Retired HCA president supports bold plan to reduce healthcare costs

A move to reform Georgia's medical malpractice system has garnered the support of Charles R. Evans, retired president of Hospital Corporation of America, Eastern Group, and current president of International Health Services Group — a social enterprise Mr. Evans founded to support health services development in underserved areas of the world.

A proposal before the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee calls for repealing Georgia's medical malpractice system and replacing it with an administrative model. Under the proposed Patients' Compensation System, medical malpractice cases would be brought before an administrative panel of healthcare experts and an administrative law judge rather than the court.

"During my 40 years of leading hospitals, I can say that the majority of physicians I met have been sued — many under frivolous circumstances. As a result, doctors have changed their behavior to practice wasteful defensive medicine to protect themselves," wrote Mr. Evans in a recent Gwinnnett Daily Post opinion piece.

Mr. Evans argues physicians would no longer need to practice defensive medicine under the PCS model.

"Patients would be compensated in an amount similar to what they would receive after years in the legal system. This no-blame, administrative model would eliminate the adversarial relationship between patient and doctor and allow physicians to acknowledge their errors without fear of litigation," wrote Mr. Evans.

According to a Medscape poll, the threat or malpractice influences physician decision-making. The survey of roughly 4,000 primary care physicians and specialists found physicians who had been previously named in a malpractice lawsuit were more likely to practice defensive medicine.

Other states, including Florida and Tennessee, are considering similar proposals to the one in Georgia.

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