Quality improvement efforts reduce malpractice claims, researcher finds

Improving care quality inside a hospital may prevent malpractice lawsuits just as effectively as laws that limit patients' ability to win multimillion-dollar judgments for pain and suffering, according to a study published in the American Journal of Medical Quality.

The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of tort reform and quality improvement measures on medical liability claims in two groups of hospitals within the same multihospital organization.

One of the groups of hospitals was located in Texas, which implemented medical liability tort reform caps on noneconomic damages in 2003, and the other was in Louisiana, which did not undergo significant tort reform during the same time period.

The study revealed a significant reduction in medical liability claims per quarter in Texas after tort reform implementation, from roughly 7.27 claims per quarter to 1.4 per quarter. Meanwhile in Louisiana, a considerable correlation was found between the increase in mean CMS hospital performance scores and the decrease in the frequency of claims, despite the lack or tort reform.

Although tort reform caps on noneconomic damages in Texas caused the largest initial decrease, increasing quality improvement measures without increasing financial burden also decreased liability claims in Louisiana.

According to lead author Khaled J. Saleh, MD, the study is the first to demonstrate a quantifiable link between increasing patient quality and decreasing medical liability claims.



More articles on malpractice and tort reform:
Details of most medical malpractice settlements hidden from public view
The 'Michigan Model's' 7 steps for mitigating, reducing malpractice claims
If California raises tort caps, hospitals face immediate cost increases

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars