Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Many Parents Would Switch Doctors Over Vaccination Policy, Poll FindsPot Poisonings Among Kids, Teens Double After Medical Marijuana Law PassedNearly Half of U.S. Patients Keep Vital Secrets From Their DoctorsFDA Proposes Graphic Warning Labels on CigarettesMany Doctors Refusing Care of People Prescribed OpioidsAll U.S. Adults Should Be Screened for Illicit Drug Use, National Panel UrgesAmericans' Trust in Scientists Follows a Sharp Political DivideRaising Legal Smoking Age to 21 WorksPure CBD Won't Make You Fail a Drug Test, But…Health Tip: Donate Blood SafelyRoutine Screening for Pancreatic Cancer Not Warranted, Expert Panel SaysResearchers 'Spin' Clinical Trial Findings in Top Psych Journals: StudyMore 'Buyer Beware' Warnings for Unregulated Stem Cell ClinicsSome of Most Common, Deadly Cancers Get the Least Research MoneyTraveling Abroad? Make Sure Your Measles Shot Is Up to DateHey! That's the Wrong Knee, DoctorBlood Donations Needed: Red CrossKeep Unused Meds Out of the Hands of AddictsFew U.S. Universities Are Smoke-FreeNeed Emergency Air Lift to Hospital? It Could Cost You $40,000California Took on Anti-Vaxxers, and WonAnti-Vaccine Movement a 'Man-Made' Health Crisis, Scientists WarnAHA News: Even the Threat of Homelessness May Bring Higher Stroke RiskFDA Warns Two Kratom Marketers About False ClaimsExperts Want Doctors to Add Vaping to Youth Prevention PitchMany Health Care Workers With Flu, Colds Still Go to Work: StudyGlobal Efforts to Cut Smoking Show Mixed ResultsOne Simple Food Substitution Might Help Save the PlanetAHA News: 3 Simple Steps Could Save 94 Million Lives WorldwideRace Affects Life Expectancy in Major U.S. CitiesDrugstores Often Don't Have Opioid Antidote in Stock, Philly Study ShowsAntibiotics Pollute Rivers Worldwide: StudyAHA News: For LGBTQ Patients, Discrimination Can Become Barrier to Medical CareImmigrants Make Up 1 in 4 U.S. Health Care WorkersFDA Takes Hard Look at CBDPatients Who Read Doctors' Notes More Likely to Take Their MedsU.S. Measles Cases for 2019 Already Exceed All Annual Totals Since 1992: CDCBreathe Easier, New York City: Clean-Air Taxi Rules Are WorkingDoctor Burnout Costly for Patients, Health Care SystemMany 'Dehumanize' People with ObesityBlood Banks Could Help Screen for Hereditary High CholesterolRed Cross Needs Type O Blood to Ease ShortageLess Pain, More Car Crashes: Legalized Marijuana a Mixed BagPolitical Controversies Could Fuel Bullying of LGBT Youth: StudyCBD -- It's Everywhere, But Does It Work?Brief EMS Training Saves Lives After Brain InjuryU.S. Improves Emergency Readiness, but Gaps PersistSlowing Climate Change Could Cut Health Costs, Save MoneyDispensing Opioid Antidote Without a Prescription Might Save LivesNot Just Opioids: Deaths Tied to Cocaine, Meth Are Soaring, Too
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Health Insurance
Healthcare

Do Doctors Hounded by Malpractice Claims Just Shift Their Practice Elsewhere?

HealthDay News
by By Dennis ThompsonHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Mar 27th 2019

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, March 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A bad doctor bedeviled by malpractice claims closes up shop in the dead of night and slips away to another state, hoping to leave his soiled reputation behind.

That's a common scenario many imagine. But the reality is almost as scary, a new study finds.

More than 9 out of 10 doctors who've racked up five or more successful malpractice claims against them continue to see patients as usual, and they're in no particular rush to set up shop far away, said lead researcher David Studdert, a professor of medicine and law at Stanford Law School.

"We find that, contrary to popular wisdom, they're no more likely than other physicians to pick up and relocate for a fresh start somewhere else," Studdert said.

The chances that malpractice-prone doctors will quit medicine altogether are higher than those of doctors with unblemished records, the study results showed. They are about 45 percent more likely to give up and try their hand at something else.

That would be "somewhat reassuring from a patient safety standpoint," Studdert said, except that "the fact is most of these 'frequent flyers' continue to practice, and I wouldn't want to be one of their patients."

Studdert and his colleagues examined malpractice trends by linking a federal database that tracks successful malpractice claims with a national Medicare database of physicians, which tracks where the doctors are practicing in any given year.

Between 2003 and 2015, 89 percent of physicians had no successful malpractice claims filed against them, researchers found. About 9 percent had one successful claim on their record, and the remaining 2 percent had two or more claims, the results revealed.

"We find that about 2 percent of practicing physicians account for about 40 percent of malpractice claims," Studdert said.

The findings were published March 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

That only 1 of 10 physicians had a successful claim against them is "perhaps the most striking fact" in the study, said Dr. Richard Anderson, chairman and chief executive officer of The Doctors Company, the nation's largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer.

"Although not measured by the study, it is certain that a significant percentage of these physicians were nonetheless targets in fruitless malpractice litigation that resulted in no indemnity payments," Anderson said.

The researchers focused on the trouble-prone 2 percent because paid malpractice claims provide a "pretty strong quality signal," given that only about a third of malpractice claims are successful, Studdert said.

The research team specifically wanted to find out how those physicians and the people in their communities react to such a troubled medical practice.

Not much really happens, as it turns out. Most malpractice-prone doctors keep practicing right where they are, and it doesn't appear that they suffer any substantial loss of business, results showed.

Doctors with multiple successful claims did not appear to suffer any heavy decline in the number of patients they saw. Docs with four claims treated about 5 percent fewer Medicare patients than those with no claims, and physicians with five claims treated 11 percent fewer.

"Even though you're accumulating claims and there's some flashing red lights about quality, you don't seem to treat fewer patients," Studdert said.

On the other hand, doctors with five or more claims are more than twice as likely to move into a solo practice, which Studdert finds worrying from a patient safety perspective.

"Physicians with multiple claims are more likely to switch into small practice groups or solo practice, and that professional isolation could increase the risk they pose to patients," Studdert said. "In a hospital setting or a larger practice, there's more oversight on what you're doing. There's also more opportunity to seek advice and get help from colleagues."

Doctors are likely able to maintain successful practices despite racking up a lot of malpractice claims because many states provide little to no access to information regarding claims against physicians, Studdert said.

"The available evidence suggests that referring physicians aren't paying much attention to that information, nor are patients," Studdert said.

More information

The RAND Corp. has more about medical malpractice.




Facebook

Amazon Smile

To quit smoking, call Connecticut QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  Please contact HBH Intake Department at 860-548-0101, option 2.

 


powered by centersite dot net