A bill that was overwhelmingly passed by the United States House of Representatives in March would provide physicians in Indiana and throughout the country with additional and likely unnecessary protections against medical malpractice claims. Under the bill, patients would be prohibited from introducing evidence in a malpractice lawsuit regarding a doctor’s federal performance ratings that are now required under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Medicare. Interestingly, the language of the bill is almost identical to that advocated for by medical professionals and their insurers.
Currently, physicians are required to report information used to evaluate the quality of care they provide to federally insured patients based on a scale of zero to 100. Sample questions include how many patients receive smoking cessation counseling or become infected following a surgical procedure. Those performance measures are then used to calculate the rate at which each medical professional is paid by a federal insurer. In addition, some private insurers have transitioned towards using a performance-based payment system as well. The nation’s Secretary of Health and Human Services recently announced that her goal was to ensure all Medicare payments would be tied to the treating doctor’s quality measures within the next three years.