A missed opportunity for the malpractice system to improve health care: The New York Times

“The American medical malpractice system is doing almost nothing to improve the quality of health care, research suggests,” Aaron E. Carroll writes over at The New York Times. “What may be more concerning is that there is very little discussion, much less action, about changing this. Despite worries among doctors that they are at financial risk from large payouts to plaintiffs, it turns out that a small percentage are responsible for a huge number of claims. A new study, confirming earlier research, found that about 2 percent of doctors accounted for about 39 percent of all claims in the United States. The study contained other valuable information about a system that not only compensates patients who have been harmed, but is also supposed to identify physicians who may be performing poorly and need correction. First, the good news: These doctors quit at higher rates than other physicians. And they also tend not to pick up and move somewhere else to start fresh (which many thought they’d do given that licenses and malpractice are regulated at the state level).   But the overwhelming majority of doctors who had five or more paid claims kept on going. And they also moved to solo practice and small groups more often, where there’s even less oversight, so those problematic doctors may produce even worse outcomes.” Aaron E. Carroll, “A Missed Opportunity for the Malpractice System to Improve Health Care,” The New York Times.