Effect of eliminating compensation for pain and suffering on the outcome of insurance claims for whiplash injury.
BACKGROUND AND METHODS: The incidence and prognosis of whiplash injury from motor vehicle collisions may be related to eligibility for compensation for pain and suffering. On January 1, 1995, the tort-compensation system for traffic injuries, which included payments for pain and suffering, in Saskatchewan, Canada, was changed to a no-fault system, which did not include such payments. To determine whether this change was associated with a decrease in claims and improved recovery after whiplash injury, we studied a population-based cohort of persons who filed insurance claims for traffic injuries between July 1, 1994, and December 31, 1995. RESULTS: Of 9006 potentially eligible claimants, 7462 (83 percent) met our criteria for whiplash injury. The six-month cumulative incidence of claims was 417 per 100,000 persons in the last six months of the tort system, as compared with 302 and 296 per 100,000, respectively, in the first and second six-month periods of the no-fault system. The incidence of claims was higher for women than for men in each period; the incidence decreased by 43 percent for men and by 15 percent for women between the tort period and the two no-fault periods combined. The median time from the date of injury to the closure of a claim decreased from 433 days (95 percent confidence interval, 409 to 457) to 194 days (95 percent confidence interval, 182 to 206) and 203 days (95 percent confidence interval, 193 to 213), respectively. The intensity of neck pain, the level of physical functioning, and the presence or absence of depressive symptoms were strongly associated with the time to claim closure in both systems. CONCLUSIONS: The elimination of compensation for pain and suffering is associated with a decreased incidence and improved prognosis of whiplash injury. (+info)
No-fault malparactice insurance. Proximate cause and the quality of medical care.
No-fault medical malpractice insurance has been proposed as an alternative to the present tort liability approach. Statistical examination of the concept of proximate cause reveals not only that the question of acceptable care, and therefore of fault, is unavoidable in identifying patients deserving compensation, but also that specifying fault in an individual case is scientifically untenable. A simple formula for a Coefficient of Causality clarifies the question of proximate cause in existing trial practices and suggests that many of the threats associated with malpractice suits arise from the structure of the tort-insurance system rather than from professional responsibility for medical injury. The concepts could provide the basis for a revised claims and compensation procedure. (+info)
The patients' complaints system in New Zealand.
Since 1996 New Zealand has had a Code of Patients' Rights enforceable by complaints to an independent ombudsman. Patients are entitled to receive health care of an appropriate standard, to give informed consent, and to complain to a health commissioner about perceived malpractice. The commissioner investigates and reports on complaints, recommends practice changes by providers, is a gatekeeper to discipline by professional boards, and acts as a public advocate for patient safety. In this paper the current commissioner describes New Zealand's experience with the patients' complaints system and discusses the implications for the quality of health care. (+info)
Mold insurance: crafting coverage for a spreading problem.
Mold contamination is a growing concern for homeowners in terms of both physical health and insurance. Health experts, although they concede that exposure to mold can cause respiratory illnesses, are calling for further research into other mold-related health effects and for development of standards for mold sampling and data analysis. The insurance industry is grappling with how---and whether---to provide coverage for household damage caused by mold, while some state and federal legislators are working to pass laws regarding mold testing and insurance. (+info)
The medical malpractice problem, and some possible solutions.
The solutions to the problems of medical malpractice and malpractice insurance coverage are primarily in the hands of state legislatures. Legislation enacted has been primarily palliative, to assure continued availability of professional liability insurance. Unfortunately, no limit can be placed on the costs of such coverage. Unfortunately, too, no long-term solution has been forthcoming. Any long-term solution must encompass some method or methods of reducing injuries to patients and at the same time changing the system from defense of the physician to compensation of the patient. If such changes are not forthcoming, physicians will become uninsurable and the private practice of medicine as we now know it will disappear in this country. (+info)
Medicare program; third party liability insurance regulations. Final rule with comment period.
This final rule with comment period removes Sec. 411.54(c)(2) and a portion of Sec. 489.20(g) from our regulations. These regulations were held by a court to be inconsistent with the Medicare Secondary Payer provisions that are found in section 1862(b)(2)(a) of the Social Security Act. Specifically, the court held that Sec. 411.54(c)(2) and a portion of Sec. 489.20(g) are unenforceable to the extent that these regulations require providers and suppliers to only bill Medicare and prohibits them from billing a liability insurer or asserting or maintaining a lien against a beneficiary's liability insurance settlement during the "promptly" period. (+info)
Preventable in-hospital medical injury under the "no fault" system in New Zealand.
OBJECTIVES: To describe the pattern of preventable in-hospital medical injury under the "no fault" system and to assess the level of serious preventable patient harm. DESIGN: Cross sectional survey using a two stage retrospective assessment of medical records conducted by structured implicit review. SETTING: General hospitals with over 100 beds providing acute care in New Zealand. PARTICIPANTS: A sample of 6579 patients admitted in 1998 to 13 hospitals selected by stratified systematic list sample. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Occurrence, preventability, and impact of adverse events. RESULTS: Over 5% of admissions were associated with a preventable in-hospital event, of which nearly half had an element of systems failure. The elderly, ethnic minority groups, and particular clinical areas were at higher risk. The chances of a patient experiencing a serious preventable adverse event subsequent to hospital admission were just under 1%, a figure close to published results from comparable studies under tort. On average, these events required an additional 4 weeks in hospital. System related issues of protocol use and development, communication, and organisation, as well as requirements for consultation and education, were pre-eminent. CONCLUSIONS: The risk of serious preventable in-hospital medical injury for patients in New Zealand, a well established "no fault" jurisdiction, is within the range reported in comparable investigations under tort. (+info)
One state's response to the malpractice insurance crisis: North Carolina's Rural Obstetrical Care Incentive Program.
In the period 1985-89, there was a severe drop in obstetrical services in rural areas of North Carolina, partly because of rising malpractice insurance rates. The State government responded with the Rural Obstetrical Care Incentive (ROCI) Program that provides a malpractice insurance subsidy of up to $6,500 per participating physician per year. Enacted into law in 1988, the ROCI Program was expanded in 1991, making certified nurse midwives eligible to receive subsidies of up to $3,000 per year. To participate, practitioners must provide obstetrical care to all women, regardless of their ability to pay for services. Total funding for the program has increased from $240,000 to $840,000, in spite of extreme budgetary constraints faced by the State. The program and how its implementation has maintained or increased access to obstetrical care in participating counties are described on the basis of site visits to local health departments in participating counties and data from the North Carolina Division of Maternal and Child Health. The program is of significance to policy makers nationwide as both a response to rising malpractice insurance rates and reduced access to obstetrical care in rural areas, and as an innovative, nontraditional State program in which the locus of decision making is at the county level. (+info)