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Health Serv Res. 2010 Feb;45(1):195-211. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2009.01062.x. Epub 2009 Nov 19.

The impact of malpractice liability claims on obstetrical practice patterns.

Author information

1
Mathematica Policy Research, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Suite 550, Washington, DC 20024, USA. ggimm@mathematica-mpr.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This paper examines whether malpractice claims have any impact on obstetrical practice patterns (C-section rates) and physician delivery volume.

DATA SOURCES:

Secondary data from the 1992-2000 Florida Hospital Inpatient Discharge File, the Florida Medical Professional Liability Insurance Claims File, and the American Medical Association's Master File on physician characteristics.

STUDY DESIGN:

The effects of malpractice claims on C-section rates and physician delivery volume were estimated using panel data and a fixed-effects multivariate model.

DATA COLLECTION:

Variables were constructed from each data source and merged into a single panel dataset using consistent physician identifiers. Principal Findings. I did not find evidence that physicians changed their practice patterns by increasing C-section rates in response to malpractice claims. However, physicians performed six fewer inpatient deliveries 3 years after the closing of a malpractice claim, after controlling for individual- and market-level characteristics. Physicians with high malpractice awards of U.S.$250,000 or more performed 14 fewer deliveries on average.

CONCLUSIONS:

Malpractice claims led to a small reduction in physician delivery volume, but they did not have a significant impact on C-section rates.

PMID:
19929964
PMCID:
PMC2813444
DOI:
10.1111/j.1475-6773.2009.01062.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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