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How the Affordable Care Act May Affect Medical Malpractice

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August 14, 2014 | Medical Malpractice |


A June 2014 article in Insurance Journal suggested that the Affordable Care Act, by changing how medicine is practiced, is also going to change how medical malpractice is viewed and, more importantly, litigated.

The old paradigm of people having a single family doctor may be giving way to a concept called an accountable care organization, or ACO, that consists of a number of professionals who will see to a patient’s healthcare needs. This change is the result of hospitals buying up private practices and blending them into their business models.

The Hospitalist

A relatively new sort of doctor, called a hospitalist, is coming into being. A hospitalist’s role is to monitor a person’s hospital stay and coordinate the care they receive, a role once undertaken by a family physician. The physician will diagnosis patients outside a hospital setting and perform followups once the hospital stay is completed. Some roles, such as surgeons and nurses, will remain familiar, though the latter will take up more responsibilities.

Increased Litigation

This new way of dispensing healthcare, which detaches the traditional relationship between patient and physician, will likely lead to more medical malpractice litigation. Responsibility for medical malpractice will also more likely be assumed more collectively—by hospitals and ACOs, rather than by individual physicians. Errors will likely be as much a result of miscommunication as they are from individual mistakes, which will increase the exposure of healthcare organizations like hospitals to litigation.

Healthcare Reform

The debate continues over healthcare reform and how its various flaws can be fixed, making predictions uncertain for how medical practice will be handled. It will depend on how healthcare reform shapes up as political winds continue to shift.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of medical malpractice, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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