Your recent coverage of emergency care in Illinois calls much-needed attention to how our state's notorious medical lawsuit problem continues to harm patient access to care. The American College of Emergency Physicians recently ranked the emergency care in 44 states as higher than in Illinois. ACEP cites the lack of protection against medical lawsuit abuse as a significant factor in our dismal standing.
While the overall number of lawsuits filed in Illinois has gone down, according to ACEP, our average medical lawsuit payouts are second-highest in the nation. The effects of these staggering payouts are higher costs and fewer resources for health care, barriers to recruiting doctors and, ultimately, reduced access to care for patients. Illinois' 45th ranking should serve as a rallying cry for change and as renewed inspiration to tackle our medical lawsuit excesses.
Eldon A. Trame, MD
Illinois State Medical Society