Patrick: Defensive Medicine Legislation is Part of Payment Reform Bill

Governor Patrick told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce this morning that the payment reform legislation he’s filing will include two provisions to curb the practice of defensive medicine.

He said the bill will protect physicians’ apologies from the legal discovery process; and require a 180-day period after an adverse event, to provide time for a root-cause analysis of the event before the filing of any malpractice claim.

MMS President Dr. Alice Coombs said these provisions would curb defensive medicine, and she’s “very encouraged” by the Governor’s remarks on that issue. “We have long held that the practice of defensive medicine contributes to the cost of care,” she said. If these provisions are enacted, “that will change behavior in and of itself.”

Here’s a clip of Dr. Coombs’ interview with State House News Service:

Here’s a piece of Dr. Coombs’ video interview with WBUR’s blog “Commonhealth.”

The Governor also said the physician participation in global payments will be voluntary – a fundamental part of our platform for payment reform. An unidentified administration official was quoted in the Boston Globe this morning: “The biggest downside to requiring global payments is that this is an experiment that hasn’t been done before. … We want to leave the field open as we learn what is effective.”

The Governor’s 20-minute speech before a packed hotel ballroom in Boston retraced the state’s success in expanding access to insurance coverage. “It’s been a resounding success and rightfully serves as a model for the rest of the nation – but it costs too much.” He said that Massachusetts’ high costs “have nothing to do” with the state’s universal coverage law. He noted it’s a nationwide problem, on which Massachusetts can again lead the nation.

He said, “If anyone is going to crack the code of cost containment, it will be we here in Massachusetts.”

The full text of the legislation is available here. (.pdf, 52 pages, 1 MB)

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kevin Pho, M.D. and MA Medical Society, BancTec . BancTec said: RT @massmedical: Gov Patrick: Payment reform bill will address defensive medicine Also – MD participation will be v … […]

  2. […] Here’s Dr. Coombs this morning, immediately after Gov. Patrick’s speech (and if you want more, see the piece today on the MMS website): […]