Policy & Law

Another Reason That Malpractice Reform is Overrated

1 Mins read

One of the few points of consensus in the “replace” part of “repeal and replace” is that malpractice reform should play a central role. Proponents claim that fear of lawsuits drives substantial over-utilization of services by clinicians practicing “defensive medicine.” In other words doctors are doing a lot more than medically necessary just to cover their own behinds.

One of the few points of consensus in the “replace” part of “repeal and replace” is that malpractice reform should play a central role. Proponents claim that fear of lawsuits drives substantial over-utilization of services by clinicians practicing “defensive medicine.” In other words doctors are doing a lot more than medically necessary just to cover their own behinds.

I don’t buy this argument. First, when the extent of defensive medicine has been studied it’s been shown to have a rather small impact. Second, “the number and total value of malpractice payments made on behalf of physicians” has dropped every year for the last eight. These arguments are relatively well known.

But there’s another reason malpractice reform is a bit of a yawner. People accept without question the assertion that doctors and hospitals do more for defensive reasons. Financial incentives are rarely mentioned, yet in today’s fee-for-service environment defensive medicine can actually increase providers’ incomes. As we move to bundled payments and Accountable Care Organizations, which don’t have such incentives, my sense is that providers will become less defensive and start to forego some of the defensive practices in place today.

 


Related posts
Health carePolicy & Law

What happens when an inmate goes to the hospital?

2 Mins read
Healthcare is an important aspect of prisoner welfare in the US and indeed those who are incarcerated have a right to receive…
Medical EducationPolicy & Law

Why Refinancing Medical School Lending Makes Sense

2 Mins read
Once you graduate from medical school you probably assume your financial situation will improve dramatically. While it is true that you will…
Policy & Law

Here’s What You Need to Know About Post-Accident Action Items

3 Mins read
Comedians and entertainers love to poke fun at lawyers, especially those who specialize in car accidents or other personal injury claims. But…