This is part 4 of a 4 part series on the business of medical coding.
This is the final installment of this four-part series.
Between lawsuits and new regulations about “quality”, there is a growing social assault on the practice of good medicine, which includes a certain amount of risk-taking, innovation, and professional autonomy. The problem lies in the unrealistic desire to have it both ways—meaning no possibility of a bad outcome, along with low cost. That these two needs are largely at odds has been ignored for decades. There is no financial incentive for a physician to provide elective services to a high-risk patient—even if that physician is the best in the world at performing it.
A recent New England Journal of Medicine study found most physicians will be sued for malpractice during their career. By age 65, more than 75% of physicians in low-risk specialties such as family medicine and 99% of physicians in high-risk specialties such as surgery will have been sued.
One study reveals that the cost of medical malpractice in the United States is running at about $55.6 billion a year – $45.6 billion of it is spent on defensive medicine practiced by physicians seeking to stay clear of lawsuits.
The problems associated with malpractice are known to include physician health issues. Medical Malpractice Stress Syndrome (MMSS) is closely related to traumatic stress disorders, and includes feelings of intense shame, depression, anger, panic, and fatigue.