Friday, September 20, 2013

Oregon Med Mal Reform

A followup to my critique of Public Citizen's complaint about Oregon's Medical Malpractice reform.  I said that the world outside the National Practitioner Data Bank is much larger than the world inside it.  For a vivid illustration of how much bigger it is, see this post from Adrianna McIntyre at Incidental Economist.  Around 3%-4% of hospitalizations result in injuries due to medical care, and 1% result in injuries due to substandard care.  Of the Injuries due to substandard care only 2% result in medical malpractice claims.

Reversing that, for every medical malpractice prompted by an injury caused by substandard care during a hospitalization, there are 50 injuries caused by substandard care that didn't prompt a claim plus another 100 - 150 injuries caused by standard care.

Public Citizen worries about the information lost by decreasing the number of claims entering the little green slice that represents the medical malpractice system.  In a world where that reporting could be maintained cost-free, sure we'd be better off with it.  But is maintaining current reporting so important that it's worth discouraging reforms that would increase reporting and scrutiny of the vast world now outside the medical malpractice system?

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