Letters to the Editor

Healthcare fixes can rein in high costs

We must reduce healthcare costs if we are to serve more people or even continue serving the same ones. We have some factors in our healthcare expenditures that are massive wastes of money, most of which other countries don’t have.

These are some of my thoughts on fixes after 30 years of providing medical care in Miami-Dade to paying and non-paying patients:

1) Malpractice liability suits are a cause of much unnecessary care that is ordered to defend against potential suits. Some experts estimate that this adds 25 percent to 30 percent to costs of healthcare in South Florida. Most malpractice suits have nothing to do with malpractice or bad doctors. They are about imperfect outcomes and bad attorneys. We need real tort reform to reduce this waste of resources.

2) Burdensome paperwork is the scourge of modern healthcare, especially managed care. Doctors and hospitals must use up expensive resources to deal with this expanding mountain of documentation, most of which is never read.

3) The insurance companies, especially managed care, waste another huge share of healthcare dollars on clerical, middle management and executive staff, some of whom draw exorbitant salaries and while denying care in the name of case management. Managed care is less about managing care and more about managing your money into their own pockets.

4) Doctors have always been willing to provide care for those unable to pay. But many refuse to work for free and then get sued for their kindness by the greedy attorneys. We should provide a program whereby doctors who treat for little or no reimbursement are shielded from frivolous lawsuits and also can deduct their unpaid bills as a loss against their income. Then you’ll see more doctors willing to treat indigent and Medicaid patients.

Ira Jacobson M.D.,

Coral Gables