Each week during this legislative session, we have seen efforts to escape liability. The cardiologists have said they will not join SustiNet unless they are given safe harbor; emergency room docs are seeking legislation that would exempt them of liability. We have just sent a letter to all legislators and I thought I would share it with you.
Re: A patient perspective on liability PROTECTION.
What do I want for you as a health care consumer? Perhaps the best way to answer that question is by telling you what I do not want.
I do not want you to go into the hospital and get an infection you did not have when you went in. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 100,000people die each year from preventable health care - acquired infections (HAIs). A Pennsylvania study indicates a 9.4% mortality rate for patients with health care - acquired infections, compared to 1.89% mortality rate for patients without infection. This same study finds the average hospital stay for a patient with an infection is 21.9 days, compared to 4.9 dayswithout infection. Decreasing the rate of HAIs in our state's hospitals will not only reduce the number of patient injuries suffered by our citizens, it will alsoreduce our state's healthcare costs.
I do not want you to suffer preventable harm while hospitalized. According to the Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) 2010 report, one out of seven patients suffers preventable harm while hospitalized. A 2011 report by HealthGrades finds 500,000 preventable hospital deaths in the last ten years.
I do not want you to unknowingly seek medical care from a repeat offender - a doctor WHO REPEATEDLY injures patients, yet is not disciplined and continues to (MAL)practice. State medical boards collectively failed to discipline 55% of the nation's doctors who had their clinical privileges revoked or restricted by the hospitals where they worked. Our state's Medical Examining Board ranks 47th in the nation in taking action against doctors who injure their patients.
I do not want you to experience a medication error. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports that there is one medication error per patient per hospital day.
I do not want you to receive medical care that is influenced by conflicts of interest. ProPublica has initiated Dollars for Docs, a campaign for consumer transparency to disclose financial ties between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry they too often seem to serve.
What I do want for you, when inevitably you or your loved one becomes a patient, is access to justice should you suffer a preventable medical injury caused by negligence.
What I do want for you are doctors who are concerned MORE about patient safety and less about litigation.
If the goal of healthcare is to protect and improve the health of our citizens, then legislation must be guided by a patient-centric moral compass. Patient injuries are, after all, non-partisan. Considering the number of adverse events that occur, I would expect far more litigation arising from these health care errors.
Please put patients first.