by Senator Trip Pittman
Originally published AL.com on April 28, 2016
It’s likely happened to virtually every one of us. We visit a doctor’s office, an urgent care center or an emergency room with an ailment ranging from a broken bone to stomach ache to chest pains. The medical professionals diagnose the problem and order treatment.
However, due to concerns about being sued for medical malpractice, the physician will order an x-ray, CT scan, blood work or an MRI to reaffirm diagnosis – at times at the prompting of the patient. The common rationale is the physician does this to back up their opinion in case there is a lawsuit.
This practice is known as “defensive medicine,” and BioScience Valuation, an independent healthcare economics firm says the annual cost of defensive medicine exceeds $10 billion annually just in the State of Alabama.
Whether you have private insurance or Medicaid, physicians order such unnecessary tests as they fear litigation as it could jeopardize their entire practice and life savings. That is why several of us in the state Senate have introduced a new proposal that would reduce defensive medicine – and bring savings to the state budget.