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Two-thirds of Georgia voters believe tort reform is necessary.

According to a recent poll released by Patients for Fair Compensation, two-thirds of Georgia voters believe that the state’s tort system should be reformed. The study was conducted by the non-profit as part of its efforts to promote legislation that would replace the state’s existing medical malpractice system with an administrative model similar to a worker’s compensation system. Over the next few months, the Georgia Senate will hold five hearings to discuss the legislation. The next hearing is scheduled for September 24.

The Georgia Senate is currently considering a bill that would change how medical malpractice claims are handled.

If successfully enacted into law, Senate Bill 141 would bar medical malpractice suits against doctors and hospitals. Instead, a panel of healthcare experts would review cases and determine whether medical malpractice claims are valid and warrant monetary compensation. The new system would be funded using medical malpractice premiums.

Over 60 percent of Georgia voters believe that physicians practice defensive medicine.

The study, which was conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, revealed that over 60 percent of Georgia voters believe that doctors practice defensive medicine– conducting needless tests and procedures, and prescribing medications in an effort to prevent litigation. In addition, nearly 80 percent of Georgia voters said that they viewed the practice of defensive medicine as having a negative impact on healthcare.

In Georgia, $14 billion a year is spent on unnecessary healthcare costs.

Estimates from Gallup attribute one in four U.S. healthcare dollars to unnecessary spending. In Georgia, this amounts to a total of $14 billion annually, or $1,400 per person per year. The poll found that 67 percent of Georgians believe that the cost of healthcare is too high. One-third of individuals blame insurance companies for high costs and 22 percent believe that the government is responsible for the high cost of healthcare.

Wayne Oliver, executive director of Patients for Fair Compensation, says that Georgians know that extra tests, procedures, and medications come at a price, typically in the form of higher insurance premiums, co-pays, and out of pocket expenses. According to Oliver, Georgians want to see changes that would bring down healthcare costs. He says that the Patients Compensation System which is currently under consideration by the Georgia Senate would achieve this goal.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of negligence on the part of a healthcare provider, or if your loved one has been killed as a result of negligence on the part of a healthcare provider, you should contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case and advise you regarding whether you are entitled to compensation for your losses.

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