Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tort reform reduces lawsuit risk; establishes framework for quality improvements, study suggests

Date:
May 23, 2011
Source:
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
Summary:
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, according to new research. This decrease in lawsuits also resulted in a significant decrease in malpractice-associated costs, study suggests.

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.

Related Articles


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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Weber Shandwick Worldwide. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Weber Shandwick Worldwide. "Tort reform reduces lawsuit risk; establishes framework for quality improvements, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523124404.htm>.
Weber Shandwick Worldwide. (2011, May 23). Tort reform reduces lawsuit risk; establishes framework for quality improvements, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523124404.htm
Weber Shandwick Worldwide. "Tort reform reduces lawsuit risk; establishes framework for quality improvements, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523124404.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

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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