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Bill adds protection against medical malpractice

Residents in New Mexico may be interested in learning more about legislation that could provide physicians with new protection from medical malpractice lawsuits. The new bill almost went unnoticed by the major media outlets but did receive significant support from both political parties. The new legislation would require physicians to have their performance evaluated by the government on a zero to 100 scale.

However, the legislation also prohibits patients from suing physicians for operating beneath duty of care standards if the services were rendered under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid or Medicare. The terminology in the new provisions has been described as using the exact same wording as the proposal submitted by insurers and doctors. Proponents of the new bill claim that the federal standards traditionally imposed on these programs are far more stringent than the duty of care established by the medical industry.

Insurers, Medicaid and Medicare already require significant reporting from physicians in an attempt to accurately assess the quality of care being given to patients. In turn, physicians' pay is based on how they perform against the average metrics derived from the collected data. Many contend that the scrutiny applied by these federal programs has been projected to increase with time. Doctors in the medical industry have already expressed fear of the increase in legal risks that could arise from the new emphasis on quality metrics.

Legal counsel may still be able to assist patients who have been injured as a result of medial error. Lawyers may be prepared to investigate the incident and develop a legal strategy for helping the injured patient recover restitution for the resulting damages. Plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases are typically entitled to receive compensation for corrective procedures, medical costs and other hardships that are were caused by the hospital or physician errors.

Source:New York Times, "House Provision Offers Doctors More Protection Against Malpractice Suits," Robert Pear, March 30, 2015

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