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Shapiro & Appleton

Does Your Doctor Make the Grade? Physician Report Cards Coming Soon

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Medicare is planning to allow insurance companies, consumer groups and employers access to the government’s extensive claims database in order to produce report cards on doctors and hospitals. The goal is to ensure consumers have more information when looking for a specialist or particular hospital for treatment. Doctors will be identified through Medicare files, according to the Virginian-Pilot.

The president of Pacific Business Group on Health pointed out that most people pick doctors blindly. They do very little research or they just go to a doctor who is in their insurance network. It is not unreasonable to argue that the blind selection of doctors may contribute to medical malpractice injuries.

Under the new system, if you choose a doctor who is graded at a D+, at least you will know you are taking a risk. Efforts to rate physicians using limited private insurance data ave been undertaken, but those projects have largely been limited to primary care doctors. This isn’t very helpful for patients looking for specialists in brain or heart surgery. Critics argue that doctors should not be subjected to some arbitrary grading process. However, rating systems are quite common in many professions.

For example, lawyers are subjected to various rating agencies. Our firm, for instance, is rated by U.S. News & World Report, Martindale-Hubbell, Avvo and other authorities. Fortunately, our firm has no “D+” grades. In fact, our firm has been recognized as one of the best Virginia injury law firms for personal injury litigation, and I have been recognized as one of the best medical malpractice lawyers in Virginia. Two other attorneys with our firm have 10, or superb, ratings on Avvo.

Before the new system is set up to rate doctors, many people will still be picking doctors blindly. Do not let this happen to you. Be prepared when you visit with a doctor. Get important information about the questions to ask your doctor so you can try to avoid
medical malpractice injuries in our consumer report.

PA
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