How the Affordable Care Act is Affecting Medical Malpractice

affordable care act and medical malpractice

The Affordable Care Act has done more than simply change the health care system; it has also had a big effect on medical malpractice insurance.

Three insurance experts, using demographic and health industry trends, have attempted to forecaste the future of medical malpractice. Presenting their findings through a session titled ‘The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Medical Professional Liability,” the three experts concluded that there will be a huge rise in insured persons flooding the system, resulting in a diluted doctor-patient relationship. According to one expert, one-fourth of individuals did not have insurance before the Affordable Care Act. Within a few years, more than 22 million people will gain health insurance. The increase in number of insured persons will also increase the number of medical malpractice claims.

The traditional role of doctor-patient relationships is giving way to teams of individuals aiding a single patient. No longer will a doctor take a patient step-by-step through each process. Instead, other professionals will take on a more important part in the process. Nurses, for example, are taking on larger roles in the doctor’s office. A new type of doctor called a “hospitalist” has also begun to emerge, overseeing the stay of patients in the hospital, rather than their primary care physician.

This new model results in a new set of risks for medical malpractice insurers. Because there is no continuity of care, with patients going from professional to professional, the patient loses the personal connection. According to Kevin Bingham, a casualty actuary, “that’s how most med-mal claims start…with a loss of connection with the patient.”

Other factors, such as an increase in the elderly American population as well as the problem of obesity, will cause medical needs to rise. Some experts think that many physicians will choose to work for hospitals rather than have their own practice in the future. This will result in more hospitals being responsible for medical malpractice for their individual doctors. This could lead to a need to expand medical malpractice coverage.

Medical malpractice is not uncommon. Though healthcare may be changing, legal rights for those who have suffered from medical malpractice have not changed. It is important to seek the experienced legal advice of a medical malpractice attorney, like those at Fitzgerald Law Firm in New York, if you suspect you may be the victim of medical malpractice. Call the Fitzgerald Law Firm today for a free initial consultation.