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.
Joe Hadfield | EurekAlert!
Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy