Thursday, October 16, 2014

States That Enacted Medical Malpractice Reform Did Not Reduce Rates Of Hospital Admissions Or Imaging Tests

From National Institute of Health, MedlinePlus, "Limiting Malpractice Claims May Not Curb Costly Medical Tests: ER charges haven't declined in 3 states with legislative reforms, study says:"
Emergency room physicians in three states that enacted malpractice reform continued to order imaging tests and admit patients for treatment at the same rate, even though the law had been changed to make it more difficult for patients to sue them, according to researchers at RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization.
"If you're looking at ways to decrease our national spending on health care or reduce waste, then you're going down a blind alley if you're spending your time thinking about malpractice reform," concluded lead author Dr. Daniel Waxman, an adjunct natural scientist at RAND and a visiting associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Researchers reviewed over 3.8 million Medicare patient records from 1,166 hospital emergency rooms between 1997 and 2011. They compared care in the three reform states to care in neighboring states that did not pass malpractice reform.
The findings are published in the Oct. 16 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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