Thursday, April 20, 2006

Welcome to Skull & Bones General Hospital

It appears that the Wisconsin Hospital Association wants to be a secret society. According to a story today, they are not very happy that Governor Doyle vetoed a bill earlier this week that THEY WROTE.

The governor vetoed a bill that would have prevented lawyers from subpoenaing information on health care quality when suing hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association, which helped write the bill, said it was needed to encourage hospitals to collect and analyze information on mistakes and other so-called adverse events. That is necessary for hospitals to learn how mistakes can be prevented. At the same time, hospitals worry that information could be used against them in malpractice lawsuits, the association contends.

But opponents - including the governor and Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager - contend that the legislation would have given hospitals sweeping privileges to keep information secret.

Now I could easily get distracted by the story reporting that these lobbyists are writing our bills in Wisconsin, but I'll fight the urge and stay focused.

The WHA claims that this data should be hidden because it's secrecy will help "to continue and encourage the multiple health care reporting and (quality) initiatives that Wisconsin has been engaged in."

Say what?

So you damage someone through medical malpractice and the first thing you do to improve quality is to sweep everything under the carpet? How does it help improve quality when you have no one holding you accountable? Wouldn't the fact that you screwed up be the driving force behind wanting to improve quality?

Allow me to make a comparison. If I had a bad accident in which I was at fault and the other person was going to sue me, would it be appropriate to hide my driving record from them or their attorneys? I could use the same excuse as the WHA couldn't I?

"Well, you see sir, I want to improve the quality of my driving therefore I don't want you to see how bad my driving was in the past. I must hide my driving records because that will make me drive better in the future."

Doesn't that sound crazy?

Let's call this legislation what it really is, a preemptive strike against victims of medical malpractice before they have even entered a courthouse.

1 comment: said...

These same folks are burned that trial lawyers are actually able to help people piece part of their lives back together through lawsuits from this sort of negligence.

Sadly, the trial lawyers have chosen to be their own worst enemy; a problem I explored a few weeks ago.

Another problem with the system is the disconnect between medical malpractice insurance and bad doctors and/or hospitals. For instance, if a doctor causes harm to a patient through negligence and gets sued for that negligence, his premiums don't go up. Wouldn't it make more sense that doctors who have a higher incidence of lawsuits pay higher malpractice insurance?