For plaintiffs who are victims of a medical error, filing a malpractice claim can result in an award of monetary compensation. A plaintiff has the burden of proving a doctor fell short in the care provided, which can be a challenge. Juries often don’t understand the specific professional obligations of doctors, and doctors can put up their own expert witnesses to testify that the care they offered was fine. The challenges in demonstrating that a doctor failed to fulfill his professional duty is one reason why it is very important for plaintiffs in malpractice cases to be represented by experienced Atlanta malpractice lawyers.
In some malpractice claims, doctors actually violated federal guidelines or safety standards. When this happens, it can make it easier for those who have been harmed by the medical errors to prove negligence. Now, however, a new proposed bill would aim to curtail this practice to a certain extent and limit the kinds of evidence plaintiffs can use to prove a doctor’s actions fell below the standard of care.
Doctors Lobby to Prohibit Certain Evidence in Malpractice Cases
The federal government has been increasing its oversight of doctors who receive Medicaid and Medicare payments, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services has indicated that the goal is for all payments to be tied to quality control measures within the next three years. As the New York Times reports, a bill recently passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support requiring that doctors receive a quality care rating of 0 to 100.
There are specific metrics established that are used to determine the quality of care that a doctor provides. These metrics logically could, and should, be used in by plaintiffs in malpractice claims. After all, they establish the official standards of what it is reasonable to expect medical care providers to do.
Unfortunately, doctors and insurance companies have lobbied the government to prevent the use of quality control standards as evidence in malpractice cases. The government appears to be listening, because the recent bill that the House passed included a provision that would prevent the standards (or evidence of failure to live up to them) from being used in lawsuits for medical malpractice.
Insurance experts from the University of Pennsylvania have indicated that it makes no sense not to consider these standards in malpractice cases. The AARP also has described this bill as troubling and problematic, since it is already customary for federal standards to be used in malpractice and negligence cases including claims involving nursing home negligence.
While these quality control standards are intended to improve the services and the treatments patients are receiving, it is illogical to prevent patients from also using them to make a case when things go wrong. Demonstrating that a doctor has failed to fulfill the obligations that Medicare and Medicaid determined are reasonable could be clear evidence that the provider has offered his patients substandard care and should be liable for resulting losses due to his malpractice.
The Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury caused by a negligent doctor. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.