This flashy little animated ad*, left, has recently begun popping up on leading medical blog , tempting physicians with the promise of a way to fight back against the much-maligned ratings site RateMDs.com.
The company advertised, , is an American medical malpractice insurance firm that specializes in fighting back against threatened lawsuits by threatening patients with counter-suits. (We wrote about Medical Justice on this blog last month .)
In Florida, physicians are sued at a rate of 15% per year. (FPIC 2004 Q1 statistics, Crittenden)The company, founded by Dr Jeffrey Segal (right) recommends a against would-be malpractice litigants: One, deter frivolous lawsuits. Two, warn perpetrators with a strategic Early Intervention Program. Three, prosecute counterclaims when necessary.
Matched by specialty, the overall suit rate for Medical Justice Plan Members practicing in Florida is less than 2%.
Is this merely deterrence or is it intimidation? Depends on your perspective. Patient advocate/website designer John Swapceinski (left), of RateMDs fame, is furious about the company's idea of having doctors ask patients to sign nondisclosure agreements before agreeing to treat them. The idea is that if a doctor proved that all his or her patients had signed such agreements then even an anonymous posting on RateMDs.com would have to be a breach of contract, thus giving physicians ammunition in the fight to remove negative ratings from the website. “I would have a real problem with that and I would try to put up a fight to prevent that from happening,” .
After that interview, Mr Swapceinski initiated , titled "Medical Injustice." Here are some of his cohorts' responses:
"I would personally not be likely to even want to be treated by a physician that was so paranoid about what might be said about them by a patient so as to request that such a document be signed by them. For me, that would be a signal to get the hell out of their office asap and never go back." - JaneQPatientYou can read the Medical Justice
"Provided it was allowed to be implemented (don't know the legalities of it), I can tell you it would work after the first few patients got caught. From experience, its not hard to recognize your patients on the internet. People tend to write the way they talk, and most patients (well, people in general) can't help but divulge personal information about themselves when they write. It would not be difficult to identify a patient that way in many cases." - CanDoc
"So does that mean all doctors will have that?? I don't think my doc even uses a computer!! I know he doesn't have any in his office." - Ms77Doodlebug
*NB: Canadian Medicine/NRM does not endorse the service advertised. Image republished only to illustrate the news story.
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