The president of the Florida Association for Justice is after the medical malpractice industry too. He asserts it is not the state's legal environment that is causing the problem. However, he notes that one reason why there is an emergency room shortage is that doctors may not get paid enough or that their medical malpractice premiums are too high. He also suggests that:
[N]othing is being done to address the infinitely more complex issues driving a very real problem - the lack of ER doctors and physicians willing to take call. These include hospitals that no longer require doctors to take call duty as a prerequisite of enjoying practice privileges because they fear losing their physicians to other hospitals, coupled with doctors who place greater value on their families and personal lives and therefore are increasingly unwilling to take call.
In addition, Medicare, Medicaid and HMO reimbursement rates are too low to cover costs, while insurance rates have not dropped despite extreme caps on damages and plummeting claims and payout rates.
Fixing health care in Florida will not be easy. We can say for a certainty, however, that "tort reform" and "tort immunity" are not the solution, because Florida already offers its doctors - and especially emergency room physicians - some of the most generous legal immunities and protections in the country.
Policymakers should instead focus on real solutions to this problem, even though they may be more politically difficult. These could include addressing reimbursement rates, increasing requirements for doctors to take call as a condition of practice, requiring hospitals to shoulder more responsibility and implementing true medical malpractice insurance reform that requires insurance companies to pass their savings on to Florida's doctors. (emphasis added)
A lawyerly solution --turn the doctors into public utilities! That will cause doctors to rush to Florida!
via Tampa Trib.