Navigation Links
Tort reform reduces lawsuit risk; establishes framework for quality improvements

It is well known that rising medical malpractice premiums have reached a crisis point in many areas of the United States, and the economic and emotional costs of these claims are driving physicians and surgeons away from high-risk specialties. However, according to the authors of a study published in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, implementation of comprehensive tort reform has been associated with a nearly 80 percent decrease in the prevalence of surgical malpractice lawsuits at one academic medical center. This decrease in lawsuits also resulted in a significant decrease in malpractice-associated costs.

As a part of comprehensive tort reform in 2003, Texas Proposition 12 placed a $750,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, and limited an individual physician's liability to $250,000. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio conducted the study, which was based on data extracted from two hospital databases. They reviewed malpractice suit prevalence and associated costs, spanning an 18-year period from 1992-2010.

During this timeframe, surgeons performed 98,513 surgical procedures. Out of this cohort, surgical patients filed 28 lawsuits. The great majority of the suits (25) were filed between 1992-2003 (the pre-reform period). About half of these cases (13) were decided in favor of the plaintiff, and the remainder (12) in favor of the surgeon. The liability cost of the lawsuits was $5.56 million, and the legal fees were $1.6 million for a total litigation cost of $7.16 million. The annualized cost was almost $600,000 per year. Since 2004 (the post-reform period), three surgical-related lawsuits have been filed. The total legal cost for these cases was $3,345, or an annualized cost of about $500 per year.

The prevalence of surgical malpractice lawsuits significantly decreased following tort reform. During the pre-reform period, malpractice suit prevalence was 40/100,000 operations. After tort reform, it dropped to 8/100,000 for a relative reduction of almost 80 percent (risk reduction 0.21).

Tort reform legislation also significantly reduced legal costs and malpractice insurance premiums for individual surgeons. In 2002, malpractice insurance premiums were $10,000 per surgeon. By 2010, the premium had dropped to $2,700, and it is projected to be $2,000 per surgeon next year.

"Implementation of comprehensive tort reform in Texas was associated with almost a five-fold decrease in the risk of a malpractice lawsuits being filed," said the study's lead author, Ronald M. Stewart, MD, FACS, professor and chair of the surgery department at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Medical malpractice tort reform is beneficial for the surgeon and other health care practitioners because of the significant decrease in lawsuits; however, I believe it is also beneficial to patients because of its influence on improved access and quality of care, and decreased costs leading to overall reduced health care costs."


Contact: Sally Garneski
Weber Shandwick Worldwide

Related medicine news :

1. New report on health reform implementation: How to ensure access to coverage is maintained
2. Elsevier Health System Reform in Asia Conference
3. Health reform law will insure nearly all uninsured women by 2014
4. 2 new studies describe likely beneficiaries of health care reform in California
5. New study: Health reform to make health insurance affordable for nearly all families
6. Reformed Medicaid program must put coordinated care at forefront of efforts
7. Medicares Drug Coverage Gap to Shrink Away Under Health Care Reform
8. Healthcare Reform in China and the US: Forum examines similarities, differences and challenges
9. As Health Care Reform Turns 1, Backers and Detractors Dig In
10. Report indicates that new welfare reforms hark back to Victorians
11. US health care reforms should use model developed by Queens University professor
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Inevitably when people think ... customers choose to buy during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday massage chair ... to search the Internet high and low to find the best massage chair deals, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Somu Sivaramakrishnan announced ... franchise owner, Somu now offers travelers, value and care based Travel Services, including ... sales, as well as, cabin upgrades and special amenities such as, shore excursions, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Jobs in hospital medical laboratories and ... offered by healthcare staffing agency Aureus Medical Group . These fields, ... 2015 among those searching for healthcare jobs through the company’s website, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... medical opinion process, participated in the 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee ... took place Sunday, November 8th through Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference was ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... health and wellness consultation, has collaborated with Women’s Web – an online ... queries on topics on mental and emotional well-being relationship, life balance, stress, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... PUNE, India , November ... --> ... / personal emergency response system ... grow steadily for 5 years ... growing region expected to see ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 --> ... blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced cancer. ... immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced cancer.   ... immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced cancer.   ... that immunotherapy can be efficiently combined with photodynamic therapy ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ) has ... Market Outlook to 2019 - Rise in Cardiac Disorders and ... report to their offering. Boston ... scientific and others. --> The ... Boston scientific and others. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: