Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Doctors cut back hours when risk of malpractice suit rises, study shows

Date:
January 30, 2010
Source:
Brigham Young University
Summary:
A new study shows doctors work 1.7 hours less per week when medical liability risk increases by 10 percent. Such a decline in hours is the equivalent of one of every 35 physicians retiring without a replacement. Doctors age 55 and older and those with their own practice are more influenced by liability risk.

A new study shows that the number of hours physicians spend on the job each week is influenced by the fear of malpractice lawsuits.

Related Articles


Economists Eric Helland and Mark Showalter found that doctors cut back their workload by almost two hours each week when the expected liability risk increases by 10 percent. The study, published in the new issue of the Journal of Law and Economics, notes that the decline in hours adds up to the equivalent of one of every 35 physicians retiring without a replacement.

"The effect of malpractice risk on hours worked might seem like a small item compared to physicians moving across state borders or avoiding high-risk specialties like obstetrics," said Showalter, an economics professor at Brigham Young University. "However, when you aggregate that across all physicians, the total effect is quite large."

The analysis combined data gathered by insurers about medical liability risks in each state and medical specialty with physicians' responses to surveys about their workload and income.

When something changed the risk of medical liability -- such as an adjustment in the maximum amount a jury could award in malpractice cases -- doctors adjusted their workload. When liability risk went up, doctors saw fewer patients each week to minimize their chance of a lawsuit. When liability risk went down, doctors saw more patients each week.

The study also found that doctors over 55 and those that have their own practices are far more sensitive to changes in liability risk.

Some state courts are currently considering legal challenges to existing malpractice caps. Missouri and Georgia, for example, limit or cap non-economic damages that compensate for pain and suffering to $350,000. Those caps are being contested by representatives of patients.

Despite the large effects, the research does not endorse a Republican proposal to place a nationwide cap on the size of jury awards in malpractice cases, the authors note.

"If the cost of providing medical care varies by state, why should we have a national, one-size-fits-all approach?" Showalter said. "The same cap would have very different effects in Kansas than in New York."

Lead author Eric Helland is an economist at Claremont McKenna College and RAND's Institute for Civil Justice. Both Helland and Showalter have previously served on the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham Young University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brigham Young University. "Doctors cut back hours when risk of malpractice suit rises, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100128165121.htm>.
Brigham Young University. (2010, January 30). Doctors cut back hours when risk of malpractice suit rises, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100128165121.htm
Brigham Young University. "Doctors cut back hours when risk of malpractice suit rises, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100128165121.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins