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A recent study in the Insurance Journal reflects that there is not really a correlation between Tort Reform–so called–and the way doctors actually practice medicine:

Physicians’ fears of being sued for malpractice are out of proportion to their actual risk of being sued, according to a recent study.

The study by a University of Iowa researcher and colleagues also suggests that tort reform legislation aimed at controlling malpractice costs has not lessened physician concerns about malpractice lawsuits, and may not be effective in altering defensive medicine practices — like ordering unnecessary lab tests — that can drive up the cost of health care.

“We found that both generalist and specialist physicians fear being sued for malpractice even in states where their risk of being sued is relatively low,” said senior study author David Katz, M.D., associate professor of medicine with University of Iowa Health Care. “One likely explanation is that physicians’ concerns about malpractice are driven more by their perception that the malpractice tort process is unfair and arbitrary and less by their actual risk of getting sued.”

One of the biggest reasons given by the insurance industry and the medical community for tort reform is that such reform would allow doctors to practice without the need for additional but needless tests.  Doesn’t look like a very good reason after all.

 

 

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