Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

The Commentaries: A Summary

Academic journal article Frontiers of Health Services Management

The Commentaries: A Summary

Article excerpt

ACCORDING To KAREN Ignagni in her lead article for this issue of Frontiers, malpractice costs can be brought under control, but this must be done while ensuring quality care for the patient. Ignagni presents several steps toward solving the medical malpractice crisis. To provide other viewpoints as well as reaction to Ignagni's article, we have asked four esteemed experts on the subject to comment. All of our commentators agree that a crisis exists, but they differ in their opinions on the reasons for the crisis and what to do about it.

A. Gordon McAleer, FACHE, president and CEO of Lewistown Hospital in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, is our first commentator. McAleer relates his hospital's successful response to the virtual disappearance of the commercial market for medical liability insurance. In addition, he shares what he learned from this experience as well as solutions for other CEOS dealing with the medical malpractice crisis.

Mary Alexander, J.D., is president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America in Washington, DC. She asserts that the health insurance industry, by trying to recoup its losses in the stock market, is responsible for the current medical malpractice crisis. Alexander suggests that enacting tort reform and imposing caps on noneconomic damages will not solve the crisis and only serves to take away legal rights from injured parties. As an alternative, she recommends that reform efforts be aimed at the insurance industry and includes specific actions toward this end.

Lawrence E. Smarr, the author of our third commentary, is president of the Physician Insurers Association of America in Rockville, Maryland. He challenges the claim that the insurance industry is simply raising rates to make up for losses in the stock market and cites evidence supporting his assertions. …

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