By Matt Gracey
Already we are seeing doctors either sell out to hospitals or join mega groups. Many of those hospitals’ doctors enjoy sovereign immunity, as do VA doctors and many other public hospital doctors. Many of the mega groups, at least in South Florida, do not require or even encourage their doctors to be insured, nor do most any hospitals in Florida these days. So where does that leave the mostly insured solo and small-practice doctors in the liability-claims arena? Well, just like the insured- versus uninsured-patients issues, eventually the insureds will carry a much heavier risk load than the uninsured because they are carrying risk for themselves and for every other doctor without coverage to whom they are at all connected in a patient’s care.
In my opinion, this will lead to more cries of “class warfare” as those small practice doctors get sued more often just because they are still trying to responsibly stand. Layer on top of that some 30 million new patients in the system and I predict that malpractice insurance for the smaller doctors could increase to unaffordable levels. So, what happens then? Either the government comes up with an “all must be insured” solution, like ObamaCare has done on the patient level, or we must pass serious, effective tort reform that stops the frivolous suits cold and efficiently helps injured patients without giving away a huge portion of the claims payments to “frictional costs,” the nice way to say