A bipartisan bill introduced by two members of the House of Representatives seeks to reduce malpractice risk against Medicare and Medicaid providers—a move that intends to lower healthcare costs and improve patient care.
H.R. 4106, colloquially known as the “Saving Lives, Saving Costs Act,” is a joint effort between Reps. Andy Barr (R-KY) and Ami Bera (D-CA) to establish a safe harbor system from medical malpractice litigation by creating a set of “evidence-based clinical-practice guidelines.”
These guidelines, which are to be established by professional organizations “with relevant expertise,” can be invoked by a defendant in the event of a malpractice lawsuit.
Introduced last week, the bill also includes language that gives providers the right to remove lawsuits from state to Federal courts.
Congressmen Barr and Bera believe that the introduction of this bill can help reform a “defensive medicine” system that has the potential to reduce healthcare spending by up to $64 billion over the next 10 years.
Defensive medicine relates to physicians or providers, who out of fear of possible litigation, implement care choices that protect the physician or provider legally—like ordering unnecessary tests and procedures—but may not be what evidence says is the best option for the patient.
“Our bill will lead to better, more affordable, evidence-based patient care by removing the need for physicians to worry about practicing defensive medicine, instead allowing them to focus on their patients’ actual needs,” said Congressman Barr in a statement.
Written by Jason Oliva