The American College of Physicians (ACP), one of the most respected collections of physicians and other health care professionals in the U.S., recently released an important policy paper that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, highlighting the need for medical liability reform.

Not only does medical liability stifle physician productivity can cause significant challenges with your medical billing service, it also costs an exorbitant amount of money that presents problems between patients and doctors due to the fear of getting sued.

"The medical liability system in the U.S. is broken. The current system just doesn't work; it's unfair to patients," ACP president Dr. Molly Cooke said in a press briefing at the college's annual internal medicine meeting, according to MedPage Today. Cooke went on to explain that in order for medical liability reform to work in the U.S., a multi-faceted approach needs to be taken.

Some of the ideas Cooke suggested included tort reform alternatives as well as a renewed focus on risk management that better protects patient safety. Reforms could also be more open-minded to innovation, pilot testing and research, based on the paper's outline.

Ways we can reform medical liability

The implementation of a sliding scale for attorney fees: This includes 40 percent on the first $50,000 recovered, 33.3 percent on the next $50,000 recovered, 25 percent on the next $500,000 recovered, and then 15 percent for any recovered amount that's $600,000 or more.

Punitive damages will only be awarded with clear evidence: This will vary depending on the jurisdiction of the region. However, the ACP recommends that amount should be limited to the greater of $250,000 or twice the compensatory damages.

For items like medical billing and lost wages, defendants should be jointly liable: However, this pertains only for the portion they are responsible for when it comes to noneconomic and punitive damages.

There should be an alternative periodic payment schedule for damages that cost more than $50,000: This is a much more attainable approach than a lump sum payment. This does not count noneconomic and punitive damages or out-of-pocket expenses.

The length of time in the health court system is also unsustainable, according to Dr. Thomas G. Tape, co-author of the ACP paper. For example, according to MedPage Today, Sweden and Denmark end medical liability claims in a span of no longer than eight months. In New Zealand, these same cases can end in as little as 16 days. However, in the U.S., a claim can go on for years.