procedures that may result in malpractice suits.

Malpractice Insurance Explained

Malpractice insurance is a form of liability insurance for medical providers. This insurance covers the costs associated with a malpractice lawsuit, which may include the legal costs as well as any monetary amount that is ordered to be paid to the patient or the patient's family.

The threat of malpractice lawsuits is substantial. Even the most skilled physicians may find themselves subject to a malpractice lawsuit, and whether the physician is found to be without fault or is deemed completely responsible for the medical problem, the lawsuit can cost time and money to deal with. For these reasons, it is advisable for every medical professional to have adequate malpractice insurance. This does not only pertain to physicians, but also for nurses, psychotherapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and any other medical professional who comes into direct contact with patients.

Malpractice Insurance Effects on Health Care Overall

Since malpractice insurance is an absolute must for medical professionals, the cost of carrying this type of coverage is oftentimes passed along to consumers in the form of higher fees for doctor visits and procedures.

While malpractice insurance may provide some comfort and relief to medical professionals, it does not stop them from being reluctant to do certain medical procedures that may result in malpractice lawsuits. A prime example of this includes allowing pregnant mothers to attempt a vaginal birth after previously having a C-section. This procedure, known as a VBAC, is considered risky by insurance companies because of the increased likelihood for medical complications. For this reason, some mothers who want to attempt a VBAC may find that not only will doctors not agree to allow the mother to attempt a VBAC, but the medical insurance company will not approve the procedure for payment either. The risk of a resulting malpractice insurance lawsuit is simply too great, according to insurance companies that will not approve a VBAC, so in this instance malpractice insurance does not dissuade doctors from denying mothers the opportunity to try for a VBAC instead of automatically signing up for a C-section birth.

Malpractice insurance policies may also dictate what doctors and hospitals can and cannot allow. Using the same example of a mother in labor, some hospitals will not allow the videotaping of births because the recorded images might later be used as evidence in a malpractice lawsuit.

The Positives

Malpractice insurance also has a positive effect on health care. Some medical professionals may be willing to perform risky procedures because of the protection the malpractice insurance affords them. The important thing is for these medical professionals to work within the boundaries of their coverage. Malpractice insurance may not provide coverage to a medical professional who does not perform within his or her professional capacity.

Looking at malpractice insurance in broader terms, this type of coverage -although costly- allows medical professionals to do their jobs without fearing that a lawsuit will bankrupt their entire practice. For this reason, the malpractice insurance effects on health care are quite positive. Without malpractice insurance, far too many medical professionals would be incredibly reluctant to do certain life-saving procedures from fear of getting sued.

Getting Malpractice Insurance

Malpractice insurance premiums should be viewed as a necessary expense for medical professionals. Practitioners can oftentimes find reduced premiums by purchasing coverage through a professional association that has an affiliation with an insurance company, but even if the premiums are still high, it is coverage that should not be skipped.

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Malpractice Insurance Effects on Health Care