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Inquiry. 2003 Fall;40(3):283-94.

Impact of the National Practitioner Data Bank on resolution of malpractice claims.

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Center for Health Services Research, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163, USA.


Policymakers and commentators are concerned that the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) has influenced malpractice litigation dynamics. This study examines whether the introduction of the NPDB changed the outcomes, process, and equity of malpractice litigation. Using pre- and post-NPDB analyses, we examine rates of unpaid claims, trials, resolution time, physician defense costs, and payments on claims with a low/high probability of negligence. We find that physicians and their insurers have been less likely to settle claims since introduction of the NPDB, especially for payments less than dollars 50,000. Because this disruption appears to have decreased the proportion of questionable claims receiving compensation, the NPDB actually may have increased overall tort system specificity.

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